Just like any piece of machinery, an electric material handling stacker requires regular tune-ups, repairs and maintenance. But knowing exactly when it’s time to retire a stacker can be a tough call. Obviously, you don’t want to get rid of a piece of equipment that still has plenty of juice left in it. On the other hand, unreliable stackers are naturally less productive. They can also infuriate or even injure employees.
1. Are the Safety Features Out of Date?
Older powered stackers and straddle stackers can pose a safety risk to those using the machinery and the people around them. Even though your stacker may still be in working order, if the safety features are old, out of date and simply don’t “stack” up to today’s standards, it may be time for an upgrade.
2. How Old Is Your Material Handling Stacker?
The lifespan of a material handling stacker is measured in hours of use. Your pallet or straddle stacker should come with a manual that tells you the lifespan in both hours and years. This being said, your stacker’s lifespan will depend on operating conditions and how often it was pushed to its load limits throughout the years. If your material handling stacker is at the end of its lifespan or it’s been used for demanding jobs time and time again, it’s probably time to consider purchasing a new stacker.
3. Are You Experiencing Dangerous Equipment Failures?
If your material handling stacker is exhibiting any of the following equipment failures, you need to take immediate steps to either repair it or better yet, replace it:
- Jerking motions and sudden stops
- Fluid leaks
- Dropped loads
- Equipment freezing up
- Abrupt loss of power
These can be potentially dangerous problems that may lead to serious accidents or even fatalities in your factory, warehouse or production facility. Equipment failures are nothing to mess around with and need to be addressed immediately.
4. Do Maintenance Costs Outweigh Usefulness?
Over time, the cost of maintenance for a material handling stacker will reach a cost per hour that actually outweighs its overall usefulness.
For example, if your stacker is used an average of 1,800 hours a year and last year required a $1,800 repair, the maintenance cost per hour is $1. If down the line, the total amount spent on maintenance in a single year is topping out at $18,000, you now have a $10/hour maintenance cost of ownership. So, now you’re at the point where you need to ask yourself if the cost to keep the material handling stacker is more than the value it provides. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to replace it.
If you’re unable to calculate or estimate your stacker’s maintenance cost per hour, you can ask yourself the next two questions to help determine if your material handling stacker is more of a hindrance than a help.
Does Your Stacker Have More Downtime Than Uptime?
While it may seem like a repair bill here and there is the only cost of continually using an old straddle stacker, consider this: Every hour that your material handling stacker is down means a substantial amount of lost productivity for your business. Is your pallet stacker having more downtime than uptime recently? Have you put in more than four work orders in a 12-month period? It’s time to look into replacing your stacker.
Has Maintenance Cost Doubled in the Last Year?
Continuing on the last point, look at your maintenance records. Don’t include preventative maintenance costs. What do your bills look like? Have they doubled within the last year? A drastic increase in maintenance costs is a clear indicator that your handling material stacker needs to be replaced.
Let Handling Concepts Help Replace Your Material Handling Stacker
At Handling Concepts, we have a wide variety of powered stackers to choose from. Browse our selection of manual pallet stackers, including straddle stackers, forklift stackers (a.k.a. fork over manual stackers) and more. Have a question or need more information? Reach out to our material handling experts today.