Over the last 144 years, the Seneca Falls Machine name has earned a reputation for innovative engineering and manufacturing quality. Every day we find new applications utilizing our knowledge and understanding of the durable, reliable machinery we have designed and manufactured since day one. Every day we also transfer this knowledge to other old iron built in the past by our competitors. Having this intimate understanding of proven qualities of what we consider older heavy duty machines (i.e., the durability, heavy design and stability of their iron), and the benefits of rebuilding this equipment coupled with the latest control technology, to provide greater flexibility, accuracy and repeatability, places us in a unique position to come up with design solutions that combine the best of two worlds. The science of turning has advanced to the point where this old rigid iron can pay new dividends if it is enhanced with the latest controls and drives.
Case Study # 1: Extra heavy cuts on a customer's new standard CNC equipment had prematurely worn out the ballscrews, damaged the turrets and ways, plus the cycle time of 8 minutes 30 seconds was found to be unacceptable. There were over 20,000 parts a month weighing over 150 pounds each being made for their customer on a long term contract and their contract losses were serious. Our customer needed the rigidity of his "old iron" heavy-duty tracer lathes, Detroit Broach Models, and the raw thrust force hydraulics provided, but coupled with the latest control technology. We designed a CNC HYDR,4 ULIC servo Control System, consisting of a precision hydraulic feedback system with magnetic scales to close the loop and a 4 axis Fanuc I Si CNC controller. Four old iron tracer lathes, out of mothballs, were fitted with the new controls. The result: four lathes with control technology capability, to do linear and circular interpolation, plus hold good tolerances with single pass heavy stock removal rates, thanks to the over 14,000 pound thrust power of hydraulics . The cycle time was reduced to 4 minutes and the project is now profitable. (see sample parts)
Case Study # 2: Our customer wanted to use their old tracer lathes, J&L Models, but required better accuracy, faster cycle times and they needed to be flexible enough to use on a variety of parts with the automation on the machines. We designed a CNC HYDRAULIC SERVO Control System, incorporating ball screws, encoders, safety clutches and a 4-axis Fanuc 18i CNC controller. We stripped nine existing hydraulic tracer lathes down to the bare heavy-duty iron. Headstock, carriages and slides were remanufactured to specs and fitted with the new control system, and tied in to a proven automatic load/unload system. The customer is now able to benefit from the combined quality of the old iron and new CNC controls, an overall package that would be hard to replicate with an off-the-shelf machine, at considerably less cost. With the old cycle time cut in half, and newly added flexibility, accuracy and repeatability, and other capabilities, e.g. threading, the company strengthened its competitive position. .... and Old Iron is powering profitably ahead on a new life cycle.
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