2016 Guide to Stringing Machines: Machine Learning
What do you need in a stringing machine? Use our exclusive guide to find the unit that best fits your business.
Like all equipment today, stringing machines continue to evolve. But even with automation, digital screens and other bells and whistles, the basics of a stringing machine haven’t changed in decades.
A good stringing machine must provide adequate support to the frame during stringing. It needs to pull the set tension accurately, and the clamps need to hold and maintain that tension without damaging the string or frame. All the rest is convenience, comfort and efficiency.
With more than 50 machines to choose from, the task of selecting a new unit can be intimidating. That’s why we created our Guide to Stringing Machines, which provides a comprehensive look at everything on the market today.
Assess Your Needs
Choosing the right machine for you and your business starts with assessing your needs. Beyond convenience, comfort and efficiency, what do you need the machine to do for you? What features are important, what do you need, and what would just be nice to have? If you are a high-volume operation stringing 20 or more racquets a day, having a quick-mounting system may allow you to increase capacity. If you only string four or five frames a week, that may not be a high-priority feature.
By assessing your needs, you can then make a list of “must-have” features. This will be your first cut, eliminating all machines that do not meet that criteria. Next, look at features you would like to have but that may not necessarily be essential, and narrow the list further.
Of course, consider your budget. Remember, this is an investment — it’s not uncommon for a stringing machine to last 10 years or more, even in a high-volume shop. Consider the money the machine will bring in over the expected life to get an idea of the potential of return on investment. You may be surprised at how little that machine actually costs in the long run.
Take a Test Drive
Once you’ve picked out three or four machines, try to demo them. If the vendor cannot provide a machine to try, perhaps they can arrange for you to string on one at another dealer after hours. Nothing takes the place of actually operating the machine, especially if it is a big deviation from your current machine.
Don’t forget customer support and post-sale service, along with the warranty. This is vital, and even more so if you only have one machine. Before making your final choice, make sure you know the company’s policy for repairs and turnaround time, and if loaner machines are available.
Picking the right machine is important. Let our guide help you find what best fits your business needs.
See all articles by Bob Patterson
About the Author
Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.
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