Rexroth recently reported that 65% of electronic drive repairs in the UK are done by “gray repair” shops. That is, rather than providing factory repair with original parts, they just fix ’em up in their shop. Rexroth doesn’t sell parts to these shops.
Just the words “gray repair shop” conjure unsettling images. It sounds like something you would see in a science fiction flick. Thoughts of strange and enigmatic beings cloaked in gray robes, conducting shady dealings. Shops with a lingering air of hopelessness and depression.
Gray repair may not be that dramatic, but it’s not exactly a desirable option when it comes to repairing your drives.
Is gray repair shady?
It’s not that grey repair is inherently shady. You may very find a very capable shop that will make honest repairs. The trouble is that the very definition of grey repair is that it is unofficial. You’re not getting the same parts from the same factory as the original, you’re getting bits and pieces that are “close enough.”
No matter how competent someone is with repairing drives, if they aren’t using original parts there’s a good chance of machine downtime in your future. Gray repair might seem like the cheaper option, and if you’re talking in terms of immediate costs that’s often true.
However, if you’re planning on being in business for a long time, then the immediate shouldn’t be your main focus. If you compare the amount you would save by choosing gray repair over factory repair to the potential machine downtime further down the road it would be like comparing apples and lots and lots of apples.
Essentially, choosing gray repair shops is a gamble. In going with the cheaper unofficial option, you are in effect saying, “I’d like to save a few bucks so I hope that this actually works out”. If the gamble pays off, that’s great, but you probably don’t want to gamble with your business.
When it comes to repairing Indramat drives or machinery, the only safe bet is a factory repair. You’re getting the original parts from the original company all put together by a specialist who knows exactly what they are doing.