CNC Retrofit

Successful retrofit of Siemens CNC system on older Horizontal Boring Mill with 24 foot bed.

DSC_1782_mdMetal Locking Service Inc. (MLS), saw a major growth opportunity for their business if they could upgrade a 1980’s era Cincinnati Gilbert Boring Mill, which could handle parts up to 24 feet long.

MLS provides customers world-wide with a precise, mechanical method of making repairs to broken castings and machine parts, like locomotive engine blocks.  The company, founded in 1942 in Buffalo, NY also offers custom machine shop services.

MLS contracted with local industrial automation system integrator JF Automation USA, located in Tonawanda, NY.  Previous work with JF Automation proved they have the expertise and personnel to upgrade the electrical control system from an old style relay system into a modern CNC System (Computer Numerical Control).  JF Automation has broad industrial experience, but specializes in Siemens programmable controllers (PLCs), CNCs, and servo drives and control systems. Their engineers have designed, installed, upgraded, and commissioned hundreds of machine control systems over the past quarter century, and the local office could call on branch offices in Canada and China if required.

A Siemens 828D control system, optimized for Milling operations, was selected.  One of the world’s largest electrical equipment manufacturers, Siemens, used their decades of experience in the machine tool industry to design a new control platform that economically combines a package that is very powerful and versatile, and yet is easy to customize, and also easy to use for the Machine Operator.

The new Electrical Control System, provided by JF Automation, included :

  • Siemens servo motors, for the Spindle, and X,Y and Z axes; with mounted encoders, and Drive Clique technology; for configuration, networking, and trouble-shooting.
  • Siemens S120 Servo drives; with modular design, input line filter and reactor for harmonic noise minimization, a full 4 quadrant operation (with line regeneration).
  • Main Electrical Enclosure; NEMA 12 with lockable disconnect switch, and all required control components : Input-Output card, starters, relays, fuses, and terminals.
  • Operator Control Panel with a high resolution monitor and a Pushbutton Panel.
  • Linear scales for the X axis (24 feet), and Y axis (8 feet); made by Fagor Corp.


SINUMERIK 828D, and SINUMERIK 828D BASIC M are setting the benchmark with their unique CNC performance.

Rugged hardware architecture and intelligent control algorithms – coupled with premium drive and motor technology

– ensure the highest degree of dynamic performance and precision when machining.Control Panel

The intuitive SINUMERIK Operate user interface facilitates efficient machine operation.  With a convincing performance, SINUMERIK 828D and SINUMERIK 828D BASIC M master all of the challenges for standardized milling machines. They are supplemented by a range of solutions for IT integration.

Compact, rugged and maintenance-free panel CNC

• Highest machining precision with 80bit NANO accuracy

• Intelligent kinematic transformations for machining

cylindrical workpieces and in swiveled workpiece planes

• SINUMERIK MDynamics technology package with the

Advanced Surface function: perfect workpiece

surfaces and shortest machining times for mold making

• Interactive input based on Animated Elements

• Transparent tool management

• program GUIDE for the shortest machining times for large

series production

• Shop Mill machining step programming for the shortestIMG_0525

programming time for small series production and

individual parts

• CNC simulation to ensure process reliability

• Extensive package of technology cycles – including

residual material detection and in-process measurement

• Auto Servo Tuning – optimization at the press of a button

• Easy Message guarantees maximum availability by monitoring the process with SMS text messages sent to your cell phone

• Even simpler planning and execution of cyclic maintenance work with the onboard maintenance planner

• SINUMERIK Operate user interface available in over 23 languages

JF Automation Inc. provides Systems Integration, PLC design, panel building, circuit board and motor repair and on-site contract controls engineering services in Buffalo, NY USA; Mississauga, Canada; and Shanghai, China.