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Remanufacturing Benefits for CNC Machining

Sustainability and reducing costs sometimes don’t align in CNC manufacturing. The cost of implementing a sustainable option may not produce payback in terms of productivity. One option that does provide positive benefits for both is remanufacturing. With new technology, a focus on recycling, and environmentally sound business practices, remanufacturing benefits for CNC machining ticks all the boxes.

Remanufacturing refers to re-purposing equipment to extend the end of life. This may include full CNC machines, tools, spindles, or other equipment in the shop that may not be performing at top quality, or is close to its assumed end of life.


One of the first steps you can investigate is upgrading a manual machine to a numerical control machine. The addition of a gearbox is the start to breathe life into aN old friend. Many more components must be sourced to fit your particular application. Be certain to do your research before you begin the process. If this isn’t an option, don’t lose hope. There is still value for manual machines in an automated CNC shop.

An easier approach is converting an NC (numerical control) machine to a CNC (computer numerical control). A comparison of NC versus CNC equipment is a good start to analyzing the value of an upgrade. These are just a few basic differences between the two. Speed, accuracy, and automated integration are key benefits to CNC machining.

Numerical Control

Computer Numerical Control

Improves accuracy over manual machining

Provides better accuracy with easy modifications

Key card data entry

Computer keyboard entry

No stored memory

Each project can be saved & recalled

Operator interaction is required

Continuous operation can be programmed

Machines like boring and milling machines, lathes, and grinders are ideal for upgrading. Many solid, old machines still deliver precision cutting but just don’t fit in an automated workflow. The addition of a processor and other auxiliary equipment can easily transform your dated equipment.

Equipment that is out of normal use can be paired with automation equipment to allow them to step into automated processes also. Save the high-accuracy jobs for new CNC machines and create simple stamping operations by adding an auto-feed onto an older machine. Consider that an unused machine also creates workflow problems because of its location when new production lines are added. The cost to move heavy equipment can be substantial. Clever use of air casters under all your equipment is a good solution for moving them, especially if your production changes regularly. This can improve both capacity and productivity in your shop.


Spindle failure can be a costly dilemma in terms of both the purchase price and lost production time awaiting your new part. Spindle remanufacturing can provide the benefit of a less expensive option to purchasing new and also offers when dealing with a quality remanufacturer, modifications, and operational recommendations to optimize the life of the spindle. Regular maintenance is going to identify noise or vibration issues that alert machine operators to potential spindle problems.

Re-vulcanizing clamping elements that suffer wear is another option to extend the life of parts and add to overall sustainability. Having spare parts in stock is helpful to reduce downtime, and easier when remanufactured parts cost considerably less.

Is Remanufacturing Right for You?

Estimates show that savings of between half and two-thirds of the cost of a new CNC machine can be saved by remanufacturing a current machine. Adding high-speed spindles or automatic pallet-changers will significantly reduce those savings. But savings on the investment isn’t the only factor. Remanufacturing benefits for CNC machining include productivity, error reduction, and, of course, sustainability efforts by repurposing existing equipment.

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