The only other option for specialized machinery besides custom machines are retrofitting existing machines; machines can be changed and adjusted to become more cost effective or to perform new operations. By its very definition, there are no typical custom machines. However, certain machines are customized with more frequency than others such as lathes, mills, hydraulic presses, shears, press brakes, MIG or TIG welders, drill presses, band saws, magnetic drills and other machines.
Such items may be customized in terms of power source, capacity, operating speed, blade size, bit diameter, length, width and height, among other variables. Custom machinery can be used by any industrial company and for many reasons such as robotics integration or automation systems that are used in the aerospace, agriculture, automotive, computer, electrical, electronics, fiber optics, food and beverage, jewelry, medical and medical device, plumbing, semiconductor, textile and telecommunications as well as general industry processes that require a specialized machine.
Custom machinery begins with the tooling design. Engineers and design specialists consult with the client to determine their full requirements. It is important that the manufacturer understand what exactly the client wants or else they will produce a custom piece that no one wants or uses. The engineer or specialist may work with the client to find a solution or they may use the client’s ideas as they are presented. Engineering and design departments then produce plans and specifications for the machine.
These are often very detailed because of the many parts that are made from modified existing parts or that must be manufactured from scratch. The machine is then manufactured and any necessary machining or finishing processes are performed. When ready, the machine is assembled and tested. Some custom machinery may add a palletizer or conveyor system for continuous inline motion along a non-standard path.
Other changes may include upgrading the machine to a high speed system that can operate at speeds ranging from two hundred to one thousand parts per minute. Factory or manufacturing automation systems are primarily custom designed because it is a cost effective way to create parts, it is labor-saving and easy and it results in consistent production.