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I posted a similar thread in the big tractor discussion area, but it really hits us little tractor guys too. I work as a designer for a small company that builds custom machines (one at a time per customer spec) and we supply spare parts all the way back to what was sold in 1938 when the company started. And yet Deere has already discontinued some parts for the 316, 318, and more so the old 110, 112, and 140. How long should spares be available? I realize that where I work is much different than a production line factory, but we have 9 long established model lines and many variations of each model. Our spares are made new as the customer orders them. Can't Deere and the others run off small production runs of popular parts, or are we gonna see more "cottage" industries making cat. "0" hitches and weight brackets that Deere doesn't want to manufactur any more. I don't mean to pick on Deere, as I'm sure the Cub, Simplicity, Wheelhorse guys see it too, but that is what I'm familiar with. So would 20 years be reasonable? 30? 40?
 

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Originally posted by bontai Joe
I work as a designer for a small company that builds custom machines (one at a time per customer spec) and we supply spare parts all the way back to what was sold in 1938 when the company started.
What type of machines do you make? Sorry if you posted it earlier I just can' t think of it!

I would imagine the main reason Deere and companies like them do things like this is money, bottom line. For the number of machines they have made it would cost them a large fortune to keep all the tooling, dies, and jigs for all the items they have made. Not to mention storage of spare parts, the buildings and shelves would be huge. If I am not mistaken Deere keeps most of their stock at the main storage place and then overnights it out to their local people as they need it. That doesn't include the high use items. I know they did it with my L-130 mulching blades. Just my ranting, I hope it made sense!!:D
 

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IMHO, they should put the designs into the public domain if they discontinue. In fact, because of the potential safety issues, they should be required by law to put out the designs if they discontinue production of spares.

After all, if I get the design wrong and sell someone an aftermarket part that hurts somebody, I'll be sued. They have a proven design and should have to release the drawings and specs in trade for being clear of liability on the old parts and on the mating parts that may overstress my aftermarket part.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Stewart,
My employer makes vibrating screens for sifting and vibrating fluid bed dryers (think air hockey table that vibrates to direct the customer's product down stream), plus dewaterers, conveyors, air filtration systems, and various combination units. The original blueprints from EVERY job ever built (over 5 thousand) are carefully rolled up and stored for ref. for spare parts. These rolls contain any shop made notes as to changes and modifications made at the time of original manufacture. Other companies that used to have excellent spare part support were Gravely, Maytag, and Troy Bilt, before they got bought out by others. Those three companies also enjoyed fantastic customer loyalty.
 

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Thanks Joe, I am glad your company is able to keep up the customer support. It sure would be nice if they all did that. It is all about the big bucks and volume sales. Bigger isn't alway better!:wontshare So to speak!:hide:
 

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I agree with balmoralboy. When the OEM is finished with a certain part they should allow another manufacturer to produce it. But the OEM should continue to own the jigs, dies whatever needed to make the parts and just lease the rights to an outside company. This way if the smaller independant company goes under, the equipment isn't lost forever.
After about 5 years, they should have a good idea of what parts need to be produced and what doesn't. I'm sure there are certain parts that will hardly ever fail and some cosmetic items that don't affect performance or operation these they could let slide, although the restorers will continue to search for them. Things like brakes, clutches, gears, drive shafts, u-joints, steering parts should be made available for a long time, especially when these "hidden" items are probably used for years even as the appearance of the overall tractor changes.
 

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Originally posted by sixchows
I agree with balmoralboy. When the OEM is finished with a certain part they should allow another manufacturer to produce it. But the OEM should continue to own the jigs, dies whatever needed to make the parts and just lease the rights to an outside company. This way if the smaller independant company goes under, the equipment isn't lost forever.
After about 5 years, they should have a good idea of what parts need to be produced and what doesn't. I'm sure there are certain parts that will hardly ever fail and some cosmetic items that don't affect performance or operation these they could let slide, although the restorers will continue to search for them. Things like brakes, clutches, gears, drive shafts, u-joints, steering parts should be made available for a long time, especially when these "hidden" items are probably used for years even as the appearance of the overall tractor changes.
What you are saying is a lot like what GM, and Ford are doing with a lot of parts/tooling, for there clasic cars. They know there is a market, and lincence the rights, and lease the tooling out to outside venders. Thats why I can still get an OEM hood for my Mustang, and wile a year after I bought one of the last NOS 70 Mustang dash pads in the US, can people get them everywere now[OK THAT part is not good:mad: ;) ]
 

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Originally posted by sixchows
I agree with balmoralboy. When the OEM is finished with a certain part they should allow another manufacturer to produce it. But the OEM should continue to own the jigs, dies whatever needed to make the parts and just lease the rights to an outside company. This way if the smaller independant company goes under, the equipment isn't lost forever.
After about 5 years, they should have a good idea of what parts need to be produced and what doesn't. I'm sure there are certain parts that will hardly ever fail and some cosmetic items that don't affect performance or operation these they could let slide, although the restorers will continue to search for them. Things like brakes, clutches, gears, drive shafts, u-joints, steering parts should be made available for a long time, especially when these "hidden" items are probably used for years even as the appearance of the overall tractor changes.
Actually, sixchows, you don't agree with me at all. To me, the OEM has a responsibility to provide support, just the same as they have a responsibility to make the product safe. Then as part of that responsibility, when they decide it's no longer economical to keep offering the parts whether produced by them or through a contract with another company, the design, drawings and specs, and the right to produce them should become public domain, and freely available for anyone to access. So, whether I want to manufacture thousands or you want to make one, both of us should be able to make a 'real' one.

To me, that should be part of the contract when you sell me something mass produced that may require replacement parts.

So, since Ford no longer supports the Model T, the design should be freely available for you to get drawings of every part in your old Model T and get it made properly when you need a replacement.
 
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