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Considering orbital equipment for a welding project?

29 February 2016


Contractors face ever demanding market conditions. There is a constant need to improve productivity, to remain competitive, to get the job done on time and within budget. Making the right choice of welding equipment can be tricky. Considering renting Firefly orbital welding equipment might just make your choice a bit clearer.

Setting up the equipment Firefly system, integrated data logger, inverter, robotic wire feeder, STT module, water cooler, transit cube Typical configuration of equipment on hire

Firefly is an orbital welding machine. The main purpose of Firefly equipment is to improve the productivity of the welder. This is achieved by continually producing a consistent weld result. Firefly is a fully integrated digital orbital welding system and can be rented with, or without, an operator. Full installation, training and support is available.

Benefits of renting equipment for a welding project

When a contractor is sourcing orbital welding equipment for a project, with a time scale measured in months, then buying the required equipment is not always the best choice. Renting equipment for the duration of the project might be more feasible.

Firefly Cutting

Video footage of Firefly being used with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch.

Firefly Bevelling

Video footage of Firefly machine being used in prepping / bevelling a work piece.

Firefly Welding

Firefly welding machine being used during the Brave Tern vessel upgrades.

Firefly Finished Welds

Finished welds on the Brave Tern vessel upgrades at Rotterdam docks.

Rented firefly equipment in use in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Get the latest equipment.

Why make do with whatever equipment you happen to have lying around? A policy of 'make do and mend' is fine up to a point; all contractors do it. But, have the full on-costs of operating older equipment been considered? Machine down time, increased maintenance, labour down time, lower productivity, missed deadlines, project overruns, penalty clauses and so on? Why not select the equipment that best meets the needs of the current welding project?

Renting doesn't increase your fixed costs.

The purchase of equipment can represent a significant increase to a contractor's fixed costs. By renting equipment instead, the fixed costs of ownership are transformed into a variable cost. Variable costs are dependent on how much the asset is used. If your welding project has a definite time frame, the known costs of rental stop once the project is completed - a rental 'off switch' can be pressed. If the equipment is purchased the fixed costs of ownership continue on - they can't be easily turned off. In addition to the cost of the initial purchase, there are a number of other ongoing costs of ownership - such as insurance, maintenance, in-service inspection, repair and storage. The total costs of ownership tend to increase over the life of the equipment and are only marginally related to actual use. The rent or buy choice can have a direct impact on bottom line profitability and the underlying financial strength of the contractor's business.

Renting can reduce your financial risk.

For many contractors, finance is not a limitless resource - it needs to be managed. Purchasing equipment will use up the financial resource available, including valuable working capital if a down payment is required. With no upfront cash outlay to find, renting equipment can help to keep valuable working capital intact. Financial resource can instead be channelled into core business activity, rather than into machinery.

Cope with peak workloads.

It is not always desirable for contractors to keep a large equipment fleet - equipment might just possibly be needed to cope with a sudden upswing in trade, but somehow it spends most of the time sitting in the yard. Minimising your owned equipment fleet and supplementing your needs with rented equipment - brought in when activity levels dictate - seems to make more economic sense. Use the kit you need, where and when you need it. Just press the rental 'on switch'.

Keep to budget.

Rental costs are known from the outset and for the duration of the rental period. For contractors quoting for or running a particular project, the rental cost can easily be assessed and built into the project quotation or operational cost. Because the costs are known in advance, keeping within budget is relatively straightforward. Giant cranes, for instance may not be needed.

Taking opportunities. Although market conditions get ever more challenging every day, smart contractors still survive and flourish. They are prepared to take opportunities and to even create their own opportunities. With in-built on and off switches, renting offers contractors a lower risk way of obtaining quality equipment when prevailing market conditions are uncertain, or the available financial resource is limited. Rental enables a contractor to enter new markets or sectors without an onerous, upfront investment in expensive machinery. Rental allows a contractor to try out new, more productive equipment first, before buying. Renting can therefore help keep contractors current, able to adapt to the latest kit and to make and take opportunities, as and when they present themselves.

Focus. Renting equipment leaves contractors free to focus on running their core business. No need to worry about residual values, depreciation rates, asset economic life, business taxation etc. Although tax rules vary from country to country, it is usual for equipment rental charges to be an allowable deduction for tax purposes. On the other hand, the full capital cost for purchased equipment is not normally allowable in year one. However, some governments may have tax incentives to encourage investment in equipment.

Conclusion. If the duration of your welding project is a few months, then renting equipment may be a good option to consider. If you have longer term projects, or several projects lined up, then perhaps buying the equipment may be a better option.

Get smart – check out Firefly... the clever way to weld!

Firefly is available to purchase or systems can be rented with, or without, an operator. Help is also available with weld procedures and welder qualifications. Full installation, training and support is available.

If you would like to learn more about how Firefly can keep you ahead of the competition, please contact us.

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