New CNC Grinders Are Expensive

Lester Machine Company is a growing tool and die shop in middle Tennessee that has outgrown the capacity of their Kellenberger they run every day. They needed another CNC grinder but were concerned about the costly investment of a new CNC grinder and the time it would take to pay off. Gary, a machinist on staff, began investigating what it would look like to purchase a used, manual machine and upgrade it to a CNC. With MachMotion’s assistance, Gary successfully upgraded his machine and uses their universal CNC grinder every day.

Retrofitting Is A Quick, Cost Effective Choice

Gary found MachMotion online (Grinder Retrofit) and was confident he could indeed retrofit a manual machine with a MachMotion control for far less than the purchase of a brand new CNC grinder. Gary identified a mid-50’s Brown & Sharpe Model No. 2 that they were able to purchase for a scrap price. He installed and mounted the ball screws, eliminating the need for hydraulics by using servo motors, and installed a MachMotion CNC grinder control. All of these modifications took about three months (a standard control retrofit can be completed in less than two weeks).

Lester’s Machine Company has a Kellenberger that runs day in and day out. Gary stated that, “It had gotten to the point we needed an additional CNC grinder because we had more work than we could produce off the one machine.”

LMC was concerned about buying a brand new CNC grinder machine, since it would take years to pay off and was a financial risk.

What were you looking for? “We needed a more affordable universal grinder for production work that had the accuracy and reliability of a CNC.”

Why convert your CNC machine? “The mere fact that CNC grinders are so much easier to do forms and angles as opposed to manually dressing forms and wheels on a conventional grinder. On a CNC you program it to do what you need it to with ease. It’s a more accurate method and time saver especially with today’s tooling.”

What’s different from today’s grinding and 20 years ago? “Today’s products have become so much more intricate and demand complex form work that goes into the components they are putting into dies nowadays.”

Gary went on to tell us that, “A job shop is at a disadvantage without some type of CNC grinder. The price of a new machine can cost in the excess of ten times more than a rebuild and retrofit. After a complete rebuild including scraping the guideways to get the geometry perfect, adding screws and a control unit, you will have a machine that is just as accurate as a brand new CNC grinder but at a tenth the price.”

Precision Without The Cost

The MachMotion grinder control is designed to match the G-code style of the Kellenberger and Studer grinder controls. You don’t have to write a lot of Gcode to run a program. Operator can type in as little as 3 lines of gcode compared to program which could be pages of gcode.” This made an easy transition for operators to the new control. Gary stated, “We have been running the MachMotion grinder retrofit for a year with no down time. We can run this machine lights out. With MachMotion, we got the precision we required without the cost.