Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Service is a primary concern of ours. How does Burke Porter support its installations?
A. Every machine we build is supported by a direct link modem. Upon request, and authorization by the user, our technical support staff can remotely access the machine to troubleshoot and diagnose most common problems. Frequently, this process allows us to quickly and efficiently resolve issues over the phone in less time than it takes to dispatch a local service technician. In situations where problem resolution is not possible by modem support, technicians from the Cleveland, Ohio or Gosport, England offices are sent to the work site.
We provide unlimited modem support free of charge for the life of the machine. Service calls by a technician are free of charge during the initial two-year warranty period in accordance with our standard warranty policy.
Q. Our company's goal is to completely automate the end of line test cell for our automatic transmissions. What kind of experience does Burke Porter have in designing and installing this type of line?
A. Complete automation of end-of-line component testing is becoming more and more common. At Burke Porter Machinery, we have developed extensive experience in the design and installation of these types of lines. Once your transmission is dressed out with the proper adapters, we can design a system that "takes over" the process, eliminating the need for operators to man the test cell. Automatic loading and unloading, oil fill and drain, part recognition and program initiation, shifting and shift force monitoring, noise analysis and pass fail determination are all features that can be designed into the test process.
Q. Noise is responsible for a significant number of our product warranty returns. What options do we have to incorporate noise analysis into our test equipment?
A. Noise and vibration analysis is now employed on most new powertrain component test cell installations. You tell us which noise analysis equipment you want to use and we will manage the procurement, installation, and run-in of the noise system onto the test stand prior to shipment from our plant. As the turnkey system supplier, we take full responsibility for the integration and proper set up of your chosen noise analysis package. We have worked with all of the major noise analysis equipment suppliers and will be able to assist you in meeting whatever noise and vibration requirements your project may have.
Q. What type of control system and software options can Burke Porter provide?
A. Each customer has different requirements for control systems and these are usually driven by their existing knowledge of a specific control package. As Burke Porter has built test equipment for a wide range of customers; we have integrated many different types of control systems into our projects. At the moment, there is an ongoing debate as to whether PC or PLC control systems are the better solution. Burke Porter can and has supplied both options. Also there is a debate on the merits of remote I/O. We can sit down with you and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. If requested, Burke Porter will recommend the best solution for your needs.
We can also offer a comprehensive test configuration package that will run alongside proprietary data acquisition software packages. This test configuration software is written within the Windows® environment and allows the user to program the test sequence he wants and dedicate it to a particular part or component - a near unlimited number of tests may be programmed. This gives the user the ability to completely change the nature of a test without having to contact Burke Porter to make minor modifications. Testing of course, results in data being collected and compared against pass/fail criteria. The test software will record all relevant data during the test and produce results files in a number of formats along with graphical representation and printout if necessary.
Q. With your equipment being built in and shipped from England, won't I be paying a premium as a US customer?
A. This is a very common question and a typical perception of new customers in North America. However, quite the opposite is true. Burke Porter has an extremely flat organization with the focus on direct as opposed to indirect labor. Add this to the low social costs of employment in the UK and the combination results in extremely low labor costs.
Finally, all system controls, software and programming are done in house. This lends itself to very competitively priced solutions with absolutely no compromise on quality. It also gives us the ability to react quickly to customer demands and therefore to deliver in a shorter time frame.
Q. You offer a 2-year warranty and guarantee 94% uptime. What exactly does that mean?
A. Our confidence in the quality of our systems is demonstrated by our industry leading two-year warranty and uptime guarantee. Very simply; with the exception of wear items, Burke Porter will provide free service and parts support for its test stands during the initial two years of the machines life. In the unlikely event that your test stand should fail to meet our guaranteed 94% uptime, we will extend the warranty by one month for every one percent below 94% uptime your plant experiences.
Q. What is the typical lead time to receive one of your test stands?
A. Each project that we undertake differs and therefore typical lead times are hard to quantify. Nevertheless, we can categorically state that we have never lost an order on delivery. We apply effective management to the critical path and maintain excellent lines of communication with the customer. Indeed, we can supply references where our speed of delivery has contributed to our success in winning the orders from our US customer base.
Q. One of our big concerns is accessibility of spare parts for machines sourced outside of North America. How can we be sure your equipment will be easy to obtain parts for?
A. All component parts on machines shipped to the US (i.e., drives, motors, hydraulics and pneumatics) are sourced in the US. In the main, we use the suppliers that you specify. Where the customer indicates no preference, we make it our business to ensure good local support for every component used. We also supply complete vendor contact details for all machine parts in our manuals. These contacts contain not just the name and address of the manufacturer, but also the details of the nearest supplier of the part to your facility.
Q. With past test stands we have used, we have had a very difficult time getting software changes implemented. What kind of assurance do I have that this will not be a problem with Burke Porter equipment?
A. There is always a need to modify the machine software to cope with ongoing improvements in the design of the component being tested. At Burke Porter Machinery, we write and test all machine software in-house. This enables us to control all aspects of the machine software design and provide quick response on small software modifications as well as the larger ones. There is no need to work through a third party for software changes. We address all software changes quickly and directly.
Q. What kind of documentation do you provide with your test stands?
A. Equipment manuals supplied with Burke Porter test stands are extremely complete and detailed. The typical contents include:
- Commercial Information: Listing order numbers, delivery dates, color specification, weights, dimensions, machine serial number and electrical requirements.
- Application information: ID of parts to be tested, cycle times, test time cycle graphs.
- General description of machine: Function, capabilities and description of overall machine. Photos of critical areas.
- Detailed description of major machine assemblies: Detailed explanations of key assemblies such as loading tables, spindles, head and tail stocks, hydraulic and pneumatic circuits and components, and noise analysis equipment.
- List of components with serial numbers.
- Machine operation and control.
- Preventative maintenance manual.
- Supplier list with addresses and telephone numbers.
- Input and output drive data.
- Operation and use of screens.
- Circuit drawings: Hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical.
- Software listing.
- Assembly Drawings: Main assemblies with drawing numbers and sheet sets.