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The High Cost of Cheap Crushing and Screening Parts

Posted by ELRUS Aggregate Systems on Wed,May 23,2018 @ 10:18 AM

screen media and conveyor weigh scaleMany operators focus on purchase price as the deciding factor on choosing whom to purchase replacement parts and consumables from. This is especially true in tough economic times when margins are thin. 

Often this results in the purchase of lower quality/grade parts. The challenge with purchasing lower quality parts is that the true cost may not be clear:

  • If you have no accurate records of repairs and the life of the part is not measured, there is no way to know the true cost of a part. Good measurement systems are a sign of good management

  • If repair and maintenance practices are suspect and too many things are going wrong at the same time, people see little point in buying a part with a 40% improved lifespan when downtime is 20% of operating time.

What’s wrong with buying cheap parts?

Cheaper parts are a gamble because they increase the frequency of down time, reduced production, missed deadlines, and more maintenance. These costs dwarf the money saved on parts.

Here are three examples of how lower quality parts can have a significant impact on operating costs and downtime.

1. Screen Media

Screen media quality can have a significant impact on production. There always seems to be a cheaper source available. The risks of cheap screen media are:


Cheaper screens need to be changed more frequently. The time required for changing screen media can be anywhere from a few hours to a full day. 

Production rates

The cheapest screen media isn’t likely self-cleaning media. The difference in production rates when there are higher moisture conditions, clay content and tough specifications significant.


Every time you have people exposed to risk, the probability of them being hurt increases. Every time you change media you expose your people to risk. Change media less often, reduce your risk exposure.  

Specification risk

Tight specifications require media that is consistently sized. If there is high variation in the wire spacing of your media, you are adding additional risk.

2.   Bearings

A bearing is not simply a bearing, just like the specification for road base is different than the specification for asphalt base. Both are gravel but there are differences in the makeup. Depending on the application, there is a difference in performance between brass cage bearings and steel cage bearings.

We tell the true story of a customer with a Jaw Plant in need of bearings, he didn’t want to spend the money on the correct bearings for the application and chose a cheaper bearing. This customer thought he had saved $60,000 but the new bearing failed, and the Jaw seized within a few days of bearing replacement. To make matters worse, the customer ended up having to scrap the Jaw and buy a new one for $500,000. In this case, the cost of cheaper bearings was extremely high.

3.    Magnets & Metal Detectors

Magnets are another example where the cheaper parts don’t end up being cheaper in the end. The cost of an uncrushable piece of metal entering a cone crusher can start at $50,000 and go up from there. Add downtime and a tramp metal event can quickly total six figures. The crazy thing about these events is that there is nothing saying a subsequent event can’t happen two weeks in a row and literally cause a quarter million in economic loss in a month.

If you work with a high probability of tramp metal, why risk the downtime that tramp metal can cause? There is a big difference between a $1,000 magnet that will catch some metal as compared to a more expensive self-cleaning magnet that will catch all metal. If correctly calibrated, the self-cleaning magnet will remain clean and stop all tramp metal from being ingested into a cone.

At ELRUS, we listen to our customers. We make the best recommendations we can, based on knowledge and experience while leaving decisions about cost vs. quality up to our customers. We have crunched the numbers and understand how to factor all the costs in making the best financial decision for purchasing parts.  

If you would like to learn more about how to “crush smart” and realize the value of quality parts, call us.


Topics: Crushing and Screening Parts

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