Legal Questions with Legacy Units

Plenty of manufacturers are updating their systems now. Often, they’re retrofitting legacy machines with new sensors, or bringing a new machine into a pre-existing system with legacy components. This can work very well. New Belgium brewery is an example of a facility that uses Rexroth systems from all time depths. Doing so allowed them to save millions of dollars and keep their commitment to sustainability.

But there can be legal questions when you bring in some new elements for your motion control systems and keep some of the pre-existing elements in place.

Who is responsible if there’s a problem? If you add a new machine to an existing system and the legacy units break down, is the new machine at fault? If the new machine breaks, is the old machinery the cause of the malfunction?

In robotics, there’s a tendency to take the position that the person who last touched the machinery is at fault if something goes wrong. That person is the one the company will sue, even though the system may be a patchwork of different company’s machinery. This can lead to the new company refusing to help connect their new machines to your old ones. We’ve even heard of companies refusing to cooperate with your plans to keep pre-existing machinery. That can be a major cost savings and a green choice, but it can also leave the new guys holding the bag.

The legal solution is probably to make sure that the new contracts spell out just how much responsibility the new company is taking. Choose the same company for your new machines as you had for your old machines if possible — that’s what New Belgium did. Their relationship with Rexroth allowed them to make sure that the new configuration was correct and safe for all the components.

Beyond the legal issues, it makes sense to have a plan in place. If you’re adding new automation and robotics, and you plan to continue to use your reliable Rexroth motion control, make sure you have our phone number in your contacts list. Call 479-422-0390 as soon as a problem arises and we can solve the problem fast. You save time and money by avoiding costly downtime, and you can be sure that the repairs you need are done correctly.

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