Bespoke Machinery Versus Generic Machinery

Bespoke machinery is designed and built according to customers specific needs.  Most manufacturers purchase bespoke machinery once their production line is established and the generic machinery is no longer efficient.  Custom made machinery does cost more to buy due to its uniqueness but the increase in efficiency and reduced running costs make it more cost-effective in the long run.

Generic or secondhand machinery is cheaper to purchase because it is either mass-produced or has been built to someone else’s specifications.  This type of machinery is particularly good for business startups or companies wanting to expand without incurring too many costs. Generic machinery requires more staff to operate it because allowances need to be made for the shortfall between what the machine can do and what the manufacturer wants to achieve.

The decision as to whether you purchase generic or bespoke machinery is determined by financial restraints and whether your business is established or just starting out.  Manufacturers with established production lines will be looking to streamline their business. Startups, on the other hand, will just want to establish themselves.  

How Does Bespoke Machinery Increase Productivity?

Bespoke machinery increases productivity by making production more accurate which increases the rate at which products are manufactured or processed.

Custom made machinery also requires fewer people to operate it because it has been built to do a specific job.  Generic machinery tends to need more human intervention to cover the shortcomings of the system.

Bespoke machinery is not as expensive as we think it is because it is more economical in the long run.  This takes into account accuracy, efficiency, lower-wage builds and maintenance costs.

What Are The Negatives Of Custom Machinery?

Generally, there are very few negatives to choosing bespoke machinery over generic machinery.  However, it is important that you take into account changing production methods and diversity into account before making such a decision.

Reducing the workforce may have a negative effect on the company as staff can be trained to use the machinery and reduce the overall workload.  Maintaining staff morale and looking after their wellbeing has a very positive effect on production which converts into increased profits.

The high initial cost requires in-depth analysis to ensure the bespoke machinery will increase production and profit margins. Also, manufacturers must be certain about the purpose of the machinery otherwise they may end up with machinery that is not fit for purpose and financial liability.

Challenger has been designing and building a wide variety of bespoke machinery for over two decades and is very adept at ensuring the machinery is exactly what the customer requires.

If you would like to find out more about bespoke machinery contact us and we would be happy to arrange a consultation and advice.

What Are The Benefits Of Bespoke Machinery?

Bespoke machinery is initially more expensive than generic or secondhand machinery but is more economical in the long run.  Investing machinery for your business requires many considerations particularly in relation to your budget.  Business start-ups are more likely to purchase second equipment due to having less cash flow.

Generic or secondhand machinery enables companies to kick start their production lines and automate their system.  This increases production and cash flow allowing them to expand their customer base and recover their initial investment.  Secondhand machinery usually becomes available because of manufacturers purchasing bespoke machinery.

Businesses generally purchase bespoke machinery because generic or secondhand machinery is slowing production.  Custom machinery increases production because it doesn’t require amendments to fit it to the job in hand. Purchasing bespoke machinery is a sign your business is doing well and anticipates future expansion.

Bespoke Machinery And Productivity

Bespoke machinery increases productivity because it is designed for a specific job and process.  This is cost effective because the machinery requires fewer people to use it and doesn’t need any adaptations which are both costly and time-consuming.  Manufacturers are able to make better use of their staff by setting to them to work on other tasks which are beneficial to production.

Manufacturing using bespoke machinery is more accurate because it reduces the incidents of human error.  This is due to the machinery being fully automated decreasing the need for human intervention, Custom designed machinery also reduces waste because there is less likely to be a malfunction in the production of goods.

The overall cost of bespoke machinery is much lower than we are commonly lead to believe.  Custom designed machinery is actually much more economical once you take into consideration the accuracy, automation and the efficiency of the process.  The savings translate as lower wage bills, energy use and optimising the use of materials.

Bespoke machinery is much more streamlined than having a number of work stations performing an individual task.  The production line is much more automated resulting in savings in all areas and is much easier to use than generic machinery.

What’s The Rub?

With all great ideas, there is always a payoff where compromises have to be made.  Fortunately, with bespoke machinery, there are very few. Companies benefit greatly from reduced staffing costs which is not such great news for job security. The efficiency of bespoke machinery requires fewer people to run it which may result in redundancy and less job security.  This may not always be the case as businesses can use staff availability to their advantage. They can take the opportunity to train staff and reduce workload resulting in high staff morale and well being.

The high upfront costs need to be taken into consideration. An analysis needs to be made as to whether the company will financially benefit from investing in custom machinery. Deciding to upgrade to bespoke machinery should only happen if it increases productivity and revenue for the business.

Manufacturers must take technical development into consideration when they commission their bespoke machinery. Anticipating future developments and consulting your supplier will help you to future proof your production line.

If you would like to find out more about bespoke machinery contact us and we would be happy to discuss your project.

Why You Should Consider Bespoke Machinery

Bespoke machinery is custom made machinery built to the specification of the customer.  It is more expensive than generic machinery because it is unique and requires individual design and construction.  However, there are many benefits of made to measure machinery including increased efficiency, accuracy, lower running costs and optimised usage.

Two drawbacks to bespoke machinery are the initial cost and sourcing replacement parts.  Standard built machinery has the same components and parts which makes them easier to replace.  It is therefore important you discuss maintenance and replacement parts with your manufacturer.

Buying bespoke machinery is economical if your business is established and you know exactly what you want the machine to do.  Generic machinery can be inefficient because it doesn’t fulfil the needs of the job perfectly. It is important to make sure you consider bespoke machinery to be a long-term investment in order to get a good ROI.  Secondhand machinery sells for considerably less than its original price.


Bespoke machinery is ideal for established manufacturers who know exactly what they require from the system.  The benefits of custom machinery include; the automation of repetitive tasks, it works exactly how you want it to, it is more efficient.  They are easier to use and don’t need adaptations like generic machinery. It is user-friendly and requires less training, economical, efficient and easy to install.  All of these reasons reduce production costs.

Purchasing bespoke machinery involves a consultation with the manufacturer to create a design.  There will be a waiting time for the machine to be built therefore a plan of action is necessary to organise the timetabling of replacing old equipment.


The initial cost of bespoke machinery may be off-putting because it is considerably more than for generic machinery.  It is also less versatile because it only does one specific job and may not keep up with new technology. The workforce benefits from the efficiency and safety of the machines but may face redundancy due to the machines replacing them.

Secondhand machinery is much cheaper and better suited for fledgeling businesses with a small workforce.  Bespoke machinery is an option for the future when the business is more established with a larger workforce.

Bespoke Machinery From Challenger

Challenger has been designing and building bespoke machinery for its customers for two decades. The machinery is designed and built after careful consultation and planning.  It is possible for most types of machines to be custom designed. Here are a few examples of bespoke machinery from Challenger; assembly tables, bale breakers, car flatteners, pallet dispensers and quad drum crushers.

The design, build and installation process is carefully managed by expert engineers.  3D solid modelling ensures the products meet the demands and specifications of the application.  An ISO 9001 accreditation ensures all of the components are completed to the highest quality standards.

If you would like to inquire about commisioning bespoke machinery contact us and we would be happy to offer advice.  

Investment In New Machinery That Will Increase Productivity And Service

Challenger Group has been renowned for providing high-quality engineering solutions for the past thirty years.  We are proud of the quality of our work and the machinery we produce.  Many of it has enabled new and growing businesses to expand and contribute greatly to the economy.  

All of the machinery we manufacture is bespoke and accredited to the ISO 9001 Quality Standard.  We are hoping to be awarded the ISO 9001:2015 Standard in November 2017.  Our after sales maintenance service means that machinery can work efficiently for decades.  Our second-hand machinery can either be purchased as seen or upgraded so it can be used immediately.  

We strive to improve our service and are continually updating our equipment so your machinery is built to the best possible standards.

Recently we have taken delivery of a Haas VF2 Axis Machining Centre, a Harrison Alpha CNC Centre and a Tong Tai 2 axis CNC Slant Bed Lathe.  We are also building up stocks of the Manuli Hose which will increase efficiency in our hydraulic systems.

Haas VF2 Axis Machining Centre

The Haas VF2 Axis Machining Centre is a welcome addition to our manufacturing system.  Our customers have requested that we incorporate integral Sun Cartridge valves in cylinders and end blocks.  This machine enables us to fulfil this request and keep up with manufacturing demand.  


Harrison Alpha CNC Centre

In order to increase capacity and reduce lead times, we have purchased 5 Harrison Alpha CNC Centres. The machinery is a lathe used to rotate rods and tubes so that they can be cut and shaped. This lathe has a 2-metre bed so that it can machine tubes up to Ø250mm bore and 2 metres in length.  80% of our size range require these dimensions.


Tong Tai 2 Axis CNC Slant Bed Lathe

Our production cell has now increased to 4 CNC lathes which are controlled by two operators.  The operators are responsible for programming and running the machines.  All of our personnel will be trained how to operate these systems, which will improve efficiency and productivity.  The Tong Tai 2 Axis CNC Slant Bed Lathe can machine components up to Ø200mm bore down to 32 mm bore.

tong tai

Comet Fluid Power

We have just received our first container shipment of Manuli Hose from Comet Fluid Power (who have just been awarded the distributorship).  Our intention is to build up our stock of both hydraulic hose and fittings.  The result of this investment will be full compatibility and certification when producing hose assemblies on site.

The Manuli Hose range is designed for hydraulic systems and in equipment in sectors including:-

  • Construction machines.
  • Mining industrial processes.
  • Agriculture.
  • Road construction equipment.
  • Drilling.
  • Forestry machines.
  • Material handling and lifting.
  • Road transportation.
  • Marine.
  • Offshore.

As well as many others.

ISO 9001:2015 Standard Quality Accreditation

The considerable investment we have made in machinery will enable us to fulfil the criteria for the ISO 9001:2015 Standard Quality Accreditation.  The new accreditation involves a greater emphasis on customer focus and will improve the efficiency of our systems.  Having had the ISO 9001 accreditation for a number of years means that we are constantly reviewing and improving our products and services in the following areas.

  1. Leadership
  2. Engagement of people
  3. Process Approach
  4. Evidence made decision making
  5. Relationship management

The ISO 9001:2015 Standard Quality Accreditation is recognised globally and incorporated into many different industries.

We are very excited and positive about how our investment in machinery, training and system organisation.  It is uplifting to be able to move the company forward and compete internationally.  Challenger Group aims to continue to be synonymous with quality engineering for many more decades.

If you are interested in purchasing bespoke machinery or would just like to find out more about what we do, please contact us here.  

Belt Conveyors In Manufacturing – A Brief History

Belt conveyors have not always been used in manufacturing

This can be difficult to comprehend because they have become indispensable in production lines.  belt conveyors are used in a wide variety of settings including; food production, recycling, car manufacture, super markets and retro television shows (The Generation Game) to name a few.  As with most practical inventions there is no one individual that can be named as the sole inventor of the conveyor belts.  It would seem that as manufacturing processes got more intense and quicker, belt conveyors evolved to make the whole process easier.  

The first belt conveyors

In the 18th Century belt conveyors were isochronic, which is a little bit like clock work.  By the early 19th Century, and the start of the industrial revolution, belt conveyors were steam powered.  It is thought that the very first belt conveyors was used to make biscuits for sailors.  belt conveyors designed by Richard Sutcliffe were used in coal mining to move the heavy coal from the mine so it could be loaded into transportation vehicles.  Many companies have been recorded using belt conveyors in their production line but the most notable one is Henry Ford, who used belt conveyors in his car production line from 1945.

Advanced Technology

Advanced technology has increased our ability to design and build a large variety of belt conveyors with many different purposes.  Sophisticated belt conveyors systems are controlled by a series of electric motors called variable speed drives. Variable speed drives enable belt conveyors to be programmed at different speeds, depending on the type of job being carried out in that section. Most companies tend to purchase bespoke belt conveyors because their production lines are unique to the product or system they are using it for. 

Second Hand Belt Conveyors

However if you are lucky and you require belt conveyors that have already been produced you will find that you can save up to 50% of the original sale price.  This is definitely the case if you are able to purchase equipment that is part of a cancelled order.  Often this type of order is listed as second hand machinery but is actually brand new and has never been used.

At Challenger we have five brand new belt conveyors available for you to look at.  They are all for sale in our second hand section because the customer cancelled the order.  If you would be interested in discussing the belt conveyors or other second hand or new equipment we have available please contact us here.