Cutting Tool Engineering
January 2012 / Volume 64 / Issue 1

Get a (new) life

By CTE Staff

Eventually, any metalcutting machine experiences wear and tear, decreasing productivity. This was the case for a large aerospace manufacturer looking to update its old Okuma LC-50 lathe rather than retire it. So the manufacturer turned to Infinity Rebuild Inc., Charlotte, N.C., an exclusive Okuma rebuilder and Partners in THINC member.

“The customer had been running the lathe for 25 years and it wasn’t performing and holding the machining tolerances it once did,” said Sid LaMonica, president of Infinity Rebuild. “We performed a complete machine rebuild to Okuma new machine specifications along with retrofitting it with a THINC OSP-P200 control.”

The old OSP-5000 control had been expanded over the years with retrofits for milling, tool and part probing, an automatic door, a parts catcher and other features. With the new control, everything could be accessed through one compact control panel. Plus, the new control’s processor is faster, so the machine operates faster, LaMonica added.

Infinity Before & After.tif
Courtesy of All images: Infinity Rebuild

Infinity Rebuild upgraded an old OSP-5000 control on its customer’s Okuma LC-50 lathe to the THINC OSP-P200 control as part of the rebuild process.

The control’s plug-and-play capability makes it easy to use peripheral equipment such as electronic calipers, in- and post-process gaging, bar code readers and other USB devices. In addition, Ethernet connectivity allows information to flow freely between the shop floor and front office.

Although the control was the highlight of the rebuild process, it was only one part of updating the lathe. After its arrival, the machine was completely dismantled and any damaged or worn parts were repaired or replaced. All electrical wiring and components also were replaced.

“During the rebuild, we put all new ballscrews on all axes and added a new lube system, new spindle bearings, new turret parts, new wipers, new gibs on all axis slides and new drive belts on all axes and the spindle,” LaMonica said. “Not counting the new electrical system, we replaced more than 450 parts.”

Finally, Infinity painted the lathe to restore it to its “original beauty.” The rebuilder reported that only Okuma-certified parts were used, and Okuma ISO procedures were followed for the rebuild process.

Infinity DSC_0318.tif

Infinity Rebuild hand scrapes gibs, ways and cross-slides to achieve the quality of a new machine.

That process is a better value for larger machine tools. LaMonica said: “The rule of thumb is that a rebuilt machine averages 50 percent of the cost of a new machine. The larger the machine, the lower the percentage—in some cases as low as 25 percent the cost of a new machine. With a smaller machine, however, the rebuild cost could be as high as 65 percent of the cost of a new machine.”

Rebuilding the LC-50 lathe took approximately 20 weeks, and was the seventh machine tool this customer has sent through the process. LaMonica noted that 90 percent of Infinity Rebuild customers are repeat clients. Twenty weeks is a long time for a machine to be out of production, so many customers increase their internal inventory levels for the period the machine will be out of service or move jobs to other machines. CTE

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