Which CNC Machine manufacturer? Need opinions on recommendations for which machine builder is better? This is hard to say but..
Bottom line.... You get what you pay for!!!!!!
Inexpensive machines: What do you get?
- Rigidity crashing a machine is the number one reason for downtime, the cheaper the machine the more damage is not always the case, but better finish and better tool life is the biggest benefit. Since cheaper machines may not be as rigid they will also have more give when a crash occurs. However if for example a spindle is not built the greatest due to quality reasons this may also fail easily due to a crash.
- Ball screws, Linear guides/box ways will not hold up.
- Accessing and replace machine parts Look over the different models. You will see a huge difference.
- Look at the tool changer There are many problems associated with tool changer designs. Is it located inside the work area? How easy is it to replace the cam followers that usually break?
- Spindles High quality spindles tend to have more and larger bearings, which can handle more abuse. They also have greater horse power so you can't stall the spindle when taking large cuts. The speed of the spindle stays more constant, the finish is better with heavy cuts, longer tool life, and save cycle time by taking larger cuts.
- Tolerances Tighter tolerance means longer life and a smoother operation.
- Less horsepower spindle stalling or unstable RPM possibly during heavy cuts
- If Spindles are usually belt drive and often can be stalled.
- Wait time for service tech How close is the dealer? Anything over 1.5 hours will take much longer to get your machine fixed.
- Quality of service techs This is huge!! Sometimes outside contractors might be your best bet for most jobs. They can be more consistent given you get the same person every time and you can learn their quality of work very quickly. Rates are around $85/hour vs. $100-$150. Note When warranty issue is a concern, the dealer is the only way to go. For example-spindle replacement and B-axis Jobs.
- Parts Availability selecting a model that was not the first off the truck will tend to have more replacement parts in stock.
- Dealer response time for information and parts For some dealers it takes at least a day to get parts or information from the manufacturer through the dealer.
- Find out what access they have to online manuals Some of the manufacturers now have online parts lists, procedures and information through satellite. With this technology you will definitely save time and money for your repairs.
- Getting options from factory will often delay the delivery times.
- If your adding Life hydraulics, Light curtains, coolant flush, PLC, auto door or any automation, get estimates from an integrator. Often times, they will be 2-3 times cheaper and just as good of quality, and best of all it is customized exactly the way you want it.