Before we get into the top advantages of CNC retrofitting and reconditioning, let’s understand what they actually mean!
What is CNC Retrofitting?
A CNC retrofitting or reconditioning is a method to upgrade your CNC machine, empowering it with better performance and productivity. It includes retrofitting CNC machine components like the CNC System, axes motor and drivers, the spindle motor and drives, associated wiring, and related electromechanical components.
CNC retrofitting is different from rebuilding and remanufacturing since the former does not repair any major parts or machine mechanical dynamics. Machines wear and tear due to consistent use. A CNC retrofit ensures the health of CNC machine parts at an affordable price.
On the contrary, a CNC retrofit must never be confused with CNC conversion, which involves converting a manual machine into a CNC one. That said, CNC retrofitting is a low-cost solution, improving the overall performance of old machine tools. However CNC Conversion is also possible though it needs major changes in mechanical dynamics in the contrary.
In CNC retrofitting, most of the work is done at the machine site, avoiding costly machine rigging and transportation costs, minimizing the out of commission time of a machine. On the other hand, CNC rebuilding includes the repair or replacement of some worn mechanical component like the ball screws, lubrication pumps, wiring, safety interlocks, hoses, guards, and belts.
Why should you trust CNC retrofitting?
CNC came into existence almost 20 to 30 years ago as analog controls and since then has been the spindle of the entire manufacturing industry. Modern CNCs improve control on the axes through digital versus past analog control of the drivers, servos, motors, and wiring. More so, its high-speed machining functions improve productivity and cycle times by up to 50%. As of now, there are 5-axis workflows as efficient as the 3-axis ones, thanks to the improved software features like tool centre point control and 3D workpiece error correction. Though concept of CNC started in approx. 1940 , it started as NC control later on get advanced to CNC as the method of entering program turns efficient. Similar Advancements have happened in Servo motors as well, stepper motors, DC Servo Motors to AC Servo Motors, if we take an example of 8NM Torque AC Servo Motor in present time we will see a humongous difference between the size , shape , torque vs speed characteristics. These days AC servo motors provide better efficiency, better current handling capabilities with a lesser footprint.
Retrofitting not only extends the lifecycle of a machine but elevates its uptime and reliability. A typical retrofit focuses on replacing the spindle and servo motors, aging I/O, controller, and amplifiers.
Modern CNC machining involves replacing the existing interface with tools that provide better graphics and custom screens to develop and train new operators.
In the age when technology advances every other minute, it is necessary to make the most of every machine application. And CNC retrofitting contemplates improved performance, reliability, and other innovative features. Not all machine tools are capable of CNC retrofitting, but small commodity machines can benefit from a scale-up in production and price. Since a retrofit is a one-time engineering charge, it is cheaper than buying new equipment. The large and expensive machines used in heavy construction, power generation, aerospace, and defense industries are perfect candidates for CNC retrofitting.
The Top Benefits of CNC Retrofitting
The following are other benefits of CNC retrofitting and reconditioning:
It increases reliability and betters performance
CNC retrofit is a serious business investment. The most significant advantages of it are increases reliability and better machine tool performance. Replacing the CNC with new machine tools and servos extends its usefulness by 40%. Moreover, since all the CNC components are user-produced, each part is replaceable by others with a required skillset, eliminating any secondary installation costs.
It saves energy and reduces setup times
When there is any machine tool failure, only part work gets completed. Therefore, it saves you from bearing any additional energy costs and waste. Moreover, CNC retrofitting and reconditioning also reduces the setup time as multiple advance offset taking methods have been implemented in new upgraded CNC systems, another unique feature of this process.
It reduces the downtime for operators
CNC retrofit also reduces downtime for operators, increasing production and integration of new machine tools. That means you can take charge of your old machine, add some new parts to it, clean and wire the old devices, and you’re good to go. Not only does it energize your old machines to perform better, but it saves money. CNC retrofitting and reconditioning requires minimal investment compared to buying a new one. Moreover, it is a feasible solution since the old machine can match all your expectations. Also, you can train your workforce for future machine maintenance. Upgrading your old CNC equipment establishes a new control over the machine with high accuracy and a high feed rate. It engages your CNC machines in a far superior repeatability prospect.
All in all, CNC retrofitting is a better option than replacing your machine!