Machine tools help machinists make machinery parts. In the 1980s, manufactures of machine tools computerized their products known as CNCs, or computer numerically controlled machines.
Automated machine tools come in many sizes, shapes, models and capabilities. Even similar machines have enough differences to make it hard to tell which one to purchase. Take a number of factors into account when deciding what kind of machine tools to purchase.
1. Companies make and sell machine parts to allow you a less expensive alternative than buying a new machine.
2. Manufacturers offer many competitive products and pricing, so shop around.
3. Machines hold up well over time when maintained. Consider purchasing used machine tools.
4. Leasing machine tools lets you take advantage of new machine tool technology without the upfront cost of a purchase.
Figure out what kind of machine tools your shop needsWhat your shop makes will determine the machine tools you need. Take stock of your best-selling products and the ones you plan to produce in the future, and look for machine tools made for those needs.
Familiarize yourself with industrial machine parts and their suppliersKnow where to go for the right parts for your machine tools. Suppliers have access to machine parts from all over the world.
Compare what the major machine tool dealers offerSome manufacturers specialize in particular areas of machine design. Shop around to make sure you know which manufacturers make machine tools that best fit your needs. Check out the competition to compare costs and products.
Look into buying used machine toolsMachine tools aren't cheap. If you don't need the latest tool fresh off the factory floor, consider buying used CNC tools. You could save thousands of dollars.
Consider leasing machine toolsLeasing lets you acquire machine tools without an up-front cash payment, so your cash flow can continue uninterrupted and you can build good credit. Ask your financial and tax adviser about whether leasing machine tools is the right choice for you.
- If you make complex parts, you may need a five-axis machine. Whatever you choose should make producing your industrial machine parts more cost-efficient.
- Choose industrial machine tools your employees are comfortable with. User-friendly software will cost much less in training time.
- Training employees to operate, program and set up five-axis machines is challenging. Operating this type of industrial machine tool requires the skill to visualize a three-dimensional component.
- If you've been using manual lathes to make small parts such as gears, consider upgrading to a two-axis turning center. You probably won't need anything more complex.
- A five-axis machine tool or multitasking turn/mill center can handle most jobs that fit within their part volume.
- Multi-axis machining centers can do the work of two older machines and save time, which makes them cost-effective.