Quite often machines run in multiple-shift operation for two to three decades, and have processed millions of workpieces when they finally become focussed by production or maintenance managers. A retrofit offers a worthwhile alternative to a new machine.
There are various reasons why managers turn their attention to machines that are at the end of their life cycle (fig.1):
Some feel they are outdated and unsightly, others focus on the facts and notice that these machines are lagging behind today’s machining times resulting in increasing time and money expenditures.
Worst case, it is no longer possible to find qualified personnel or suitable spare and wear parts to keep them operational.
The cost-benefit issue is a crucial question when considering selling a machine. The same applies if said machine can still be used for supplying spare parts.
It should be considered if the previous options are the only ones for a machine that has been running reliably to date? KAPP NILES offers an alternative in case the current monetary situation does not allow
a new investment.
KAPP NILES corporate group has recognised the production problem in handling older machines and thus offers specialization on retrofit modernisation measures.
At the beginning customers raised the question whether this is the right approach since the machine tool builder has the world’s largest product portfolio in the field of gear and profile grinding machines and covers all customer requirements. Though, the advantages cannot yet be dismissed.
The newly installed hardware and software are state-of-the-art, which means restoring and often even increasing precision and performance.
State-of-the-art control system components enable cycle time reductions in the machining process and reduce the maintenance cost.
The software is graphically processed and thereby facilitates the operation; moreover, additional functions are offered that considerably speed up the editing and the input of grinding programmes.
Additionally, due to its upgraded control system and installed interfaces, the retrofit machine is now ready for the “challenge” of industry 4.0. Thus, every retrofit machine comes with the latest remote maintenance technology.
The most important electronic components of the old machine are no longer available today and remaining stocks are gradually declining.
Hence, the customer receives a material availability of at least ten years in addition to a new warranty for newly installed spare and wear parts with their retrofit.
A glance at safety standards of older machines shows that these do not comply with any current guidelines. Therefore, the safety concept on the newly installed (electronic) drive and control system is adjusted to the highest degree.
Reaction times shrink to a minimum, providing machine protection and in particular reducing personal injuries significantly.
If a retrofit is being carried out, the machine must be fully integrated into each existing production process – visually and technically. In other words, the space requirements for a machine overhaul should not be altered significantly, as the machine is removed from an existing production line, modernized and then reinstalled in its original position. Due to the new electrical cabinet technology, the set-up area of the entire equipment can be also reduced, creating additional surface area. Finally, the optical processing as well as the positioning of all functional areas (hydraulic, pneumatic and lubrication) make the machine shine in the new KAPP NILES look (fig. 2).
A retrofit uses the solid construction work of “good old mechanical engineering”. Components and assemblies that no longer meet today’s quality requirements but are still acceptable from a mechanical point of view are used as the basis for this modernisation. They are overhauled and then reinserted into the machine. In addition to considerable cost savings compared to a new machine, this approach also offers the advantage that the customer’s existing inventories can be used. Irreparably damaged or economically useless mechanical parts are replaced by new and more efficient ones. The beds made of cast iron have long been set up and have extremely robust hydrostatic guide rails, which are reprocessed. This gives the machine its original precision and stability in the machining process. However, these measures do not necessarily have to be carried out on your own machines, even if this would undoubtedly extend their lifespan. KAPP NILES already has used machines enabling a retrofit being carried out within four weeks by simply exchanging machines.
This step offers further high savings potential for the customer and should therefore be examined as part of this modernization measure.
Specific solutions based on the current product line are and will continue to be the core business of KAPP NILES as they individually address customer requirements with a broad range of machining processes.
Also, the company’s after-sales area is a flexible one, allowing the company to react to customer requirements for every retrofit.
Currently, KAPP NILES overhauls four to five machines annually with increasing frequency, thus offering customers a cost-efficient alternative to a new machine of comparable quality.
Since retrofit is regarded as a maintenance and modernization measure and is not subject to budget for new machines, our experience suggests investment proposals can be implemented more successfully.
In the best case, these expenditures can even be amortized within a year.
Initial experience shows that these benefits should not be underestimated. From an economic point of view, they were at times the crucial reasons why customers have opted for a retrofit in the past.
All required work is performed either in-house, (including dismantling, transport and re- installation) or on-site at the customer’s premises.
This special service from KAPP NILES makes customer machines fit for the second stage of their life cycle.