Constantine Grapsas, President and Founder
AIM, Inc.
14103 McCormick Drive,
Tampa, FL 33626 USA

Your business demands reliability and efficiency from the technology that powers it. Your machine must be operating at peak performance. Using a machine that is overdue on maintenance or out of date can cost you thousands each year.
If my machine “breaks,” how long can I wait until it gets fixed?
Can I afford to be without it for three to four months?
Should I buy an old used machine and rebuild it?
What would a rebuild cost?
Maybe better to buy a new one?
Is it worth it?

Did You Ever Ask Any of These Questions?
At AIM, Inc., we receive at least ten similar inquiries per month. Having more than 1300 machine installations, we inevitably receive such requests.
Unfortunately, there is no quick and straightforward answer, but the shortest advice is to “Be prepared”!
If your machine is 15 to 25 years old, the servo control-ler installed is most likely no longer manufactured. It is worth mentioning that we had a major servo supplier announce an EOL (End Of Life) for a very popular controller within the last year. AIM immediately sent out more than 600 emails and letters, communicating the potential shortcoming to the machine owners that used that particular controller.

One would assume that the majority of these machine owners would order a “Spare” controller, just in case their controller goes bad. But that was not the case as only 5% ordered these controllers!
It is also worth mentioning that these controllers are getting shipped with a 10 to 12 week lead time due to the supply chain problems lately!
What Does It Take to Upgrade an Older Machine?
We will have to replace the old controller with the latest available. A new controller will need new servo amplifiers, which will likely require new servo motors. Will you keep 15 to 25 year-old gearboxes? Probably not.
Since all of the above will be removed would it be wise to replace all bearings for straighteners, feeders and bender?
Are there any badly worn components? Any old solenoids? The list can quickly grow, and the labor required may be more than building a new machine since disassembly, investigation, cleanup and repainting will be required (versus assembly only).
There are multiple concerns when rebuilding an older machine including the following:
How old is the machine?
What is the condition of the machine?
Does it operate?
Is it compliant with the latest safety standards?
Are there any maintenance records available?
Can we get spare parts if it breaks?
Is the included software supported?
Is there a manual available?
How accessible are components and services from the manufacturer?
Can I train my people on how to use it? And what would be the cost?
Is there a maintenance and support contract available?

The photographs above show an 18 year old machine disassembled.

A 20-year old machine disassembled! More labor than assembling the new machine next to it.

It is a fact that technology has evolved tremendously during the past ten years!
Can we upgrade older machines? The answer is “Yes.”
We have been implementing upgrades for the past 12 years, but is it worth it?
Rebuild and upgrade doesn’t always mean lower cost or savings—the age and condition of the machine are in question and the age and condition of the machine will determine the feasibility.
Most of the time, you are better off getting a machine “trade-in” discount, and then getting a new machine that conforms to the latest UL, CE, CSA and OSHA standards, and while also having another ten-year usable life.
The problem is not only the technology, but also the regulation changes. If you upgrade to a new controller and computer, it does not necessarily mean that your old machine conforms to the new regulations!
We recently had a customer who upgraded to a new computer system. Shortly after, we received a hefty penalty from an OSHA inspector because his machine was not compliant with recent safety regulation changes. According to the inspection, we had to quote a hefty sum to bring the machine into compliance with the latest safety requirements (including labor, travel and parts).

New equipment provides the following benefits:

Have full warranty.
Requires less upkeep.
Incorporates technological advancements, which offer desirable new features.
Incorporates the latest technology and software.
Support engineers are very familiar with it and can respond quickly.
Provides safety and compliance.
Can improve efficiency.
Have tax incentives for the USA with accelerated depreciation. Most of the time, the incentive savings are more significant than the cost of repairing an older machine!

Before (left photo) and after a total rebuild (two right photos).

The best source of information is always the original equipment manufacturer. Our engineers can provide detailed quotations for upgrades, and our sales team will offer trade-in discounts for your old equipment.
AIM, Inc. has its headquarters in the USA with a second location in Europe. Committed to innovation, top quality and rapid response tech support, AIM manufactures the broadest line of wire bending machines in the world, from below 1 mm to over 25 mm wire diameters. AIM uniquely qualifies as the premier wire automation company.

The AIM, Inc. motto is, “Forming our future with yours”

Old trade-in machines, ready for scrap.

Newer model trade-in, we kept to train our new engineers how to provide support to older customers.

AIM Technicians in Rebuild Assembly.

Company Profile:
AIM Inc. manufactures 2-dimensional and 3-dimen-
sional CNC bending machinery, and is an active machin-
ery exporter via its two manufacturing facilities in North
America and Europe. Founded in 1992 by Constantine
Grapsas, AIM Inc. has grown to become the premier CNC
bending machine supplier serving customers worldwide.

First published in Wire Forming Technology International/Fall 2017