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CNC Machine purchase - Cutting costs and maintaining quality

  AXYZ Machinery

One of the leading suppliers of high-performance CNC routing, cutting and engraving systems, AXYZ Automation Group offers some useful guidelines for potential new owners. These will be particularly relevant during the current financial uncertainty and the need to exert greater control over capital investment in plant and machinery.

Given the somewhat volatile business climate prevailing at present, there will be an understandable temptation on the part of companies to opt for off-the-shelf lower cost standard solutions rather than fully customised ones that provide a guaranteed high performance capability with a correspondingly high return on investment (ROI) potential. This apparent initial financial saving will in fact lead ultimately to greater expenditure, due to a lower than promised machine performance, unreliable and possibly unqualified technical support and a noticeable difficulty in sourcing essential spare parts and accessories.

Customised CNC routing, cutting and engraving machines are now available (invariably through cost-saving trade-in discounted deals) in a wide range of sizes with literally thousands of different machine configurations to accommodate virtually any conceivable production requirement.

The following considerations will help ensure that the chosen CNC machine will always perform to its required standard and reliability.

Machine Tool Selection: Choosing the wrong machine tools with subsequent and inevitable tool failure could prove costly. Common causes include using a tool unsuited to the materials to be processed, using one that is well past its predicted lifespan leading to a sub-standard quality of finish, failure to use recommended coolants and lubricants and not changing tool-holding devices such as collets and cones within their designated timeframe.

Spare Parts and Accessories: Always check a machine supplier’s support network and verify its fast response capability on essential spare parts and accessories. Of equal importance, always choose a supplier with specially trained application engineers who are available for reliable online or telephone support to ensure that only the correct spare parts and accessories are being used for a given application.

Always use a supplier that can provide same-day or, at worst, next-day delivery of essential spare parts and accessories.

Machine Upgrade Capability: Always choose a CNC machine that is fully upgradeable to meet changing production requirements. Here, again, off-the-shelf alternative machines will have their limitations exposed. To maximise its potential, a CNC machine should be capable of seamless integration with evolving new technologies. It is therefore important to deal with a supplier who can retrofit and upgrade a machine without third-party involvement and all of the variables that these create.

Machine Expectations: Purchasing a CNC machine with more capacity than is necessary to meet existing and future anticipated production requirements is not cost-effective. Equally, selecting a machine that turns out to have a less than required capacity could prove even more so. It is always important for potential machine owners to seek expert advice on what the correct processing area of the machine should be, contingent upon on its predicted use.

Product Training:  It is important to always use a supplier that appreciates the need for quality product training and can offer bespoke training courses. These can be conducted at either the supplier’s fully equipped facility or, if geographically more convenient, at a customer’s own premises. Either option should involve highly skilled and technically informed application engineers.

In Conclusion: By following these simple guidelines, CNC machine owners will be able to ensure that the chosen solution will always perform to the required standard whilst avoiding the potentially damaging cost of ignoring these.

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