When shopping for coding and marking printers, you’ll likely compare several different models and make a decision based on factors such as technical specifications, performance, and price. It’s also important to consider the manufacturer warranty for the device and its components. These warranties can differ greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, and individual printer types or models from the same OEM may have slightly different warranty terms as well. A bad warranty can lead to expensive repairs and logistics nightmares, which is why it’s important to consider manufacturer warranties in your evaluation as you search for the best coding and marking printers for your application.
Here are some tips for understanding and selecting a warranty, as well as some potential pitfalls to look out for.
The first thing to understand about warranties for coding and marking printers is that they are generally broken down into three categories: equipment, parts, and labor. Let’s look at the differences between these three types of warranties.
An equipment warranty covers your coding and marking machine as a whole. This means, if your coding and marking printer has some sort of defect that leads to performance issues, it’s possible to have the whole machine replaced or repaired, rather than needing to fix or swap out individual components only. The typical term for equipment warranties is one year, though some manufacturers go up to two years.
A parts warranty covers individual components that need to be replaced. It does not cover the labor to install the replacement parts in your printer. A parts warranty term is usually pretty long, from five to seven years. Generally, under a parts warranty, the manufacturer will ship you a replacement part, and you’re responsible for replacing the component yourself and shipping back the defective part.
A labor warranty covers the cost of the technician’s time to repair your coding and marking printer or replace broken or defective components. Sometimes the labor warranty covers on-site repairs, but this is usually an upcharge. Typically you’ll need to ship your printer or the defective parts to a repair center, and once the item is fixed, it will be shipped back to you. When a manufacturer offers a labor warranty (which isn’t always the case), it will typically have a very short term of two to six months. A longer labor warranty may extend out to a year after purchase.
There are a few additional things to consider as you shop for the best manufacturer warranty for coding and marking printers. The first is the turnaround time for repairs. Most standard manufacturer warranties either don’t specify a turnaround time at all–which means they don’t guarantee a timeframe for critical issues to be repaired–or they provide a very loose estimate. For example, Squid Ink’s CIJ printer warranty estimates that repairs will take place within five business days of a defective part being received by their repair center.
Another factor to consider is the cost of shipping the damaged product. Most manufacturer warranties for coding and marking printers do not include on-site service. That means you’ll need to ship the defective machine or component to a repair center, and then they’ll ship the repaired or replaced part back to you. It’s generally considered standard for manufacturers to cover the cost of shipping both ways for warranty-covered repairs, though you should read your warranty before purchase to make sure you’re not left responsible for those costs. In addition, many warranties stipulate that if your warranty claim is denied for any reason, then you’ll need to pay to have the equipment or part shipped back to you.
As for why your warranty claim may be denied, you’ll need to check the “exclusions” section of the warranty to see the justifications a manufacturer can use to get out of covering your repair. For example, Markem-Imaje requires that you use its ink, additives, fluids, accessories, ribbons, and other consumables. If you use any third-party or after-market products, and the manufacturer finds evidence of it during the repair, your warranty claim could be denied and you could be blamed for causing the defect by using those unapproved consumables. This is very common among manufacturer warranties for coding and marking printers, though some OEMs are less strict and will instead provide a list of manufacturing specifications for inks, consumables, and accessories. As long as you follow the recommendations, your parts and equipment will be covered.
If you ship a part to your OEM for repair or replacement, and the company decides to deny the warranty claim, you’ll then have to decide whether or not you want to cover the cost yourself. If this happens, you’ll likely be charged for the parts, labor, and shipping to get the component back to you. For busy production lines, the delay caused by shipping equipment both ways, waiting for approval on repairs, and the repair time itself can be a deal-breaker. Often, OEMs or distributors will offer extended warranty upsells or support plans that include on-site repairs and guaranteed turnaround times of 24, 48, or 72 hours depending on the severity of the issue. This option will cost more, but it could prevent significant delays in having critical equipment repaired or replaced. If your production room can not afford to have any downtime while your printer is being repaired, it is best to negotiate and purchase a spare printer to be held in the stockroom in case of a failure or warranty repair. The spare printer can often be pre-programmed with information, allowing for a speedy swap-out with the broken printer.
Choosing a new coding technology and finding the best manufacturer warranty for coding and marking printers can be challenging. At C&M Digest, we simplify the process by providing you with insider information on all the biggest coding and marking printer manufacturers so you can make an informed decision. Subscribe to our newsletter today.