Several legacy CNCs were developed decades ago and relied on analog controls.
Modern CNCs deliver improved control via digitization of the system; this is especially noticeable when looking at past analog drive/servo/motor controls. Today’s CNCs also allow for high-speed machining and manufacturing functions that greatly increase cycle times. However, does this mean that your old machines all need to be replaced in favor of new ones?
Opting to retrofit a legacy CNC with a better control system will extend the lifecycle of the machine, increase uptime, and improve reliability. A typical CNC retrofit kit concentrates on replacing the aging controller, servo motors, spindle motors, I/O, and amplifiers. Choosing to replace your current CNC vs. a CNC retrofit ultimately boils down to reducing costs, improving employee productivity, and better servicing clientele.
A CNC retrofit vs. replacing a mill or lathe machine hinges on the value of the legacy frame. Older CNC machines were manufactured with “strong iron,” making the replacement of frames not always cost-effective. Money is frequently saved by opting for a retrofit kit and reusing existing foundations, fixtures, and tooling.
Retrofitting a CNC mill or lathe delivers a shorter ROI timeframe compared to purchasing a new one. When comparing a CNC retrofit vs. replacement, the cost to execute is typically much lower for the former. Long-term cost depreciation of assets is something to consider when looking to “write off” assets from the books. A retrofit revitalizes existing mills, lathes, and more with new controls, allowing for a longer service life while not brutalizing your company’s bottom line.
Meantime between failures (MTBF) is much higher for modern CNCs. Long-term solutions that are reliable, cost-effective, and efficient are supplied by software and hardware OEMs that take advantage of advancements in solid-state technologies. Advanced maintenance and operator screens provide graphic representations of faults and show punctual, practical solutions to address them. More technicians in the workforce today support modern, digital CNC controllers vs. analog systems. This is because today’s digital systems are easier to debug and troubleshoot.
The safety-rated CNCs of today offer improved safety ratings for machine centers thanks to integrating I/O into the programming. The reduction of relying on external hardware like safety/smart relays allows for better troubleshooting visibility. “Smart relays” for legacy mills and lathes have portals that are difficult to view or are non-existent in the first place, making debugging and troubleshooting a painful experience.
A modern safety-rated CNC provides access to an easy-to-understand troubleshooting guide that keeps employees safe and your machines running as much as possible. Fablink highly recommends that a safety risk assessment is professionally conducted when upgrading your CNC controls to mitigate risks.
No more operating within a black box. Fablink offers CNC retrofit kits for lathes, mills, and more that allow you a better understanding, maintenance, and control over your machines. Our goal is to provide clients with the best CNC retrofit kits on the market that results in a properly documented code of control, improving overall productivity. If you’re ready to step into the modern CNC world while saving money by bringing along the strengths of your legacy machines, contact Fablink today via phone or email to learn more!