Mekel Scanner Production
is Right on Time
First the bad news.
“Remember how you couldn’t get toilet paper a year ago? It is the same with microchips right now.”
Now the good news.
“Our production for this year is on track and we’re still working on standard delivery time – in some cases, one day.”
Both quotes are attributed to Crowley’s U.S. director of manufacturing, electrical engineer Jeff Helm, as he responds to questions about the worldwide shortage of manufacturing parts and its effect on Crowley’s Mekel Technology scanner line. For now, Mekel’s microfiche and microfilm scanners are in stock and delivering on time.
Scare or Scarcity?
A quick Google search of “manufacturing parts shortages” results in the following headlines over the last five months, all from notable news networks and publications:
“How the World Ran Out of Everything”
“From chips to seating foam to plastics, parts shortages continue”
“Parts shortage will slow production at all Toyota operations”
“Parts Shortages Show Cracks in OEM Purchasing”
As Helm describes it in simple lay terms (recognizing that the issue is more complex), “When the pandemic hit, parts manufacturers cut production back for two reasons – the assumption that the demand would lessen while the world sat at home and the lack of available manpower due to COVID restrictions, which differed from state to state and country to country.” In actuality, the demand for electronic parts – such as the chips used in phones, computers, cars and yes, scanners – increased.
And, as with the aforementioned toilet paper, the hoarding began, driving inventory to new lows and prices to new highs.
So how has Crowley/Mekel Technology managed to stay largely unaffected?
“While we’re constantly tweaking the scan features and software capabilities to improve image quality and production efficiency,” notes Matthew McCabe, Crowley’s vice president of sales and marketing, “the Mekel scanner core has proved to be somewhat future proof, needing very little modification over the years to produce excellent images from even the most difficult microfilm. Thus, we’ve been able to consistently carry a strong parts backlog.” That backlog has come in handy and will now carry the brand through the end of 2021 and into the new year.
Notes Helm, who has 40+ years with Mekel Technology, “There’s never been supply issues like this in my career. It’s an ugly situation.” To combat the impending shortages, Crowley’s team of engineers is hard at work creating adaptations and finding new sources. “It’s not reasonable to expect that we’ll be fully immune to the chip shortage. I expect that we’ll experience the delays and price hikes in 2022 that most manufacturers are currently facing, but for now, it’s business as usual.”
“Business as usual” also appears to still be the norm for our partners at Zeutschel (overhead and cultural heritage scanners), InoTec (high-speed, high-volume document scanners), Avision (desktop, departmental and production paper scanners) and Qidenus (V-shaped book scanners).
Need a Boost(er)?
If you’ve got microform digitization projects in your future, plan now to avoid unnecessary scanner shortages, delivery delays and price increases. Call your Crowley representative at (240) 215-0224 or request a quote today.
Need a second option? Crowley’s well-respected digitization services team can complete any still media digitization project on time and on budget, negating the worry of equipment requirements. The team utilizes a full complement of Mekel Technology, Wicks and Wilson, Zeutschel, InoTec and other brand scanners to deliver the highest quality images available on projects of any scope or size. Request a services quote here.
Cheri Baker, Crowley’s former Director of Communications, has retired but retains her love for writing and all things Crowley. With a career that spans newspaper, agency and corporate communications, her goal remains to dig behind the scenes and tell the story - whatever it may be. Find Cheri Baker on LinkedIn+