Integrating legacy CNC machines into a smart factory: Page 3 of 5

January 24, 2020 //By Lucas Hale
CNC machines
Does moving towards the smart factory mean scrapping your existing CNC grinding machines and having to invest in a whole new set of machinery? Not at all! But it does mean upgrading some of your technology and changing the way you think about how you operate.

Exploit your niche, finesse your offering and charge accordingly

As a small company, you’re able to offer a personalised service bigger business can’t. You understand your customers’ needs. You sell the precise product they need to keep their operation running. They need you as much as you need them.
So being small can be your greatest selling point. You can adapt to the market as it changes and respond to demand. Where potential customers may be frustrated by businesses with long lead times, you have the ability to turn things around quickly and with more flexibility. Customers wanting something you don’t manufacture yet can even be an advantage. With the tools and flexibility to make it happen, you can easily expand your offerings and show them how well you understand your niche.
This kind of specialisation is hugely valuable to a business. You’re not only providing labour and materials but access to years of knowledge and refinement. It’s been shown that customers will pay more for specialised products that offer this level of added value.


Embrace automation

Most CNC machines, including those that we produce, already come equipped with comprehensive, advanced software that allows flexibility in everything from configuring setup to adaptive processes like product gauging and automatic compensations, freeing your team to work on more valuable tasks.
By creating automated systems and processes, you’ll immediately have access to more information than ever before – and this is a huge benefit for you and your customers. Your machines will be able to alert you when you’re running low on materials. They will predict maintenance that’s required to keep them operating, so you avoid lengthy and expensive disruptions.
Better still, they can become part of a wider network of machines. Integrating with other factories will reinvent your supply chain process. Suddenly, your factory can integrate with your customers and your machines can speak to one another. Is your customer running out of a product you manufacture? The machine at your end can find out and start the production process without any intervention from you.

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