THE IMPORTANCE OF UPKEEP FOR LAMINATING SYSTEMS
Anyone who has been in the printing business for any length of time knows full well how crucial it is to maximize time spent in production. Presses, laminating systems, and other pieces of equipment are significant financial investments with an ROI that hinges on their ability to keep pace with incoming orders. A functional laminating system is especially vital to a print finishing operation’s workflow due to the fact that one laminator is often fed by several presses. A laminator that is not working properly can easily create a bottleneck in an otherwise seamless workflow, resulting in backlogged orders, missed deadlines, frustrated customers, and operators sitting idle on the clock.
For all these reasons, printers should make laminator upkeep a top priority. Remembering to set aside the time and funds for thorough maintenance and wellness checks can be difficult when there are many other tasks on the checklist, but neglecting a laminator inevitably costs more in the long run. How can a busy printer ensure their laminator’s upkeep doesn’t get pushed to the bottom of the list and forgotten until issues begin cropping up? If you’ve purchased a laminator from a supplier like Nobelus, the answer is simple: Purchase an equipment maintenance agreement, or EMA.
WHAT IS AN EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT (EMA)?
An EMA is a contract between the owner of a laminating system and the supplier who sold that system that provides the owner with comprehensive technical support, targeted training, and other benefits at a flat yearly rate. Each contract applies to a specific laminating unit, which means printers who have multiple machines will need a separate EMA for each. This contract covers a thermal laminator for a minimum of one year, with multi-year contracts also available.
An EMA removes the need to plan for and seek out maintenance and ensures the unit’s owner receives proactive support and guidance without any unexpected expenses. Whether the contract is paid up front or on a monthly basis, a printer with an EMA always knows exactly how much they will be spending on maintenance that year on top of receiving timely and high-quality service. An EMA is, without a doubt, the single best way to maximize uptime for a laminator and minimize lost revenue, production issues, and stress for the unit’s operator.
HOW IS AN EMA DIFFERENT THAN A WARRANTY?
While a one-year manufacturer warranty is always included with the purchase of a brand new laminating system, it does nothing to proactively contribute to the health of a laminator. With a warranty, owners are guaranteed repair support only after the laminator begins experiencing issues. Support starts over the phone and escalates to in-person visits from a technician if the unit cannot be fixed remotely, but this process takes time and leaves printers without a functioning laminator in the meantime. A warranty is useful as a last resort, but an EMA provides far more coverage and higher quality support. Let’s look at a few key features that differentiate an EMA from a manufacturer warranty.
Annual Preventative Maintenance Visit
Warranties are reactive, becoming relevant only when your operation is in immediate need. An EMA, on the other hand, includes one free preventative maintenance (PM) visit per year. During this visit, a trained in-house Nobelus technician will evaluate the general status of any covered units and make sure they are properly adjusted, lubricated, and calibrated, bringing them back up to peak condition annually. If our technician notices something that could become an issue in the future, they will perform proactive repairs, greatly reducing the likelihood of the machine going down between PM visits. We even provide a complementary cleaning and maintenance kit that includes a sanding belt cleaner block and various other supplies to help ensure the unit is well maintained between PMs.
Although a warranty is free, relying on it alone can prove to be far costlier than protecting your equipment investment with an EMA. All laminating units require regular maintenance, and the included PM in an EMA lowers the risk that the unit will a) be down at some point during the year due to unexpected issues and b) remain out of commission for several days before an expert makes it on-site for repairs. An EMA helps prevent issues from arising in the first place, and as we’ll see below, it also expedites the repair process.
In-Person Support in 72 Hours or Less
Preventative maintenance is proven to reduce the number of break-fix tickets and service calls submitted throughout a laminator’s service life, but even a well-maintained unit can develop unexpected issues for a variety of reasons. Signing an EMA guarantees that an experienced Nobelus technician will arrive at your location to examine and repair the machine within 72 hours of an escalation. All expenses related to this visit, including travel, lodging, and labor for the technician, are covered at no extra cost to the laminator’s owner.
Nobelus has technicians stationed across the United States to ensure our customers get comprehensive support no matter what region they are in. Additionally, our technicians are able to draw from cumulative decades of hands-on experience in the printing industry and understand not only how laminators work but also how other equipment, processes, and products can affect lamination results. Once a technician has arrived at your facility, they will be able to diagnose the issue and get the machine running again in a timely manner.
While complimentary on-site support is certainly an excellent perk, we know that many issues can be resolved in a much shorter time frame through remote support. EMA holders are given priority phone response when they call in an issue with their laminator; within 45 minutes of the initial phone call, customers are guaranteed a call back. Once someone from our service team makes contact, they can guide the equipment operator through an evaluation and troubleshoot the issue. We also offer video calls for a more thorough analysis. Oftentimes, operators can perform repairs on their own with a bit of guidance from our team, vastly reducing downtime for the unit.
Replacement Parts Available at No Extra Cost
Every laminator Nobelus sells includes a spare parts kit in the total cost, but any customer who signs an EMA is given access to replacement parts at no added expense. Components ordered over the phone or installed during a technician’s visit are covered by Nobelus, and if the owner uses anything from their spare parts kit, we will send out a replacement part to ensure the kit is always stocked. Unlike in a warranty, wear and tear parts are no exception; blades, bearings, and even rollers will be reliably replaced at no cost.
Of course, some limitations apply to this benefit. Any signs of abuse or negligence will void part coverage as Nobelus covers only parts that are worn or damaged as a result of responsible, regular use. For instance, a roller that has cuts, abrasions, or other similar signs of misuse would not be covered by the EMA. Additionally, each individual roller is eligible for replacement once a contract period. Beyond these qualifications, the owner of the laminating system can rest assured that no unexpected equipment expenses will emerge so long as they have an EMA.
DOES AN EMA INCLUDE ANY DISCOUNTS?
It’s clear that an EMA offers far more in terms of coverage and benefits than a manufacturer warranty, but it also provides the buyer with access to a range of discounts and supplementary perks.
Rebate on Consumables
We can verify that all Nobelus laminates run smoothly on our thermal laminating systems, minimizing defects and material waste. For this reason, we offer a 2% rebate on all Nobelus consumables to anyone who signed an EMA when purchasing a Nobelus laminator. Anyone who purchases an EMA after the machine has been installed receives a 1% rebate. This rebate applies to all consumables bought from the Nobelus catalog throughout the duration of the calendar year in which the EMA was signed. Rebate amounts are processed annually and paid out in January.
In other words, this means that someone who purchased a laminating system in March alongside an EMA will receive a 2% rebate on all laminate orders from March through December of the same year. The rebate can be either credited to the laminator owner’s account to be applied to future purchases, or it can be paid out via check to be used however the recipient deems fit.
Discounted Training Sessions
Our service technicians provide complementary training after every initial equipment installation. However, laminators are complicated machines, and oftentimes operator turnover and the passage of time can lead to the knowledge gained in the training session being lost or diluted. Whether the goal is to train new hires, cross train staff from other parts of the company, or simply provide their team with a refresher course, EMA holders can access additional training sessions from Nobelus technicians at a rate of $85/hour – a discount of 50% from regular pricing. The teaching technician can provide targeted guidance on best practices, show operators what signs to look for to maintain the health of the unit, and answer any questions operators may have about their particular laminator model and how it can be best utilized for specific applications.
Customers who purchase multiple laminators from Nobelus will receive a 5% discount on their EMA so long as all the units are in the same facility. This discount applies even if one machine is purchased at a later date than the other, so long as both are installed in the same location. While the minimum term for an EMA is one year, we offer a 4% discount to any printer who signs a two-year agreement and a 6% discount to anyone who signs a three-year agreement.
These discounts can be combined with each other to maximize savings. For instance, someone who purchases two laminators for the same facility with a two-year EMA contract will be offered an initial multi-unit discount of 5% from the total cost of both EMAs. A multi-year 4% discount will then be applied to the updated reduced price.
Trade-In Upgrade Program
Finally, when an EMA holder is ready to replace or upgrade their laminating system, Nobelus will offer to trade in the covered machine at top dollar value, enabling the printer to maximize their investment even after the unit has left their facility. Because we can personally verify that the laminator has been kept in peak condition throughout its service life, we are able to offer a highly competitive price. We want to see each of our customers become long-term partners and continue to succeed as they grow and shift their processes to new equipment.
READY TO SIGN AN EMA?
If you’re ready to take your laminator maintenance to the next level and purchase an EMA, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team by phone or email. Our knowledgeable sales representatives and client care team can walk you through all the details and answer any questions you may have. If you’re interested in purchasing a Nobelus thermal laminator, visit our website to view our equipment page and contact us to see which unit is best for your operation.