WHEN TO REPLACE- WHEN TO REPAIR
The endoscope service industry doesn’t have the luxury of purchasing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Components. With the rare exception of authorized Fujinon /Olympus repair centers, the VA Center at Hines IL and in the United Kingdom, manufactures refuse to sell parts to anyone, which drives the cost up because of limited supply channels. Although some parts are available through machine shops, who attempt to reverse engineered the shape and size of the part, they are incapable of duplicating the true motion of the part. Replicating the shape doesn’t mean the part functions as intended by the manufacturer. It takes a specialist to duplicate the exact motion and intention of the part.
When shopping for replacement parts, look for a supplier who has knowledge of endoscopes and how the components interact with each other. It is best if the machine shop also has an endoscope repair division so they can examine the machine part’s interaction and make instant modifications to the critical surfaces.
As to the question, “Should I fix this part or should I replace it?
That answer depends on what impact the worn portion has on the functionality of the complete unit after the repair. If you have a garden hose that springs a leak because you ran over it with a lawn mower, then the rest of the hose is probably still good and it is worth patching. If on the other hand the hose is thin from dragging it across the road where it is run over and the leak is just the beginning of it’s problems, it is time to replace.
We are in the business of repairing flexible endoscope bending sections. With 37 years of “hands on” repairing endoscopes, I am knowledgeable as to which bending sections need repaired and which need replaced. Eyelets, rivets, bands, ears and ends all interact upon one another. An eyelet needs replaced when an angulation wire cuts a groove into it’s bottom. The wire then starts cutting into the rivet head. When the eyelet is replaced, the base of the eyelet lifts the wire up above the rivet head reducing further wear. If the rivet head is worn and may soon fail, it needs to be replaced as well. If it is still thick and strong, it will last to be examined the next time it comes in for repair. Fortunately for us, a bending section is made of stainless steel and brazing. Both of which can be added to or increased so a bending section can be repaired to a functional state forever. The only limitation is the physical characteristics of the metal itself. In other words when you heat the metal to 2000º even for an instant, such as a laser welder, does it maintain it’s shape or does it ball up. When a rain drop hits an old car it spreads out and leaves no signs of the drop. When a rain drop hits a waxed car, the drop beads up on itself and joins with another nearby drop to form a bigger drop. Very thin sheets of steel such as; bending section distal ends that have been brutalized by a technician using a power grinder to remove the angulation wires from the wire retaining straps. When we attempt to laser weld metal to the distal end, the metal withdraws on itself and balls up when the end is thin, it needs to be replaced. If we have a replacement end available we can swap it out and the functionality of the bending section is restored and ready for final assembly back into the endoscope.
Pricing is another reason to replace rather then repair a bending section. If a bending section needs 40 eyelets plus 10 rivets to repair, that comes to $800 to return to good working order. If you can buy a replacement for $800, then it would probably be better to buy a replacement. But buy from someone who will allow you to return it for full refund if it is worn and in need of repair. Do not let them charge you a restocking fee for a substandard product. Send it to us for a free examination.
90% of what is sent in to us for repair is repaired and returned to our customers. 10% is returned unrepaired or purchased by us to disassemble distal ends and bands.
Llojenn Inc., 2101A Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015 | 410-734-0333