Don’t let obsolescence get you down…

A look at obsolete industrial parts management – article supplied by EU Automation.

Stafford, UK—Remember floppy disks? They are a classic example of a product being rendered obsolete due to more modern alternatives. The same issue occurs in processing plant legacy equipment. However, it’s often not as simple as upgrading to a shiny new USB. Here, Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at obsolete industrial parts supplier, EU Automation, explains everything you need to know about obsolescence management.

Obsolescence management has never been so important. In the ongoing fight to keep up with competition from Asia, manufacturers across the U.S. are looking for ways to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness, without breaking the bank. This has led to a reliance on legacy and obsolete systems.

It is impossible to stop parts from becoming obsolete, but it is possible to mitigate the risks to production when obsolescence does inevitably occur. At the time when legacy parts need replacing, important decisions need to be made—should a replacement for the part be sourced, or should the entire system be written-off?

This decision will have a huge impact on the business’s bottom line, therefore the decision should be planned in advance. Consider this as an example. A Human Machine Interface (HMI) panel in your facility has broken down. Unfortunately, it is a discontinued model, so you cannot source an exact replacement from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). However, you are now struggling to find a new model that will integrate with your other hardware.

Some manufacturers might deem it necessary to write-off the entire system when a part breaks down, simply because they don’t believe they can find the same model or equivalent. Rather than embarking on a costly overhaul, you should have a replacement plan in place.

The replacement
Although choosing to upgrade to a newer, but an undoubtedly more expensive piece of equipment might seem like the easy option, the benefits of sourcing obsolete spares might surprise you. What’s more, you will quickly find that, fortunately, obsolete does not mean a part is unattainable.

In fact, there are a number of options available to get your hands on an obsolete part, including using existing stock; Last Time Buy (LTB) options; sourcing from an aftermarket supply; finding an alternate replacement from the same or a different manufacturer or, finding the nearest equivalent substitute part.

Depending on the process, plant managers will have different system priorities. While those using batch manufacturing have the luxury of regularly stopping production to do maintenance work, those with continuous processes do not. This means chemical or food manufacturers using continuous production methods need to choose the most reliable system—as it will have to run until the next annual shutdown.

For some, this could mean a legacy system that their maintenance engineers know inside and out is the best option. For others, it could mean that the latest generation of intelligent automation equipment is ideal. This really comes down to each individual facility and company policy. Regardless of the process type, the ability to identify secondary sources and spare parts in advance is vital.

Another variation of prioritizes can depend on the size of the company involved. Large businesses may choose to hire an obsolescence manager, employ the services of a third-party specialist, purchasing a computerized asset management system, or on a much smaller scale, simply use spreadsheets to keep records of product lifecycles.

Whatever the method, obsolescence management comes down to assessing current systems and supply resources, conducting risk analysis on all parts and securing access to obsolete spares. An integral part of this process is to forge relationships with reliable automation spares suppliers. After all, knowing who to call when a part breaks down could be the difference between a day of downtime or a week.

It is also crucial to know the lead times for the supply of such replacements. For example, if it takes one month to receive and install the replacement part, plant managers need to be thinking one month ahead.

There are a time and place for obsolete spares in processing. While the truth remains that in-depth planning and system understanding is essential for any plant manager undertaking obsolescence management, it is also true that help is at hand when sourcing replacements rapidly.

By working with an obsolete industrial parts supplier that knows the industry in depth and can source all the necessary parts, manufacturers can take a load off their mind while keeping stride with the competition. While floppy disks may be a thing of the past, legacy equipment doesn’t need to be.

For more information on EU Automation, visit

Loma launches high-performance X5 Pipeline X-Ray inspection system

Dek: ‘Designed to Survive’, the new X5 Pipeline system from Loma offers reliable and accurate inspection of pumped food products for on-going consumer safety and brand protection.

In response to growing demand for high-performance contaminant inspection equipment from increasingly diverse global food industry applications, Loma Systems has added a Pipeline model to its expanding range of X5 X-Ray equipment. The advanced new unit has been developed to ensure on-going consumer safety and brand protection, as well as further strengthen operating efficiencies and quality control processes.

With the risk of contaminants from incoming raw ingredients at its highest, Loma’s X5 Pipeline system is ideal for the inspection of pumped products, such as processed meat, poultry, sauces, jams and slurries, at any stage prior to final processing and packaging.

By removing foreign bodies early in the process, Loma’s X5 Pipeline further reduces product waste and helps eliminate downtime as a result of contaminants damaging expensive production equipment further down the line.

Like all Loma X5 X-Ray inspection systems, the new X5 Pipeline adheres to the company’s ‘Designed to Survive’ ethos whilst delivering maximum uptime at a low lifetime cost of ownership.

Loma’s X5 Pipeline offers reliable and accurate detection of a wide range of foreign body contaminants, including ferrous and non-ferrous metals, stone, ceramic, glass, bone and dense plastics, regardless of their shape, size or location within the product.

The X5 Pipeline can be used with 2.5” or 3” pipes and ARU (2.5”) and ARL (2.5 or 3”) reject options. The removable pipe cassette provides a simple option when changing between different sizes.

Pumped products can be messy but the easy to clean, low maintenance X5 Pipeline is IP69K rated making it ideal for harsh, high-pressure wash-down environments.

Offering a compact footprint, the X5 Pipeline requires a 400mm pipe length, without reject of S-bends, and can be easily integrated with a wide range of vacuum filling machines.

The X5 Pipeline incorporates Loma’s Adaptive Array Technology (AAT) which tailors resolution, depth and scaling to give unrivalled inspection performance. It also eliminates the need to specify diode array pixel size as the system will adjust to give ultimate detection performance for each product.

Built for 24/7 operation, Loma’s X5 Pipeline offers automated set-up, remote diagnostics and features an easy to use intuitive full colour touchscreen with multiple language options. It has been migrated to Windows embedded standard operating system and includes a high-speed USB sensor and simple Ethernet connection for easy reporting.

As with all Loma’s products, customers benefit from a high level of before and after sales service and receive a tailor-made solution to their X-ray inspection requirements.

Company information available at

Eagle Packaging Machinery rebrands as EndFlex

Still part of the Paxiom Group, the company’s new name better reflects its end-of-line solutions.


Eagle Packaging Machinery LLC, part of The Paxiom Group, has changed its name to EndFlex LLC.

The Florida-headquartered Endflex manufactures secondary and end-of-line automated packaging equipment such as robotic pick and place, case erecting and packing, as well as tray forming.

Company information can be found at its new website:


Topics: Packaging

Sector: End-of-Line, Equipment, Robotics, Cartoning

Key Words: Eagle Packaging Machinery LLC, EndFlex LLC, The Paxiom Group, Packaging Equipment

New Intelligent Drum Motor from Van der Graaf

New design uses VFD integrated into motor junction box and electric motor.


New from Van der Graff comes its Intelligent Drum Motor (IntelliDrive) featuring a frequency inverter (VFD) integrated into the motor junction box and electric motor.

According to Van der Graff, the rotor is magnetically self-induced via permanent magnets on the rotor body, which provides up to 72 per cent savings on electricity usage over conventional motor or gearbox conveyor drives.

The IntelliDrive operates via a vector-less sensor, which it uses with the integrated VFD. It is both Ethernet/IP and MODBUS compatible making communication with other equipment on the plant floor possible.

IntelliDrive allows operator selection of belt speed without torque-loss or belt-pull, which helps increase both efficiency and operating life of the electric motor, which also means less downtime, which means labour cost savings.

The IntelliDrive comes with the electric motor, bearings and gear reducer hermetically sealed within the drum which protects it from the facility’s environment while further extending its operating life.

For more information on Van de Graaf, visit


Topic: Equipment Overhaul

Sectors: Lubricants, Motors & Controls

Keywords: IntelliDrive, Van der Graaf, Intelligent Drum Motor