HOW TO MODERNIZE YOUR INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT? Manufacturers have all been faced with this dilemma: should they buy a new machine, or modernize existing equipment? The best strategy remains modernization because each company strives to maximize the performance of its industrial machines while saving money. We then speak of retrofit, a concept that consists of adding or modifying technological elements on an aging machine.

The challenges of modernizing machine tools

The best way to modernize your industrial machinery is to carry out what is called retrofitting.

What is a retrofit?

Retrofitting takes place on several levels. We can do it at the mechanical level. This then amounts to machining or replacing parts such as bearings, gears or seals.

Modernization can also apply to the electrical system of machines. It will then be necessary to install new cables, check the system and adapt the controls.

Retrofitting is an English expression that means updating or modernization. In the industrial environment, it is a procedure that allows you to adapt your machine tools without having to replace the equipment. This modernization strategy makes it possible to make substantial savings on the maintenance of the machine tool fleet.

The advantages of industrial maintenance

The modernization of industrial machine tools makes it possible to sustain a company’s production. Production stoppages are also reduced, as are work cycles in the factory. The service life of the machine increases and this saves a lot of money.

Modernizing your industrial machinery is not only beneficial in terms of productivity. This also helps to ensure the safety of employees operating on the machines. It is also a way of complying with the requirements of article L233 -5-1 of the Labor Code.

A few tips for modernizing your machine tools

Companies in the industrial sector are increasingly aware of the costs resulting from equipment breakdowns. The modernization of machines is a means of preventing technical problems. Businesses can prepare for the future by having a machine tool modernization roadmap in place. This can cover a period of more than 10 years depending on the nature of the equipment.

There are several key things to consider when modernizing a machine:

  • network compatibility, whether wired or wireless,
  • security protocols to guarantee the protection of all data,
  • virtualization (think server consolidation),
  • European and French standards,
  • a device that provides operators with valuable information on the state of the machine park.

What standards are industrial machines subject to?

An industrial machine that operates on the territory must comply with European standards.

On the other hand, imported industrial machines (from China in particular) must have the CE marking. This means that the machine tool meets EU requirements. However, it should be borne in mind that this mark is not a guarantee of quality, because it is the person who places the machine on the European market who must carry out the checks.

This is why care must be taken to check whether imported industrial machines meet more technical standards. These are in fact standards that apply to machines according to their operation and their sector. In Europe, standards for industrial machinery have been harmonized. A hydraulic press, for example, must meet the EN693 standard.

Similarly, when you use an external industrial maintenance company, make sure that it has ISO 45001 certification. The latter aims to improve worker safety.

What are the challenges of retrofitting in the 21st century?

Integrating new equipment into older machines is a challenge in the 21st century. Integrating a part designed in 2022 with a machine made in the 90s can be an arduous process, as it is not in the interest of the manufacturers. Indeed, the latter have a better interest in pushing industries to invest in a recent machine than in retrofitting. Finding spare parts for old machine tools is getting harder and harder as time goes on.

Cybersecurity is another important aspect of modernizing machine tools.

With home automation and the Internet of Things, even these types of industrial machine tools are becoming increasingly obsolete in a highly digitized environment. The need to replace part of the machine park then arises in these cases. As a result, you expose a system that is not very secure to new connections with the outside world, which can pose security problems.

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