Trying before you buy

~ Equipment hire and loan supports accurate, efficient material processing ~

“Science is about knowing; engineering is about doing,” said the American engineer, Henry Petroski. Yet, “doing” is sometimes a challenge for companies investing in new machinery that may carry high initial costs, integration challenges, production disruptions and more. But what if you could try new equipment before you buy it? Here, Stephen Harding, managing director at the material handling specialist Gough Engineering, explains how manufacturers can unlock new levels of efficiency by hiring industrial sieves and screening equipment.

Knowledge is rarely an issue for production managers of sophisticated engineering plants. They are experts of their own manufacturing needs, goals and challenges. However, putting this knowledge into action can run into obstacles, particularly in managing capital expenditures (CAPEX) while also striving for optimal operational performance.

Buying new machinery can pose several challenges. There is maybe a substantial financial commitment up front when purchasing new machinery. It can be difficult to predict the long-term returns of machinery — how well will the equipment integrate into the production line; how reliably will it run; and how well will the machinery perform again its time and cost key performance indicators (KPIs)? There are also questions of quality and flexibility — how will equipment adapt to industry changes? Choosing the right machinery demands thorough market research, technical evaluations, possible disruptions and potential training costs for upskilling staff.

How can manufacturers overcome or avoid such risks? One good way is through trials, assessing product behaviour to ensure the equipment is fit for purpose — Gough own’s test facility is equipped for this purpose.

Another solution is to hire, instead of buying the equipment. Hiring equipment serves as a confidence-building phase, allowing manufacturers to experience firsthand how — or whether — equipment can integrate into their operations and perform correctly. Let’s examine how hiring equipment can empower manufacturers to test, adapt and fine-tune their operations — and also reduce their initial investment burden.

Hiring equipment serves as a confidence-building phase, allowing manufacturers to assess the machinery in operation.


A wide range of industries benefit from equipment hire, from food processing to chemical production. Hiring equipment offers a flexible, cost-effective solution that aligns with operational demands — whether it’s for proof-of-concept trials or routine quality checks. But equipment hire is not simply about supplying a machine. Really, it’s about ensuring optimal performance for a specific application.

Take the example of industrial sieves and separators, which sift and separate particles of different sizes. The equipment plays a crucial role in ‘value adding’ material processing and manufacturing, ensuring product quality, consistency and compliance for material resale or production requirements.

But there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the equipment must be carefully specified for each production line’s requirements. Optimising the performance of industrial sieves and separators encompasses several design engineering considerations such as the aperture sizes, mesh types — including wire mesh or perforated plates — and machine weight settings.

This was demonstrated when Gough Engineering supported a prominent global food processing company that operates in a wide range of areas including agricultural processing, food ingredients and renewable energy. The customer needed to efficiently process and screen its raw materials within its own factory. This task was crucial for the manufacturer’s operations — but it was struggling to find an effective solution.

Gough’s Engineering’s extensive knowledge of material handling equipment has been honed through years of experience and thousands of successful projects. Our engineers recommended using a specialised Gough GBS 850 Batch Sieve, which the customer opted to hire rather than buy. The key hurdle was integrating the machine into the customer’s existing vacuum conveying system. We worked closely with the customer to provide flexible connectors and troubleshoot any integration issues.

Gough Engineering’s support continued during the rental period. A proactive troubleshooting approach ensures that any challenges are swiftly addressed. This may include fine-tuning machine settings, recommending modifications or providing additional components — all to maximise the benefits of equipment hire.

In the end, the machine’s performance exceeded expectations, significantly improving material handling on the customer’s shop floor. This success prompted it to swiftly purchase the machine, highlighting the effectiveness of hire and loan.

The success of a hired Gough GBS 850 Batch Sieve prompted a Gough Engineering customer to eventually buy the equipment.

Quality checking

Another noteworthy example involves one of the UK’s largest food manufacturers. The company opted to hire a Gough GV550 Batch Sieve, which went on to play a crucial role in quality checking their food products. The nine-week hire period not only allowed the customer to validate the system’s effectiveness but also synchronise it with its production lead times, showing the equipment could integrate seamlessly into a manufacturer’s operations.

Financial benefits come to the fore with equipment hire. The low initial costs associated with hiring, enable manufacturers to thoroughly test and validate machinery before committing to a capital investment. This safeguards against costly mistakes and manufacturers can make informed decisions by ‘trying before they buy’. Through hire and loan services, manufacturers can, to reference Henry Petroski, combine “knowing” with “doing” to propel their operations towards a brighter and more efficient future.

To find out our more about Gough Engineering’s sieving and screen equipment hire, visit its website.