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Orbital Welding Equipment: RENT versus BUY

In many cases, the decision to purchase or rent orbital welding equipment is sometimes difficult to determine. However, by carefully considering a few key factors, you can successfully make a cost-effective decision that supports your company’s goals and objectives.

When the time comes to plan your projects or fabrication work, or to review cyclical functions (such as maintenance), there are a few key issues to consider in the equipment rent-or-buy decision, as discussed below.

Equipment Use

How frequently will you be using the orbital equipment capability? Over what period of time will you need it? Will orbital welding be an ongoing requirement or specific to a limited number of projects? High-frequency use, of course, is related to payback. If you need the equipment regularly enough over its estimated useful life to pay back the cost of not owning it, the case to purchase is probably strong. If renting the piece of equipment will cost as much or more than owning it, then it makes sense to buy, since you’ll reap the benefit and save the incremental cost. Since this equation involves predictions of future events, it is important to plan carefully and thoroughly. Don’t forget to consider historical use. Having a clear understanding of past use patterns can be an important factor in determining future needs.

Versatility Requirements

Orbital Welding utilizes tracking systems for pipe welding and various collets or clamping devices for differing tube sizes. These requirements coupled with a large variety of weld heads and process capabilities of those weld heads can be a significant cost consideration. If you purchase a size for one project, it may not be applicable to the next project as dimensional sizes change from project to project. Power Supplies also have differing capabilities especially when looking to weld Tube versus Pipe.

Rule of Thumb for Project Work

A good general Rule of Thumb is to look at the overall timeframe of any project. If the project is longer than 9-10 months, AND there is a consistent need for a specific size weld head & fixturing (to support a specific tube or pipe size), then purchasing generally makes good sense. If it’s shorter than 9-10 months, then it generally makes better sense to rent. Most rental pricing is based on the cost of new equipment at a .10 multiplier. That means at 10 months, the system will be paid back, less maintenance and service cost that typically runs an additional 25%.

In House Welding Personnel

Another factor is the personnel who would be running the equipment. If you have a good technical team that understands the process of Orbital Welding, and if you have a a 9-10 month project coming up, this may bolster your buy decision. However, if your technical team is lacking or transitional, then a good orbital service company with high quality equipment and a thorough training program to support your team would likely be your best decision.

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