Tips on buying a Robofil sitting in storage
I came across post or two where Milacron mentioned buying a roboform that had been sitting for 2 years and I am interested in trial and tribulations I may have in store. At present I am debating the purchase of a 1994 robofil 310 that has been sitting in a residential garage for 3 years. There are some obvious risks to buying such a machine especially one that cannot be powered up before purchase.
I've done some research on google, called a local distributor and spent 35 minutes on the phone with AgieCharmilles support. AC support was a huge help and walked me through some of the maintenance type tasks, a few health check type of items, and typical problem things to look for in this model after transporting or other abuse.
It seems each model may have some specific gotcha's to look out for and one of the most common is a USAR board batteries going bad and corroding.
To Milacron: Would you by the roboform over again? Any unexpected issues?
To Public at large: Any obvious items for visual inspection? I've looked at the heads, the ways, and the control cabinet. Besides sizing it up like I would a milling machine--what should I check?
I'm comfortable doing the work myself but a lack of decent documentation on the internet has me a bit gun shy to pull the trigger.
My Roboform had board ruined due to soldered on memory battery leaking to the point of ruining traces on multi layered board. Luckily, one of the few boards that was not outrageously expensive....perhaps Charmilles felt guilty for the dumb design of soldering memory battery direct to PCB and charged less ? Only "unique to manufacturer" board in my entire career I couldn't fix at component level and had to buy. (although in years since I've learned enough that I suspect I could fix that one too today) Other issue was fire extinguisher went off at some point in the machine's life and the powder caused some corrosion I didn't find until later.
Power supply (for internal computer) was kaput...very common on Charmilles of that vintage. Usual problem with power supply is old capacitors...replace those or replace entire power supply with same specs one outsourced somewhere other than Charmilles (otherwise, price is insane) Largest problem with replacing power supply with different make is drilling/tapping new holes to mount it (and preventing drill chips from falling into sensitive board areas).
Have had similar vintage Robofil 300 as well. Power supply out on that one too...but fixed it with new capacitors. Fanuc is better wire EDM but Charmilles is waaaaaay less trouble to move and set up. Beauty of Robofil is "all in one box" (except for chiller) whereas Fanuc is major PITA seperate components to deal with. Robofil 310 I think has auto wire feed but is not submurged and most folks seem to prefer submurged these days.
Beauty of Robofil is "all in one box" (except for chiller) whereas Fanuc is major PITA seperate components to deal with/QUOTE]
The transformer is separate from the machine, (as well as the chiller). I am uncertain If they could be purchased separate when purchased new. Don't forget to make sure the transformer is included in your purchase. If you need to remove boards in the control cabinet before transport, use a conductive tether to ground yourself to the machine. You should wear the tether whenever you handle the boards, in order to prevent a static electric discharge from causing the boards any damage. I think the least expensive boards in the cabinet (probably axis control) are well over $1500.
Do you mean the 380 volt transformer ? If so, good point, as that might not even be included with the machine...some companies have 380 volt systems in place already...or the transformer gets "hard wired" into the building and doesn't go with the used machine...or is just flat out forgotten about.
Originally Posted by EDM JOE
Funny that Charmilles didn't quite go whole hog on the "all in one box" concept and cram a chiller in there somewhere as well.
Originally Posted by Milacron
Good info on the board and power supply. I'm pretty handy with a solder iron so component replacements shouldn't be a problem. Hopefully the corrosion if any is not that bad. I'm thinking of taking another look at the machine and will have that on my checklist.
Originally Posted by Milacron
Luckily this deal includes the transformer and the chiller.
Originally Posted by EDM JOE
Anyone have any knowledge with these machines being picky about a voltage differential between phases? I've hear/read/came across at some point some numbers of +/- 4%
This machine will be running off a 50HP phase converter. (now that I'm thinking about this I'll check my power tonight)
I have talked briefly with others that are running some Charmilles drill or wire machines on phase converters without much problem. Though I'd like to talk to a few people who _have_ had problems so I can familiarize myself with them. I'm sure I'll be doing enough troubleshooting and the more I know or have the ability to identify up front the quicker I'll be cutting metal.
Maybe "handy with a solder iron" is just a figure of speach, but if not, "handy with troubleshooting at component level, including dealing with multilayer boards" might be more impressive. Handy with DE- soldering equipment is more needed...anyone can solder, but not everyone can desolder !
Originally Posted by bonestock
I once had to desolder *400* IC pins on one PCB before I finally found the wayward static ram IC ! The normal proceedure for IC's is sacrifice the IC via clipping the legs (with tiny wire cutter) and then desolder each pin that way....less chance of PCB trace damage. But I was determined to desolder each 20 leg IC intact and undamaged, so I could test each one in an IC tester. I resoldered in sockets soas not to have excessive heat on the IC legs an issue and so the static ram IC's could be removed in the future without desoldering. The real trick in such situations is not damaging PCB traces when pulling out an IC. If I had damaged a single trace out of the 400 connections and not caught/fixed it, that would have blown the whole project.
Bonestock, contact me before you buy, I looked at this machine some time ago with a good friend of mine and there is more to the story than meets the eye. This guy has been trying to offload this machine for some time with no success and while the price is not too bad you may want to know what I know before you purchase.
Charles, I came across a thread of your's from January and thought it may be the same machine. I planned on contacting you to see why your friend walked away. A PM is coming your way.
Originally Posted by CBlair
I personally would not buy a machine unless I seen it under power first or had a garruantee it would not be DOA. Boards for these machines can cost more than you paid for the whole machine not to mention the cost of a service call.
Its a crap shoot. Hell even a running machine may not work when moved. I have seen 5 year old machines not fire up when moved across the streeet to another shop. Its all what you pay for it, and the time you want to invest.
If its a good deal, roll the dice, I have done it many of times with great luck. But it only takes that one time and you will never do it again trust me lol...
As far as sitting in a residential garage, big deal, Lots of shops out there without AC and high humiditylevels..
Adding some closure. I did not purchase this machine.
Big thanks to Charles (CBlair) for some insights on the machine during his visit a few months back. He was a bit more thorough in his inspection and found some burnt boards. I contacted the seller to do another inspection so I could record part numbers of the boards in question but as it would turn out none of my subsequent calls were returned and the item is not long listed. I guess it all worked out for the best, I was really more interesting in getting the machine for a deal but do not have enough work to keep it busy or to make it worth while for the investment it was going to require.
Yea, after our first visit when he rejected our offer, for more money than he was asking for this time, he wouldnt return our calls either. Seems pretty strange but I guess he figures you only get one chance? Good luck on your search, give it a little time, there is always a better deal on the horizon.