Considerations when remanufacturing machine tools

A CNC retrofit is the process of replacing the CNC, servo and spindle systems on an otherwise mechanically sound machine tool to extend its useful life. Rebuilding and remanufacturing typically include a CNC retrofit. The anticipated benefits include a lower cost investment than purchasing a new machine and an improvement in uptime and availability. A retrofit, rebuild or remanufacture will cost somewhere between 1/3 to 2/3 the cost of purchasing a new machine, and reduce or eliminate the additional costs of any new tooling requirements, transportation and rigging, modifications or replacement of special foundations, modification of part programs and processes, and the associated training for the operators and maintenance personnel.

Key considerations before implementing a CNC retrofit project

  • Performance - a significant portion of the benefits will actually be delivered by upgrading the servo and spindle system to a high-speed, digital interface.
  • Energy savings - machine electricity costs can be reduced by as much as 50 percent, easily justifying the investment in the new servo and spindle drive technology during a retrofit.
  • Improved mean-timebetween-failures - CNCs are much more reliable today than those that were produced just a few decades ago.
  • Improved mean-timeto-repair - there is even more of an opportunity to improve uptime by focusing on the time it takes to recover from a failure.
  • Data accessibility and customization - manufacturers have determined that they need robust, high-speed communications and the ability to create custom screens for specialized processes.
  • Improved support - technical and training support may be limited on your older CNC.
  • Standardization - many machining operations use a wide range of machine types for a variety of applications including turning, machining, grinding, gear cutting, punching, laser cutting and other specialized applications.

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