Automating an existing CNC machine: What is and is not possible?

You have an existing CNC machine that you would like to automate. The first question that arises in that case is, is it possible at all? Bart Rooijmans, Business Manager Service & Aftersales at Cellro explains in this article what your machine needs to comply with and how we can work with you to build the desired automation solution.

Robot interface present or not?

The first and most important question to be answered when automating a CNC machine is whether the machine has a robot interface. This is necessary for communication and is not always present. Since its foundation, Cellro has successfully automated countless existing machines of different CNC brands. The experience here is that the machine manufacturer plays an important role in establishing communication. Cellro works closely with the customer and manufacturer in this respect, and in doing so we realise surprising interfaces.

When we receive an enquiry about an existing machine, we first of all look at the interface. After all, the documentation of the machine interface provides us with valuable information about what is and isn’t possible in terms of automation. In addition, we look at what fits in with your customer requirements and what/how you want to automate. We then look at our strengths Xcelerate, Elevate and Ultimate. Depending on specific wishes or requirements from the customer, we can configure these automation solutions to suit them. For example, a complex geometry of the products to be machined or a specific machining sequence.

Assurance of machine safetyCellro automating

A second important point is that we must ensure that the Cellro solution, in combination with the machine, functions optimally and complies with the machine guidelines (CE). Every machine manufacturer provides a machine with CE certification under the Machinery Directive. This also applies to all automation solutions from Cellro. If desired, we can relieve you of the burden of drawing up an RI&E for the complete configuration (the machine including the linked automation). But of course you can also organise this according to your own procedures and processes, as you are used to doing.

Work in the right order

Only when it is clear whether your machine is suitable or can be made suitable for automation does it make sense to take the next steps. At that point, we will work with you to determine which solution best suits your production. If you produce large and heavy products, you need a strong and powerful robot cell, and if you want to produce larger series unmanned, an automation solution with sufficient storage capacity is essential. With the right solution, you can produce small and/or large series unmanned. The key is a combination of the storage capacity and the processing time of the products. Cellro, with its expertise and modular automation systems, can provide an excellent solution for this. But as said, let’s start at the beginning and work in the right order. This way, automating your existing machine(s) becomes a sustainable investment that quickly pays for itself.

What is the return?

What return can you expect when automating an existing machine? Especially if costs for preparing the machine for automation, such as the automatic door and robot interface, are added. Many users start automation with an existing machine to gain experience, they let their people work with it in the meantime, and so they grow along with the first steps. CNC machines have a long service life and investing in flexible automation gives you the capacity to produce more output and grow step by step towards the next investment. Cellro’s systems are modular and give you the space to connect a new CNC machine. Our users are often surprised by the quick ROI. In order to gain more insight into this, Cellro can fill in the ROI model on the basis of your own production data.

Cellro helps with the automation of your existing CNC machines!

Do you want to know whether your existing machine(s) can be automated? Then please contact us. Cellro will gladly look with you at what is possible and what is not, and we will make you a suitable proposal!