In an earlier blog on How to Select a Custom Manufacturing Equipment Supplier, we introduced a humorous flowchart that guides you to an optimal solution for your equipment needs. This blog leads you through the first step in this process—how to find an “off-the-shelf solution.”
Always start by checking for an off-the-shelf (OTS) solution; you might be surprised at what can be found. Today’s industrial ecosystem is incredibly diverse and specialized. That diversity often means that a solution to your problem may just be a click away. But finding that ready-made solution can be a frustrating process… presumably the whole reason you’re looking for a custom solution is because your cursory web search didn’t reveal anything useful. If you’re at this point, spending yet more time with a search engine can seem like an exercise in futility.
We are regularly approached by people to design custom equipment for them that we know (or strongly suspect) they can just buy. In those cases, we’re more than happy to refer them to the appropriate vendor(s). But it’s worth some extra time & effort up front to potentially short-circuit that whole process.
What to Search For
Search terms are the key of course… and specialized or technical keywords work best. At Owens Design we get regular web site hits from customers looking for equipment to handle lyophilized beads because we’ve worked with these unique materials and, frankly, it’s hard to imagine a more specific and specialized search term than “lyophilized bead equipment.” If you are looking for this; you’ll find us!
Sometimes, however, the challenge is that the equipment you need exists in a different industry and/or application, and the appropriate terminology may be a complete mystery to you. So start by casting a wide net of related terms. Spend time exploring what may appear to be unrelated links to try to “sniff out” something close to what you need; it might lead you to the right industry or jargon. Sometimes an image search may actually be more useful; you know what the machine should look like, and a suitable image may end up being the gateway to the proper terminology to complete your search.
In the end, maybe there is no existing solution. But it’s well worth some up front due diligence, because if there is an OTS solution, it will most likely be the least expensive solution, and the quickest to get.
If OTS is not an available solution, it’s time to figure out how to get the custom machine that fit your needs. In the next blog, we will explore a vital first step to this process: determining your purpose for the custom manufacturing equipment.
Follow us on LinkedIn for our next blog update. If you have an immediate need for custom manufacturing equipment, feel free to contact us and one of our team members would be happy to help you through this process.