To determine ROI, shop managers need to begin from literally the ground up. When purchasing a machine, take a look at what lies underneath the sheet metal, and ask yourself the questions found in ROI JUSTIFICATION GUIDE: PART 2. These are questions shop owners should ask their machine tool builder as they affect the overall strength and rigidity supporting the machine’s and enable the machine to run at full capacity.
A well-built machine SHOULD run at peak performance for years, saving a business costly expenses attributed to downtime, repairs and the cost of new equipment, while consistently turning out quality parts and reducing material waste. A machine supported by a solid bed and column sustains part integrity and precision performance, increasing the life expectancy of a machine’s moving parts. Ideally, shop floor managers should only invest in high mass machine tools engineered to withstand high cutting forces and high feed acceleration/deceleration inertial forces. Be sure to inquire about the metal composition of your bed and column, as denser materials with a low center of gravity provide better structural rigidity that minimizes vibration to an absolute minimum - making high-speed axial feeds possible. Machine “castings” that are fabricated weldments are prone to flexing under stress and put long-term accuracy at risk. Be sure to inquire as to who supplies the casting, where the metal is coming from, and what its properties are for thermal stability and machining dynamics.
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Read the next section below: Sub-component Quality