CNC machining job shops are multi-stage process operations where there is potential for improvement at each stage. Most low to mid-volume run production machine shops struggle in achieving their share of the 5-10% maximum profit margins typically realized on most jobs. If a machine is down for any significant amount of time, you’ve cut into your production output, increased the cycle time, and you’re losing money. Therefore, if a machine is down, you need to move fast to get the machine back up and running.
To breathe new life into old CNC mills, or turning a mill into a CNC as a cost-effective alternative, SERVO Products Company (Eastlake, OH), a progressive designer and manufacturer of manual knee-type milling machine tools and accessories, recently introduced its Orion CNC Retrofit package for knee mills and lathes. The CNC Retrofit kits; 1000 M (Milling) and 1000 T (Turning), provide quality upgrades while saving the customer money over purchasing a new machining center.
The pre-configured retrofit package is virtually a“plug-and-play” solution that reduces vital machine downtime for almost any make or model of knee mill. It features a PLC control panel, VFD spindle speed control, true servo motors, ball screws, auto lube pump, and runs on single-phase power. End-users can add an optional LED Work Light for safety, wireless MPG pendant, power drawbar lockout solenoid, and dual-channel E-Stop for a complete milling machine package.
An ISO 9001: 2015 Certified company, Servo is also family-owned and manufacturers in the USA, with a focus on knee mill power feeds and precision drill presses for the medical, aerospace, jewelry industries.
With an eye for innovation, Servo Engineer, Garry Yaworski, came up with the CNC retrofit kit design to address the fact that there were several existing Anilam, Acu-Rite, and other controls in the field featuring obsolete analog systems and failing controls. This also applies to machining centers with failing controls. If an end-user has one of these systems, where support may be nonexistent, the Orion kit is a fast and easy upgrade that can have users up-and-running in hours, not days.
According to Yaworski, “The ball screws and brackets are already in place on these systems, so you’d just need a new control and motors. The idea was to supply an ‘octopus’ style control box, with all of the cables and attachment pieces, that the user could install on an existing knee mill in the shop. Preconfigured, you’d simply bolt it to the existing machine and connect all the motors. This system can also be used to update a CNC machining center.”
Servo’s Orion quickly turns a manual knee mill into a three or 4-axis CNC and is adaptable to multiple manufacturers. Packaged as a three-axis kit for milling machines, it is also easily upgradeable for a fourth axis. Importantly, the third axis can drive the knee so you have a full 16-in. of travel up/down.
Notably, the retrofit system is as simple as installing power feeds, with the servo motors built in — enabling easy installation — typically within a day. The 400W true servo motors provide up to 300 in/lbs of torque and a maximum rapid travel speed of 105 IPM. Servo also offers the Elrod belt-and-pulley style systems; both systems operate on 208-240V single-phase power, which is suitable for small-to-mid sizes job/home shops that don’t have three-phase power.
Ultimately, for today’s machining job shop sector, being better and faster keeps costs lower while raising the bar on potential profits. The ability to avoid downtime by quickly adopting new machine tool technologies like Servo’s Orion Retrofit Kit, becomes paramount to the overall success equation.