Avoid the pitfalls when buying a CNC router
As a global pioneer of CNC routing technology, with an enviable pedigree based on over 25 years’ experience in the development of among the most technically advanced CNC routing solutions currently available, AXYZ International looks at 10 of the most common pitfalls likely to be encountered when purchasing a CNC router and provides advice on how these can be avoided.
A CNC router is one of the most expensive capital investments likely to be made by sign and digital print companies. Yet no matter how diligent the decision-making process, with all of the appropriate questions seemingly answered satisfactorily, a number of thorny issues can still remain that will delay the decision to purchase and cause unnecessary expense due to a reduction in valuable production time and material usage.
It is important to recognise that CNC routing technology has existed for decades and,in common with most technologies, it continues to evolve at a rapid pace. For this reason, changes can occur during a lengthy purchasing process whereby the router selected will meet the perceived requirements of a customer at the time of purchase, but may be less able to adapt to future requirements if these issues are not addressed and rectified beforehand.
It should be emphasised that all of these pitfalls are avoidable. They represent a checklist for purchasers of CNC routers, with cautionary annotations made by AXYZ International as considered appropriate.
Buying the cheapest machine
This is strictly a short-term financial decision that may prove costly in the long term. The serious downside to this would be lowered performance, less reliability and a difficulty in sourcing essential spare parts and accessories. Buying a more expensive but infinitely superior machine would eliminate all of these negatives. AXYZ International claims the ROI on any of its CNC routers to be between two to four years, with the total cost of ownership radically reduced by virtue of an ability to sustain higher performance levels for the lifetime of the machine.
Selecting the wrong processing area
Whilst purchasing a machine with more capacity than needed is not cost-effective, buying a machine that turns out to have a less than necessary capacity is even more so. Buyers should seek expert advice as to the correct processing area, contingent upon the predicted use of the router.
CNC routers supplied by AXYZ International are available in a wide choice of bed sizes to accommodate different applications. Significantly, the company can configure a machine to suit virtually any production requirement, from one-off specials to high-volume runs via a staggering 316,918 different machine configurations that are now possible.
Failing to plan for the future
The buyer should match the machine purchased to future production requirements, as this can make a huge contribution to business growth and commensurate profitability.
Misjudging the tooling
The most common causes of tool failure include selecting the wrong tool for the material being processed, using a tool well past its predicted lifespan, failure to use an appropriate coolant or lubricant and failing to change tool-holding devices, such as collets, within the recommended time scale. Tooling is a continually developing area of routing/cutting technology due to the emergence of new and frequently more complex and difficult-to-process materials, as well as the tool coatings and geometrics now necessary to process an ever expanding range of diverse substrates used for multiple applications.
A typical recent example from AXYZ International is the Marathon Compression Tool, which is used for the processing of solid and particle woods. The tool incorporates a specially developed coating to protect the cut edge of the material from the high temperatures generated during the routing/cutting process and is particularly efficient in preventing chipping of double-sided laminates or when processing natural woods where edge-finishing requirements might prove problematical if alternative standard spiral tools are used.
Reducing necessary accessories in an attempt to cut costs
Generally perceived as a typical production workhorse, a CNC router when used to its full capacity will pay for itself over a relatively short period of time. Buyers should always insist on factory-employed expertise to determine the right accessories and how these can enhance overall performance. This is a consideration that should be prioritised during the purchasing process.
Failing to the level of support provided
At some stage, all CNC routers will require servicing and occasional repair. It is important, therefore, to know the supplier’s support network and verify its response capabilities.
AXYZ International’s specially trained installation engineers are always available either for online help or, as required, on-site support delivered at a customer’s own facility.
Purchasing a router that is not fully upgradeable
A router should be capable of evolving in tandem with new technologies. It is important to always deal with a supplier that can retrofit and upgrade operating systems and software on a regular basis. Usually such suppliers manufacture their own routers and provide complementary dedicated software without any third-party involvement.
Failing to source a supplier with a spare parts facility
Always the bane of any business, downtime is expensive and unacceptable to both the machine owner and the supplier. Much of this can be attributed to time-consuming delays in securing necessary parts. Purchasers of routers should thus always seek a supplier that operates its own online shop capable of providing all necessary spare parts and preferably on same- or next-day delivery.
Through its CNCRoutershop 24/7 online facility, AXYZ International can provide a vast range of spare parts, accessories and consumables that will accommodate the requirements not only of routers in the AXYZ and Pacer power brand ranges but also those of any other router regardless of type and country of origin.
Failing to source a supplier that offers training
All training requirements can be met by dealing with a supplier that understands the specific needs of each individual customer and can offer bespoke training programmes to fully accommodate these. It is the best way to optimise the efficiency of the workforce and thus ultimately the performance of the router. Training needs to be thorough, as it represents arguably the single most important item on the checklist.
AXYZ International provides customised training courses. These can be carried out either at the customer’s own premises or at the AXYZ International Training Centre.
Understanding the power of knowledge
Supplier expertise is paramount to the success of any business. It is important to look for a supplier with fully trained and dedicated application engineers who can provide this expertise and have the ability to add to this in order to accommodate new technologies and applications.
With over 9,000 successful router installations, AXYZ International claims to provide one the finest global resources for routing technology, products, training and ongoing technical support.
For further information on Axyz, visit:www.axyz.co.uk or telephone 01952 291600