How to find support for products that are no longer manufactured

How to find support for products that are no longer manufactured

by Katie Ladas August 25, 2023

PROS can help support products and equipment you have that are no longer manufactured

Written by Barry Victor, Founder of PROS Parts

Through the years, many brands of laundry and dry cleaning equipment have been produced but unfortunately some brands fail to navigate the challenges that can confront a manufacturer and so they close their doors.  Almost everyone in the industrial laundry segment will remember brands like Washex, Challenge and American Laundry.  In the dry cleaning segment brands like Ajax, Cissell, Hoyt and others are among the brands no longer produced.  While these machine manufacturers are no longer making machinery today, hundreds if not thousands of each brand are still operating in laundries and drycleaning plants across the country.

Contacting the manufacturer for parts support is no longer an option for these machines however there may be many distributors in the country who represented them while they were in production and these distributors can be a valuable source of supply.  One of our strengths at PROS Parts is in the support of out of production machinery so we have cultivated relationships with these distributors.  In fact, PROS has frequently purchased the remaining parts inventory of several manufacturers who have ceased production including, Vic, Marvel, Hoyt, Lindus, Ama and others so we may have the parts in our own inventory.  If we do not have the part, you need, we will contact all of the distributors who did represent the now defunct brand to see if any of them have the part you require.  We are often very successful using this method.

Another method that can be used to located parts is to cross reference the original equipment manufacturers part number with the component manufacturer’s part number.  For example, Washex did not manufacture the electrical components on their machines but rather purchased these to include in assemblies they designed.  PROS Parts has a very large database of cross referenced parts so often when a customer requests a Washex part number, we can cross it to a manufacturer of component parts that may still make that component.  For Washex parts we have many cross references to Asco valves, Firestone air bags, Advance Automation air cylinders, Eaton, Honeywell, Rexroth and many bearing manufacturers to name a few.

It is not uncommon for the component manufacturer to either no longer be in business or no longer making the component you need.  In this case we turn to sites across the internet that specialize in liquidation of overstock inventory and in many cases we can find the components here.

Custom fabrication is another route to access out of production parts.  PROS has a very robust program of manufacturing specialized parts like heat exchangers to the exact specifications of the original equipment manufacturer.  We have a large library of blueprints and if we do not have a blueprint, we will create one from a sample provided by the customer.

Reverse engineering is a process where we determine the specifications of the original component from historical data and locate a source for the component from a different manufacturer who makes a product that matches the specifications of the original component.  Our staff of engineers is highly competent in this area.

Rarely, the only option might be to repair or remanufacturer the old component.  We can either do this for you using our network of qualified repair facilities or recommend a facility near you to take care of repairing your component.

When searching for replacement parts, it is very important to make sure the part you are using is a form, fit and function replacement.  If you are able to find a replacement, it can be a good idea to purchase more than one so that any future requirement might be on hand should the same part fail again or perhaps also fail on a different but similar model machine.  PROS Parts can be a valuable resource in your effort to keep older machines in operation until the decision is made to replace the machine.

About Barry Victor

Barry founded PROS Parts in the spring of 1988. Before starting PROS, Barry worked in the sales and engineering departments of Vic Manufacturing, one of the largest manufacturers of dry cleaning equipment in the U.S. At Vic, Barry launched a parts sales division that supported dry cleaning equipment imported from Italy and Germany. In its early years, PROS manufactured dry cleaning machinery and then evolved into an industrial and commercial laundry equipment and dry cleaning operations parts supplier. Barry lives in Eden Prairie, MN with his wife. He has two sons, a step son, a step daughter and his dog, Sora. 
Barry can be reached at 763-231-7379 or barryv@prosparts.com.




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