By P.K. Guha, [email protected]
While the hydraulics and the electric industries have become more complementary to each other, they have an entirely different kind of replacement market potential, due to:
• Duty cycle
• Patterns of use
• Frequency of use
• Maintenance needs
Electrical products, particularly motors, are well understood and repaired by practically every repair house across the globe. This is not so with hydraulic pumps, motors and other elements. Expertise and agile attention is always required to run and maintain a hydraulic application.
With digitally controlled sensors and computer chips, hydraulic pumps and motor controls are only going to be more sophisticated, reliable and less failure-prone. However, when one fails, it will need a quick replacement to maintain the chain of productivity. And the field population of most dynamic hydraulic products will skyrocket in the days and years ahead, as the industrial population grows.
Therefore, it is time for all hydraulic product manufacturers, such as Eaton-Vickers, Bosch Rexroth, Parker-Denison, Oilgear, Sundstrand, Yuken, Nachi, Tokimek and Moog to take stock of these potential opportunities and serve the end user.
Currently, most hydraulic product manufacturers are happy to service the OEMs. They primarily leave the end-user service support to either their distributors or the equipment/machine manufacturers. This is a good strategy, as long as the supply flow and availability of the replacement products are available instantaneously.
In reality, given the huge size of the replacement market potential, the availability of genuine replacement products are far below end user’s needs. This has created an insurmountable void, which resulted in a score of equivalent “will-fit” hydraulic product manufacturers around the world, as well as having mushroomed numerous organized and unorganized repair houses, all across the globe. Some of these will-fit manufacturers, as well as non-manufacturer repair houses, know what they are doing. Therefore, one simply cannot discard them as substandard.
The equivalent products may or may not always work like the original product, but they are doing a great service to the industry, in the way that they are keeping the productivity of the industry going, even if it is at a lower efficiency and often at higher energy consumption.
These services and activities in the hydraulic world are here to stay. How strategically original product manufacturers and OEMs work around these bottlenecks to gain their own created market share depends upon how service-oriented and hungry they are and how well they protect their patents and their willingness to serve end users.
The idea and planning of service revenue should start at the product design stage. The life and mortality of the product should be taken into account at the production and inventory planning point. There are a lot of different ways this could be achieved. The following are a few:
• Constant replacement aftermarket analysis
• Better production planning of a given type of product
• Coherence between product and equipment manufacturers
• Establish one main central service center
• Continuous training of technicians at distributor repair houses
• Maintain a relationship with independent retail repair housesacross the globe, through the authorized distributor repair houses
All of the above will bring about rapid results, as well as meet the demands of the growing end users and replacement aftermarket.
Filed Under: Electronics • electrical, Fluid power, Green engineering, Hydraulic equipment + components