When choosing new equipment, it’s common practice for schools to obtain three quotes from different suppliers to ensure you achieve the best value for money. Whilst price is important, it’s equally essential that you choose a reliable supplier who can fulfil your requirements. We’ve collated a list of criteria for you to consider when making your final decision:
How long has the supplier been established for?
It’s important to know the background of the company you’re looking to order from. Make sure you’re aware of how long they’ve been established for and have a look through any reviews you come across on Trustpilot or within education forums. It’s also worth asking how many similar machines they have installed before.
Does the supplier’s offering meet health and safety standards?
Health and safety is vital in school environments and in particular design and technology classrooms. The last thing you need is somebody getting hurt by a piece of machinery that isn’t fit for purpose or lacks the correct safety features. Always check out what the latest standards are and ensure the product you wish to order satisfies the guidelines.
Is the machine suitable for schools?
Be careful if your school is offered a ‘Class 4’ laser machine as they may not have the correct safety features required. Also check if the laser machine is ‘overkill’ for what you plan to do with it. If you can choose a lower specification that still does the job, you’ll save money!
Are machine demonstrations available?
‘Try before you buy’ is common practice and when investing in expensive machinery, having an idea of how it works or some experience of actually using it can help your school achieve its objectives. Ask your supplier if you’re able to have an onsite demonstration or perhaps there’s another school in your area who will kindly allow you to see the machine in action.
What ongoing technical support do I get?
Equipment that involves water, laser beams and electronics suggests it would be extremely unsafe for a non-certified person to attempt to fix the machine without guidance. Ask your supplier what happens in the event you have a technical error or you face a breakdown of the machine. Your supplier should be able to provide you with peace of mind if something was wrong with the machine, that they’ll be on hand to get it fixed. Some suppliers offer remote, unlimited, lifetime online technical support and UK based engineers for installation, service, and training.
What does the warranty cover?
Each manufacturer is different and their warranties won’t be the same either. Always check exactly what parts of the machine are covered by the warranty and should you require an engineer, what is the normal turnaround time to get them onsite to fix the issue. If necessary, and for future budgeting, it may be worth noting down an approximate cost for replacement parts and consumables which aren’t covered by warranty.
So, there we have it…a full, in-depth guide for choosing a laser cutter and the supplier to provide the equipment for you. If you’re still in two minds, perhaps your laser cutter works but the replacement parts required aren’t cost-effective, read about how one school in Wales made their decision.