Every week we get one or more calls from companies seeking support for their Steinmeyer ball screws. If the call is from an OEM, we bend over backwards in our attempt to support them technically as well as commercially. However if it is from an end user it’s a bit more complicated. Why?It’s simple – our corporate policy is to “protect” the OEM. This means that when we field a call or email from someone seeking either a repair or a replacement of a Steinmeyer ball screw, here’s our first question: “is this product inside a machine, and if so, who is the manufacturer?” Once we determine our product is inside a machine made by an OEM we suggest that the caller contact the machine manufacturer for support, either in the form of repair or replacement. Upon hearing this, the caller/end-user usually asks “why can’t we deal directly with Steinmeyer?” To which we reply – “you can given that one of the following conditions is true”:
1. the machine builder has gone out of business
2. the machine builder no longer supports the machine (e.g. it’s a very old model)
3. you, the end user, obtain, in writing from the machine builder, authorization for Steinmeyer to deal direct
If neither of the above is satisfied, Steinmeyer defers to the OEM. There are two reason for this. First of all, if the machine is still under warranty, manipulating the ball screw will void that warranty, and we will never encourage the end user to do that. And even if the machine is no longer under warranty, it still might be better to have a trained service technician complete the necessary steps. Secondly, such a “service call” often ends with a replacement for the ball screw. The machine manufacturer may have one in stock, and we usually don’t. That is simply because ball screws are normally made to the OEM’s control drawing. Thus they are protected by IP laws, which prevent us from selling spares direct, unless one of the three conditions above applies.