Trend Talks: Machine Repairs

Many companies in the gear manufacturing industry offer machine repairs as well as a range of services to keep older machines up and running. 


Repairs are one thing that gear manufacturers hope to avoid, especially when it comes to their large, expensive gearing machines. However, many of the industrial machines used in today’s gear market were manufactured in the 1970s and 80s, so gear manufacturers are faced with evaluating the costs of repairing existing machines on their shop floor versus the cost of buying new. 

That’s where a company like Bourn & Koch comes in. 

Founded in 1975, Bourn & Koch has full-service capabilities for both in-house repair and field service on a variety of machine tools. The company also provides the industry with a full service department that handles machine repairs of the brands it owns as well as other brand machines. 

“As an OEM for a long list of American-made machine tools, we are highly experienced at providing repair service to machines such as Barber-Colman gear hobbers, Blanchard grinders, Bullard VTLs, DeVlieg boring mills, Fellows gear shapers, and many others,” said Joe Goral, Sr., a technical support engineer at Bourn & Koch. “We not only provide general machine tool repair services, but we also provide highly specific repairs to these machines that many other companies are unable to perform to OEM standards. We have the blueprints and schematics for all of our machines along with detailed service records in many cases, giving us a distinct advantage when it comes to any repairs needed on the machines we serve as an OEM for.”

Bourn & Koch also offers field retrofit services for select machines such as the Bourn & Koch H-Series gear hobbers, DeVlieg boring mills, and Blanchard grinders.

Hand scraping a Blanchard grinder in for repair

“We are able to consult with our customers to ensure that the equipment they are using to move the machine is of a suitable capacity and that they are installing the machine properly,” Goral said. “We have installation drawings, floor plans, and foundation prints that show critical details for properly installing the machine. We can provide alignment and leveling services once the machine is installed, ensuring that the machine is producing the same quality of parts as it was before the move.”

As a builder of precision Bourn & Koch gear hobbers, Fellows gear shapers, and gear inspection machines, Bourn & Koch is well-positioned to step in when repairs are needed.

“Our high level of competency with gear machines translates to a high level of service for gear machinery, for both our machines and those of our competitors,” Goral said. “Having a staff of experienced in-house engineers helps, too. When it comes to in-house services like rebuild, retrofit, and remanufacture, our precision machine tool assemblers are able to apply their decades of experience to the project.”

For example, Bourn & Koch serves as the OEM for Blanchard and offers a wide variety of rebuild and repair services at its facility to keep its customers’ Blanchard surface grinders running smoothly. 

“We make a distinction between rebuild and repair,” Goral said. “When we rebuild your Blanchard magnetic chuck, we don’t just repair it; we rebuild the entire chuck. Our in-house repair services allow you to repair only what needs to be repaired, cutting down on costs and downtime. We also have 20 outside field service technicians throughout the United States with a wide array of expertise on not only our machines but many other machine tools as well. We offer preventative maintenance programs that are able to help reduce downtime and increase productivity.”

Bourn & Koch is just one example of a leading OEM that also provides machine repair services. Other companies such as L&H Industrial, for example, conduct large-scale manufacturing in-house, enabling it to control every aspect of the process from machining and welding to gear grinding and heat treating. Unlike heavy-equipment OEMs that rely on high-volume production, L&H specializes in custom manufacturing, which means that it often conducts heavy machine builds, rebuilds, and upgrades that require newly manufactured standard or improved components. This includes rebuilds and retrofits for their clients’ existing machines as well as for their legacy machines.

These are just a few examples of how the gear industry is responding to a market-driven need for machine repair services. How is your company taking advantage of repair services to improve existing gear machines versus buying a new machine? We would love to hear from you. Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter or send us an email.