Retrofit – How to Bring Technology Tradition into the Modern Age

The end result: a modern machine with the latest safety standards, subassembly overhaul, numerous additional features and a new control system. Courtesy of DVS Technology Group.

DVS Technology Group examines why modernization can be worthwhile in some cases instead of purchasing a new grinding machine.

There are more than 2,000 Diskus Werke machines on shop floors around the world.

At some point, the question will arise whether it’s time to replace or retrofit a machine tool. However, a new machine acquisition comes with considerable costs. There are many reasons a new machine purchase may not be the best solution:

  • The mechanics used are not outdated and could continue to be used without problems.
  • Employees would have to be retrained on a new machine.
  • The spatial conditions are adapted to the existing machine and could only be changed with great effort.

The Advantages of a Retrofit

A 1967 machine tool prior to new features added.

A retrofit involves bringing up technical standards by adding new components and overhauling a machine tool. This applies to the control, drive and automation systems, as these are often outdated after decades of use.

Operator safety is an important consideration. Shop floor regulations are much different today than they were when the machines were originally installed. A risk assessment can determine that such a machine must be retrofitted according to the law. With retrofitting, the company and the operator are literally on the safe side.

Industry 4.0 Solutions

The basis for Industry 4.0 is the collection of data and the networking of machines via the Internet of Things. It is not always necessary to invest in new grinding machines to implement these technologies.

A cost-effective solution can be to upgrade existing machines. For this purpose, these machines must be equipped with additional sensors and communication interfaces. In this way, it is possible to record and analyze production data as well as network and communicate between the machines.

Technology optimization can also be made possible through retrofitting by integrating new control, drive and automation components. This can be accomplished by implementing force-controlled grinding or a post-process measuring system.

Modernize or buy new?

Retrofitting is a sensible alternative in many cases – but not in all. The option can be decided only in the individual case and will depend on many, complex factors. The choice requires a well-founded recommendation with experience and an analytical view.

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Article provided by DVS Technology Group, additional edits by Matthew Jaster, senior editor, Gear Technology.

About Matthew Jaster 33 Articles
Matthew Jaster, Senior Editor, has a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and has 15+ years of writing and editing experience in automotive, manufacturing, engineering, law and arts and entertainment.