Siemens offers retrofit services for machine shops

  • March 18, 2009
  • News
March 18, 2009 - Siemens Energy & Automation announced an effort to further improve its service and support to the machine tool end-user community, by implementing its strongest initiative to date in the area of machine retrofits. This commitment proves the SE&A directive to become a more visible and viable retrofit partner to U.S. machine shops nationwide, who seek to improve their equipment performance and enhance their competitive position in their markets. Siemens is also ramping up its Preferred Solution Partner program, which will bring its CNC, motor and drive packages to the machine shop market by a national network of qualified retrofitters. While these organizations and integrators will be responsible for installation, the service, application engineering assistance and aftermarket support will be provided by Siemens, with all the warranty back-up end users expect from any machine tool market supplier. The Siemens Retrofit Business Development Manager, Tom Curfiss, a 35-year veteran of machine tool engineering, sales and retrofit work, will head up this group, based in the company’s facility in Lebanon, Ohio, near Cincinnati. Under this new initiative, Siemens is building relationships with a number of Preferred Solution Partners across the country. These companies have been selected for their market expertise, geographic territory coverage, machine tool line specialty or other factors that makes them the most viable adjuncts to the Siemens team. According to Curfiss, “When we determine the scope of the work needed, the proper partner will be selected. Generally, for smaller jobs, a local partner is best. On more complex or dedicated machine tool projects, where a certain level of expertise and perhaps greater manpower are required to properly affect the retrofit, we might look to a more regional or even one of our national partners in the program.” He continues, “There are two major reasons a shop decides to retrofit. The first is that the older controls and drives can no longer be serviced or are simply not able to run the machine in the most efficient manner, compared to newer technologies.” He notes the recent encoder technology advancements simply make machines run faster, with greater precision and resolution than older hardware, so that even if the older components can still get serviced, retrofitting makes functional sense. The second factor is a growing trend, even among smaller shops, to upgrade capabilities. Curfiss explains, “As smaller shops are seeking to upgrade their capabilities, to get more competitive or be more value-adding to current customers, they want to push their machines, often to levels that are impractical, given the original design. For example, the machine base, bearings and ways on an HMC may be as solid as the day they left the factory, but the controls simply will not allow the kind of precision machining a shop wants to do for, say, automotive or aerospace, where outsourcing is the watchword nowadays. Such shops can benefit greatly from considering a retrofit assessment.” Curfiss also reaffirmed the industry yardstick that says a retrofit job becomes workable when its cost does not exceed 60 percent of the price on a new machine. “This is not always the case,” he noted, citing such examples as the smaller shop that seeks to penetrate a new, higher precision market. Often in such cases, the retrofit might exceed the 60 percent level, but the gross savings still make it a worthwhile expense, especially with larger machining centers. About SiemensSiemens Energy & Automation, Inc. is one of Siemens’ operating companies in the U.S. Headquartered in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Ga., Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc. manufactures and markets one of the world’s broadest ranges of electrical and electronic products, systems and services to industrial and construction market customers. Its technologies range from circuit protection and energy management systems to process control, industrial software and totally integrated automation solutions. The company also has expertise in systems integration, technical services and turnkey industrial systems. Learn More

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