CNC Machine Tools News

Part of the family

Q & A with Andrew Kukla, John Hart’s Parts Centre Manager.

Parts Centre Team 

The John Hart Parts Centre team at their headquarters in Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
Left to right: Andrew Kukla Parts Centre Manager, Nicky Schulz Admin Assistant, Sharee Stephenson Parts Centre Coordinator and Henry Davies Parts Administrator.

Q: How is John Hart’s parts centre different from others that service Mazak machines?

A: We are part of the Mazak family. John Hart has been the Australian arm of Mazak for over 50 years, and is the only authorised sales, service and parts representative for Mazak.

This gives us direct access to the Mazak world-wide spare parts inventory, including critical information such as part currency, availability and price.

Our customers therefore always get the up to date version of the part they need. They also get the part faster because a non factory supplier has to get it from us first, and our customers pay less because there is no middle man.

We have every manual for every Mazak machine ever produced, as well as access to the people who actualy design and build the machines so we are properly equipped and informed to help a customer in need.

Q: Why is part currency so important?

A: As machines progress through their life the Mazak design and service department will make revisions and updates to parts in order to increase life and reliability.

There could be up to 15 revisions to a spindle during a machine model life, where items like seals, tapers or a bearings are updated.

A third party supplier wouldn’t know about that and would supply a replacement based on the original factory specifications. In this case a customer would be missing out on the benefits the latest part offers.

Q: So you stock every part available?

A: We have a huge inventory of spare parts located in our Victorian headquarters. Close 10,000 part lines, with hundreds of items in stock for some items. Our priority is to have adequate stock of the most frequently required parts so that we can respond very quickly to an emergency.

We stock approximatelly two thirds of the complete Mazak parts inventory, so that’s why our direct access to the Mazak world-wide parts inventory is beneficial. We can locate and ship any part we don’t stock localy from anywhere in the world very quickly.

We also have an on-site repair facility for electrical parts and can usually test most items the same day.

Q: What about parts for very old Mazak machines?

A: We are constantly looking for ways to help customers run their old machines with obsolete components.

We have developed kits to replace old floppy disk drives with USB drives, and kits for replacing broken down CRT monitors with LCD screens which are also clearer, brighter, and much more efficient.

There are a number of other products in the pipeline which will be released once they have been fully tested and proven as good if not better than the original product.

Q: What kinds of problems do you help customers with on a day-to-day basis?

A: No two days are the same, some days it could just be simple things like batteries or electronic drives, mechanical parts, and other days customers could have crashed their machine so they’ll need a full spindle rebuild, have the cover or linear rails replaced. From $7 switches through to a few thousand dollars in parts, literally anything could happen.

Q: Can you tell us about how a customer can help you to help them?

A: Recently up in far north Queensland, a customer was self diagnosing a machine problem. We assume the customer chose to self diagnose due to distance and cost.

Most machines will give you an alarm when something fails. There are certain things which can be tested to tell you how to interpret the alarm and diagnose the problem, but customers may not be as familiar with this process as a qualified service technician.

Based on an alarm this customer requested a replacement drive. We sent it by overnight courier but the replacement drive didn’t fix the problem. He thought it could have been a faulty drive so we sent another one but that didn’t fix the problem either. Both drives were sent back and tested ok so we knew it was a different problem.

The customer then ordered a replacement motor and that did fix the problem, but by this stage the customer had more than a few of days down time.

The moral of the story is sometimes trying to save time and money can cost you a lot more.

Q: Do you offer alternative parts that save money?

A: We understand that customers are concerned about costs. We are too. We can offer alternatives which save money in the short term, but our priority is to offer the best solution and therefore genuine parts wherever possible.

As an example, some of the drives in Mazak machines run cooling fans which cost a couple of hundred dollars and you can probably find a similar cooling fan for much less. An inexpensive fan could break down in that environment, and then instead of just having to replace a fan you will also have to replace a drive which costs $2,000.

The fan we supply has bearings rated to higher temperatures and will work continually at 5,000 rpm in 100ºC with oil spraying all over it.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working in the John Hart Parts Centre?

A: It is very satisfying to provide a solution to a customer who calls for help about a machine that’s not running - holding up work that needs to be completed urgently. To get their spare parts to them fast, and get them running again is a really good feeling.

I spoke with a customer last week who we have been dealing with for over 25 years. He said, “I would never try using another supplier because every time I call with a problem I know you will bend over backwards to get my machines up and running again.”