If you use machine tools, you are perfectly aware of the fact that sudden machine downtimes spread panic at the company.

I am sure that you have already experienced this situation, and that it certainly was not a pleasant one.

Why am I so certain that you have already found yourself in this situation?


All machines or mechanisms require regular maintenance to ensure their optimal operation. No mechanism in the world can continue to work without a good “servicing”.

Whenever a machine stops due to some malfunction, you can immediately feel the fear spreading through the company.

This fear comes from the fact that we know exactly when the machine stopped, but have no idea when it will start producing again.

This feeling of not knowing results in a deluge of phone calls within the company to the maintenance department and even outside the company, calling the machine manufacturer directly and begging for help in order to solve the problem.

Obviously, all this haste is caused by the fact that you have promised delivery dates to your final customers that you will not be able to meet if the machinery is not working.

Needless to say, in today’s with such a competitive market, where companies are constantly trying to steal customers from the one another, this situation makes it easier for competitors to seize the opportunity.


The issue of the reliability of the machine starts way back; it is not just a question of carrying out preventive maintenance on the machine, which is indeed important, but it is only the last point of a very clear strategy developed by the machine manufacturer.

Recently, I had a chance to work with the UNIVERSITY OF BRESCIA.

Together, we have analysed a very effective method that fully embraces the topic of reliability and, even more importantly, by going backwards on this issue, it is possible to arrive at the cost of the machinery.

Do you really know how much the machine tool installed in the production department is costing you? If you answer by telling me the purchase cost of the machine, as they say on The Apprentice:


The Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO, is an approach developed in 1987, and it is used to calculate the total cost of the life cycle of a piece of equipment or plant, by analysing the following items:

  1. THE PURCHASE (cost of the machinery)
  2. THE INSTALLATION (cost of foundations, electrical systems, etc.)
  3. THE MANAGEMENT (personnel training, surface area taken up, energy consumption, etc.)
  4. THE MAINTENANCE (the “service slip”, oil, filters, adjustments, etc.)

The TCP is an excellent method for calculating total costs, by identifying all expenses in clear and easy-to-measure terms.

Today there are still many users who let themselves be guided only by item 1: THE PURCHASE (cost of the machinery), neglecting the other 3 and not considering the truly important figure: the TCO.


Having understood the importance of the TCO, and bearing in mind the 4 items listed above, PORTA SOLUTIONS organised itself in the following way in order for the TCO to be as cost-effective as possible for its customers. For each one of the 4 items, I will illustrate in detail how we have set up our strategy:

  1. THE PURCHASE (cost of the machinery)

This is down to you the customer; there is nothing that can be taught as to how to obtain the best price. Obviously, you always try to purchase the machinery at the lowest possible cost, and this is a good strategy.

From my point of view, as manufacturer, in order to be able to offer you the machine at the lowest possible cost, I developed a machine, called MULTICENTER, so flexible that it is practically mass-produced, consequently with all the benefits provided by mass-production, so as to meet your need for a low purchase price.

  1. THE INSTALLATION (cost of foundations, electrical systems, etc.)

In this case too, taking into account the TCO factor, the machine was designed in collaboration with the UNIVERSITY OF BRESCIA. A theoretical study of vibrations was carried out, followed by a testing phase.

A prototype was built and the real vibrations were then measured using vibrational accelerometers.

Moreover, the electrical cab and the hydraulic control unit were installed on board the machine in order to minimize the installation costs as much as possible, according to a PLUG&PLAY concept.

The power supply cable and the compressed air hose is all that is needed. These two benefits will also last over time, in case the machinery needs to be repositioned for company layout needs.

  1. THE MANAGEMENT (personnel training, surface area taken up, energy consumption, etc.)

In order for machine management to impact as best as possible on the TCO factor, it is split into various items: the personnel training for example, during the software development phase, the user interface was equipped with a touch-screen to make it easy to use, in addition to the possibility of having a built-in tablet for better portability.

Another issue is electricity consumption: with the latest-generation drives, the energy developed during the braking phase is regenerated and put back into the grid. In addition, the machine takes up little space, again to the benefit of the TCO factor.

  1. THE MAINTENANCE (the ”service slip”, oil, filters, adjustments, etc.)

We have now come to a sore issue, one that customers find it really difficult to understand, despite the fact that it is incredibly banal. Let’s start with the assumption that all users of machine tools have a car.

They all take their vehicle to the dealership or to a mechanic they trust in order to change the oil, the filters, etc.


At this point, I would actually be done with my explanation… however, let me sum it up in a more elegant way…


The preventive maintenance contract is not a warranty extension contract, but rather an additional contract for scheduled routine maintenance that lasts for one year.

No unscheduled repairs are carried out during scheduled maintenance calls.

Please also bear in mind that in terms of workplace safety and health, the employer (your company) is required to guarantee that everything provided to the workers to allow them to carry out their activities (the employees) complies with legislative provisions in force.


  • Increased productivity and zero unscheduled machine downtimes
  • Greater operator safety
  • Compliance with safety regulations
  • Retains value of the machinery over time
  • Monitoring of management costs
  • Fewer maintenance jobs
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Shorter waiting times for spare parts
  • Preferential treatment
  • Continuous telephone assistance
  • Prevention of catastrophic and unexpected breakdowns, with consequent stoppage of production activities
  • Constant monitoring of machinery efficiency


… Seriously, take a few minutes to think about how your productivity could improve without unexpected and DANGEROUS machine downtimes, which often require even more expensive jobs to be carried out on the machine, only because you failed to intervene sooner.

    Your Email


    Read our Privacy Policy

    I accept the privacy policy, consent to the processing of my personal data and the receipt of commercial information.

    Maurizio Porta
    Expert in Flexible Production