Is your Rexroth motion control system obsolete?

It depends on how you define it — as well as which system you’re using.

But let’s define “obsolete” before we get any further. There are three kinds of obsolescence: Functional, Economic, and Absolute.

Functional obsolescence means the item isn’t being made any more. Your antique computer still runs and you don’t use it to surf the web. You can still buy floppy disks at Amazon, and there are people who can fix it if it breaks. It’s still functional for whatever you use it for, even though it’s clearly obsolete.

Same for the car you bought a couple of years ago. Or the shirt you’ve loved since college. As long as you can still get tires, air filters, and buttons, it’s worth taking care of that fully-functional old item and continuing to use it.

Economic obsolescence means that the cost of upkeep for your antique is higher than the cost of replacing it. If the amp goes out on your antique Wurlitzer, you might as well just buy yourself a new organ. If your car spends so much time in the shop that you’re having to rent a vehicle to get to work, it’s time to give up that car.

It’s not impossible to fix these items, but the ROI is inadequate.

Absolute obsolescence means that the item in question can’t be used any more. Your grandma’s washing machine, which lived out on her back porch for a century? You’re not going to be able to get parts for that. Plant flowers in it if you want, but you’ll need to break down and get a new washer.

The smart thing to do is to make sure you have a plan. If you use 20th century Rexroth motion control, you need to have our number in your phone and an extra cable on your shelf. That way, you won’t end up going from functional obsolescence to absolute obsolescence without warning.

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