As you all know, machining centers are essential to manufacturing, providing precision, speed, and consistency in creating critical parts and components. However, with the increasing demand for high-quality products and the need to reduce costs, enhancing the performance of these centers is becoming increasingly important. Instead of buying new equipment, we can enhance the efficiency of the existing CNC machine shop equipment by integrating automation and modern machine shop parts.
3 Ways to Enhance the Performance of CNC Shop Machining Centers:
1.Upgrading the spindle
Increasing the power and speeds of your spindle motor is an easy way to get more performance out of your existing setup. You can also consider replacing the spindle with a higher-quality model better suited for specific processes such as grinding or milling.
It’s typically best to research compatible models beforehand to find one that meets your production requirements and workflow. Finally, pay attention to drive maintenance and repair parts to ensure the spindle moves smoothly and efficiently through its tasks. By taking these steps, you can help maximize the quality of each product you produce.
2.Upgrading the tool changer and increasing tool storage
Upgrading any machine’s tool changer is essential to reduce time and increase efficiency.
To do so, first, measure the existing tool changer’s size and check if it is compatible with the increased tool capacity you intend to add. After ensuring compatibility, unscrew the current tool changer and replace it with thinner magazine carriers for increased storage.
The new installation should also come without welding or casting, which would simplify the installation. Additionally, to gain more tool storage increase from an existing tool changer, you need to check if thin plugs are connected between each side of the box housing.
If there are such plugs, then they need to be replaced with a dual-channel magazine carrier insert with larger widths. This will give you more outlets and more storage within your tool changer system. Making these changes will go a long way towards streamlining your work output and reducing overall overhead costs associated with changing tools on machines with high accuracy requirements.
3. Introducing automation
In order to begin with automation, evaluate the current setup – identify components that can provide better readings and data. This could include sensors, lasers, or cameras for collecting data about the machining process. Additionally, look into software solutions that can effectively enhance data processing and control tasks with minimal human intervention. Integrating ERP or MRP systems into the setup can help you better manage your production processes and monitor for potential errors.
Properly configuring automation to existing machining centers requires forming an understanding of how complex components need to integrate with each other. Implementing automation in existing machining centers is a comprehensive task and should be done step by step once the planning phase is complete.
Cost and Investment Considerations:
It’s important to consider the cost and investment involved in each option, along with the expected ROI and payback period. The cost and investment for upgrading machining centers may vary depending on the specific requirements and desired outcome.
When it comes to cost-effectiveness for CNC machine shop managers and engineers, the best approach is to evaluate the cost of frequent upgrades versus purchasing new equipment. Costs are drastically reduced by opting for upgrade solutions instead of completely replacing existing components. Upgrading can be a more practical and economic challenge.
Besides, when investing in upgrades and replacements, it’s always wise to consider the ROI and payback periods. By carefully assessing the cost and investment involved in each upgrade option, you can make informed decisions that will maximize your machine shop’s potential.
Finally, financing is a viable option for the owners of CNC machine shops seeking additional funding to upgrade their machining centers. By obtaining financing, you can spread out the cost of the upgrades over a while, making it easier to manage the costs.
Case Study of VMC Machine Performance Enhancement
Research has been conducted on enhancing the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of the Vertical Milling Center (VMC) machine (Hardinge 600 II series).
Initially, they were facing the issue of low OEE of the VMC machine. Some of the major contributing factors included:
- High electricity consumption.
- Waste disposal.
- Work holding setup.
These were some of the major issues that had to be addressed in order to boost the OEE.
In order to resolve these issues, they implemented the following solutions:
- Identify the problems by the fishbone diagram method.
They overcome the high power consumption issue by replacing the conveyor setup with a pneumatic setup for cleaning bur – which occupies less space. Burrs were removed by using the push-and-flush coolant method. And due to the high force of coolant, the burrs were automatically transferred from the machining area to the collection area.
- They replaced the electric motor with a solar motor, and a vacuum cleaner was installed to clean the burr in the filter tank.
- The easy cleaning of burrs is carried out by replacing the double-layered mesh with a single-layered tray.
- An accumulator setup was installed to overcome the work-holding setup losses.
They performed all these enhancements in their VMC machine to improve its OEE, performance, and quality.
After the implementation of all of these solutions, they were able to increase the OEE from 49.8% to 77.6%. They also suggest that this method can also be implemented on similar FMS setups and HMC machines to boost their machine shop work efficiency.
Make sure to weigh every option and factor before deciding on how you want to enhance the performance of your CNC shop machining centers. After comparing the cost of upgrades and purchasing new machines, financial options and returns on investment, you can maximize the performance of your machines with the best solution. Once your machine centers are fully upgraded, they will be sure they are functioning at their highest capacity.