ANATOMY OF A CNC RETROFIT
If you are on this page, chances are that you have a machine tool that has an old, unreliable control. Or perhaps, you would like to be able to use the newest advances in CNC retrofit technology to increase your productivity, improve reliability, and profitability, all while leveraging your investment in your existing machine tools. If that is the case, a CNC retrofit of your existing machine controls might be the new machine alternative that you are looking for.
The first question that you might ask is: “Is my machine a good retrofit candidate?” There are many factors that must be considered when determining if a particular machine is suitable for a CNC retrofit. Typically, ideal retrofit candidates are medium sized and larger CNC controlled machines with “good bones”. This means that the castings and mechanical, and auxiliary systems are in good shape, or can be made so, with minimal resources. However, IAI also partners with other companies to provide light mechanical retrofits to complete rebuilds when necessary. Other good CNC retrofit candidates are unique, custom, or purpose built machines of any size, which would be difficult to replace with new, off the shelf machines.
Every retrofit is unique. IAI is an authorized integrator for both Siemens and Fanuc CNC controls, so we know how to select the best control for your application. IAI typically performs most of its retrofits on the customers’ floor, without the need to remove the machine from their facility. Typically, new electrical panels or sub plates are constructed off-site and installed as drop in replacements to reduce machine down time. This greatly decreases the required downtime for the CNC retrofit from months, to weeks. This also alleviates the costs to rig and transport the machine to a separate facility for rework. All of this means a more cost effective CNC retrofit solution and therefore, more value for the customer.
LEARN ABOUT OUR RECENT CNC RETROFITS
CINCINNATI MILACRON U5 MILL RETROFITS
Bridge and Gantry 5-Axis Mills
Project name: Cincinnati Milacron U5
Industry: Custom Machining
Machine make and model: Cincinnati Milacron U5
Original control system: Acramatic and Siemens 840
Technology/Controls used: Siemens 840D SL and Sinamics S Servos
General project description: The customer had several U5’s, including 2 bridges and 2 gantrys. They had various types of controls, from the original Acramatic, to a Siemens 840D powerline that had been installed as a retrofit by a competitor. The customer wished to harmonize their controls to allow smooth transition for operators between machines. All 4 controls were replaced with state of the art 840D SL and Sinamics S servos.
Unique aspects of this project: The U5’s had multiple heads, including a straight, right angle and contouring. The customer wished to be able to swap all heads between all machines. A head configuration routine was created that would allow the head to be set up quickly as it traveled between machines. Also, when the contouring head was installed, full 5-axis machining was possible using Siemens Sinumerik TRAORI machining commands.
Additionally, the customer had a number of rotary tables of various sizes and manufacturers that they wished to be able to move seamlessly between machines. After determining the requirements for the various tables, a generic interface was developed that allowed any table to be plugged in. The configuration file for the table was then loaded into the control. Thus, any table can be used across multiple machine tools.
TURMAT DIAL MACHINE RETROFIT
Multi-station 12-Axis Dial Machine
Project name: Turmat
Machine make and model: Witzig & Frank-Martin (Now Thyssenkrupp) Turmat TU36
Original control system: Siemens
Technology/Controls used: Siemens 840D SL and Sinamics S Servos
General project description: This is a multi-station dial machine with 12 axes of servos motion. There are 6 stations of machining. The multiple pushbutton stations were replaced by Siemens machine control panels. The entire control panel was replaced in order to decrease the machine downtime for the retrofit. The existing plug connectors for field devices were duplicated in the new panel. This allowed all of the cabling to simply be plugged into the new control panel, saving time and reducing wiring errors.
TSUGAMI GA60 GRINDER RETROFIT
4-Axis OD Grinder
Project name: Tsugami Cylindrical Grinder Retrofit
Machine make and model: Tsugami GA60
Original control system: Mitsubishi CNC
Technology/Controls used: Fanuc 0i-TF and 4-Axes of Beta i Servos
General project description: The customer requested a retrofit of their grinder because the 25 year old controls and servos were becoming unreliable and unsupportable. A new control system utilizing a state of the art Fanuc 0i-TF control and 4 axes of Beta i servos was designed.
New sub plates were built in order to reduce the onsite downtime during the retrofit. The existing enclosure was retained because it was mounted to the machine. A new operator interface was also constructed that almost exactly copied the original, in layout, button types, and operation. The 4 axis of servo required various types of custom adapter plates and couplings to mount to the existing mechanics.
Unique aspects of this project: The customer has 20 of these machines and their operators and maintenance personnel were all proficient in their operation. The customer was adamant that the retrofit machines look and work as close to the originals as possible. This was done in order to minimize the retraining of the operators and maintenance personnel and to reduce confusion when moving between the old and new machines. The new Fanuc control had to be extensively reconfigured in order to meet these requirements. The operator control panel design utilized a photoetched placard and manual pushbutton operators, instead of a usual Fanuc machine control panel. The result being that when the machines went into production, no operator retraining was required.
KRAMATORSK LATHE RETROFIT
4-Axis Twin Turret Lathe
Project name: Kramatorsk Lathe Retrofit
Industry: Power Generation
Machine make and model: Kramatorsk 1A680 Lathe
Original control system: Dual Fanuc 0
Technology/Controls used: Siemens 840D SL and 4-Axes of Sinamics S Servos
General project description: The customer repairs turbines for power generation and acquired a used lathe from Korea to handle large turbine assemblies. The lathe was missing components and non-functional when it arrived and reassembled, so a retrofit was the only solution. The original system had two Fanuc 0 CNC systems to control the two compound slides. These were replaced with a single Siemens 840D SL control with a separate operator station for each turret. The Fanuc servos were replaced with Simotics 1FT7 Servo motors and a Sinamics S120 drive system. The existing 400A DC spindle drive and motor were retained because of the cost of replacement. Two operator stations were provided, one on each compound slide.
Unique aspects of this project: The customer refurbishes turbines for electrical power generation, many of which are very large. Therefore, for some of their operations, an extremely large lathe was required. The customer found such a used lathe in South Korea. This lathe has a 60’ bed, 110” swing, and dual compound slides. This lathe was of Russian manufacture, and at some time was retrofit with dual Fanuc 0 controls while it was in China. The documentation was incomplete at best, and at many times completely non-existent. Also, during transit to the US, the backup batteries for the control died, along with any hope of resurrecting the machine’s existing control system. Much of the system had to be reverse engineered, including the electrical, hydraulic, and spindle lubrication systems.
TOSHULIN MILL-TURN RETROFITS
3-Axis 2-Spindle Mill-Turn Lathes
Project name: Toshulin Mill-Turn Retrofits
Industry: Custom Machining
Machine make and model: Toshulin SKIQ 16 and others
Original control system: Various
Technology/Controls used: Siemens 840D SL, 3-Axes of Sinamics S120 Servo, 1 Axes of Sinamics S120 Spindle and 1 Simoreg DC spindle drive
General project description: The customer had several Tos Hulin mill-turn machines of various types that they desired to be retrofitted. These retrofits occurred over the course of several years. The machines were retrofitted with Siemens 840D SL controls and Sinamics 120S servo drives and 1FT6 servo motors. The milling spindle motors were replaced with Siemens 1PH7 spindle motors, while the DC table motor was retained and powered by a new Siemens Simoreg DC drive.
Unique aspects of this project: These machines had an adjustable cross rail to be able to machine parts of various heights, without having a longer, less rigid, ram assembly. The machine needed to automatically compensate for the various positions of the rail. Our system used the position information from the rail to offset the machining parameters according to the current cross rail position. No additional part programming was required to perform this compensation and it happens seamlessly in the background.
CINCINNATI MILACRON 10HC MILL RETROFITS
Project name: Cincinnati 10HC Mill Retrofits
Industry: Custom Machining
Machine make and model: Cincinnati Milacron 10HC
Original control system: Acramatic
Technology/Controls used: Siemens 840D SL and 4-Axes of Sinamics S120 Servos, 1 Sinamics S120 Spindle
General project description: The customer had several 10HC’s that they wanted retrofitted. They had decided to standardize controls across the plant on the Siemens 840D SL platform. The system was retrofitted on the customer’s site, with new subplates, populated and wired offsite, to reduce machine downtime. This allowed the retrofit to happen without the need to remove the machine to a separate facility. The machines were also completely rewired to eliminate issues with the old and brittle wiring, and plugs.
Another customers 10HC has been retrofitted with a Fanuc 0i-MD and 3-Axes of Alpha i-S Servo Drives.
Unique aspects of this project: The entire machine was rewired during the retrofit to eliminate problems with plug connectors and old brittle wiring. The operator of the 10HC had 50 years of employment with the customer when we retrofit his machine. He was adamant that he was going to retire as opposed to learning a new control. It is a testament to the user friendliness of the Siemens 840D SL, that he was able to learn the new control and keep working for several more years on his retrofit machine.
WALDRICH COBURG CUSTOM MILL RETROFIT
7-Axis Custom Mill
Project name: Waldrich Coburg Custom Mill Retrofit
Industry: Industrial Manufacturing
Machine make and model: Waldrich Coburg Custom Machine
Original control system: Siemens 880M
Technology/Controls used: Siemens 840D Powerline and 7-Axes of 611 Servos
General project description: This machine is one of two custom machines built for the customers unique specifications. This machine mills long cylindrical stock to make feed screws for injection molding machines. The machine has 7 motion axes and a spindle for milling. These two machines are the workhorses for the facility. Since most of the company’s product is produced on these machines, the entire control enclosure was replaced to reduce machine downtime. The new control enclosure included plug connectors that matched the existing connectors on the field wiring to allow the field wiring to be easily and quickly connected to the main panel.
Unique aspects of this project: This machine mills long small diameter cylindrical stock to make the feed screws. This means that the stock must be supported by two steady rests to prevent it from deflecting as it is milled. IAI configured these steady rests automatically follow the Y-axis to provide the optimum support for the stock in the area that it is being milled. No additional part programming on the part of the customer is required for the steady rests to function.
PROGRESSIVE WELDER RETROFIT
Project name: Progressive Welder Retrofit
Machine make and model: Progressive Custom Welder
Original control system: Allen Bradley 8200
Technology/Controls used: Fanuc 35i and 3-Axes of Beta i Servos
General project description: This machine was custom made in the late 80’s as a positioner system for hot upset welding of turbine blades. IAI was contacted to upgrade the original Allen Bradley 8200 control with a Fanuc CNC control. The 8200 control was housed in a very large 3 bay enclosure, which was overkill for the new control. Therefore, a new control enclosure was designed and built to house the new control hardware. Plug connectors for all connections to the machine were built into the enclosure to facilitate future machine moves. The entire machine was rewired by onsite trades and the new Fanuc control was married to a new state of the art Weld Computer weld controller.
We’ve made quite a name for ourselves in the CNC retrofit field. Take a look at the articles below that feature our company.
MODERN MACHINE SHOP: RETROFITS DONE RIGHT
April 16, 2013
MOTIONWORLD IMTS 2012: RETROFITTING FOR SUCCESS
MODERN MACHINE SHOP: "CNC RETROFIT" OFTEN MEANS MORE
April 25, 2013