1. What is the difference between a machine tool retrofit, rebuild and re-manufacture ?

Retrofit

Retrofitting refers to the addition of new technology or features to older systems, and it helps in improving power plant efficiency / increasing output / reducing emissions.

The production of retrofit parts is necessary in manufacturing when the design of a large assembly is changed or revised. If, after the changes have been implemented, a customer (with an old version of the product) wishes to purchase a replacement part then retrofit parts and assembling techniques will have to be used so that the revised parts will fit suitably onto the older assembly.

At a minimum, a retrofit consists of replacing the machine's control. Retrofits are usually done at the customer's location, thereby saving downtime and transportation cost. Many of the following components are usually replaced or added;

  • Axes servomotors and servo drives.
  • Spindle motor and / or spindle drive.
  • New electrical cabinet.
  • Replacement of limit switches.
  • Re-wire of the machine tool.
  • New feedback devices such as glass scales.

Rebuild

A CNC machine tool rebuild usually consists of a retrofit and some mechanical work, but not a complete re-manufacture. Repairing or replacing ballscrews is common. Depending on the extent of work required, rebuilds might be done at the customer's location or offsite at a rebuilder’s facility.

Re-manufacture

A machine re-manufacture includes a control retrofit as well as all work required to return the machine to OEM specification or better. This usually involves stripping the machine down to castings, repainting the machine and replacing all bearings, as well as rebuilding ball screws, hydraulics, lubrication and coolant systems. Re-manufacturing is almost always done offsite and usually requires 3-6 months downtime.

Accessories

To further increase a machine tool's productivity, CONTROLTEK AUTOMATIONS often installs additional accessories during a retrofit, rebuild or re-manufacture. These can include additional axes to control, rotary tables, & lasers for tool setting, part probes, or other machine tool accessories to further increase the machine's capability.

2. Can I install the retrofit package myself?

Yes, if you have experienced personnel in machine wiring and controls. We will usually send an engineer to work with your installers to complete the start-up & debug phase. Keep in mind that many companies’ maintenance departments are understaffed and therefore the retrofit installation may take substantially longer.

3. What are the benefits of retrofitting a machine tool?

Benefits that can be realized include but are not limited to :

  • Increased uptime - reliability
  • Increased production capacity
  • Decreased repair costs
  • Shorter cycle times
  • Reduced scrap
  • Increased employee confidence
  • By retrofitting your machine tools with new controls, motors, drives or machine-enhancing accessories such as probes, rotary tables or specialized software, you can achieve improved productivity.
4. What is important when choosing a brand of control for a machine tool retrofit ?

Reliability

FANUC controls are the most reliable controls on the market. Reliability equates to machine up time which equates to the all-important “on time product delivery”. Don’t choose a control where reliability is questionable.

Support & replacement parts availability

No control will run forever, so when they do quit, how quickly can the problem be found and how quickly can parts be obtained? Since FANUC is the number one selling control in the world, there are more companies that support these controls than any other control. At CONTROLTEK AUTOMATIONS, we always have engineers ready to assist our customers and if parts are needed we can usually ship a part within hours, either from our vast FANUC stock or from one of our many other part suppliers.

Power and features

Will the control perform the job you intended it to do without your personnel having to jump through hoops? Is the control easy to use? Does it have the features that you may need in the future? FANUC controls are the most powerful in the world with capabilities that include different types of offsets, high-speed machining, large quantities of memory and hundreds of additional features.

Flexibility

Will the control you purchase today integrate to accessories you may buy tomorrow? We are constantly approached by customers who want their relatively new, non-FANUC controls, to be updated with touch probes, tool setting lasers, rotary tables or connected to various plant systems. Unfortunately many of these controls are either not capable of being upgraded or their manufacturer is not interested in supporting updates to these controls. Many control manufacturers have the attitude that “what you bought is what you get”.

CONTROLTEK AUTOMATIONS has been upgrading FANUC controls for more than 25 years with all types of accessories and software.

Standardization

Many companies wisely choose to standardize on one brand of machine control whenever possible. This minimizes operator, programmer and maintenance training which allows them to concentrate their efforts on one control type, thereby becoming more proficient and achieving better productivity. Since FANUC controls are so widely offered on various machine tools standardizing on FANUC controls is easier than most other controls.

5. How long has the company been in business?

CONTROLTEK AUTOMATIONS has been providing FANUC retrofits for more than 12 years, and we observe increase in Clientele.