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Inside fadal plant

Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
They needed better accountants.

Their 'financial advisors' were crap
That's such an easy problem to solve, I'm with Garwood on this : bullshit excuse. That's so common - get something popular partially with the "buy local, support your own country !" stuff, then the first chance that comes along take the money and run. Go buy real estate with it. "Best business decision we ever made !"

Get kinda burned out on that after a while.
 

DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
I worked at a shop that got a brand new 15XT at the end of 97. We made archery sights, overdraws, and stuff for a fiber optics testing company. It was pretty much all smaller than 2" square aluminum parts. A 3/4" endmill was used as a face mill and 1/4" endmills were the big roughers, the machine was not used hard. These are some of the issues with this machine. Maybe it was a lemon?

1) All axis accel/decel at the same time when rapiding, so when one axis would come to it's stop point ALL axis would decel. What a waste of time!!!
2) The Belleville washers in the drawbar had to be gone through once a year, where I would find around 5-10 that were shattered or cracked. Wait 18 months and the tool holder was loose in the spindle when clamped, grab it with your hand and wiggle it loose! Parts and instructions were per Fadal and I did the work myself so it was done Fadal right.
3) When you cut the power the way lube pump would get pressurized so the plunger was pushed down as long as there was air, it had a spring return. A few years in I noticed it wasn't using any oil. Turns out the plunger got stuck in the down position, the return spring wasn't that strong.
4) The machine didn't know if the drawbar had been depressed before trying to change tools. Because of the oiler problem I would turn the air off to the machine. One time I forgot to turn it on before running it. The first thing it did was try to change a tool. It put the tool in the carousel, then raised the head, with the tool still stuck in the carousel. One of those times you were glad you were just an employee and not the owner.
5) Feed Hold did not work when using the return to start point feature after stopping the program mid cycle and jogging the table around to inspect your work. I learned this while cutting a gear on the 4th axis, thankfully the tool just nipped the gear as it went to the start point. Feen Hold worked for everything else, WTF!!!!
6) You could start the cycle by just lightly brushing the green button with your shoulder. I watched it happen many times.
7) The control would lock up and you were left looking for Ctrl/Alt/Del, which didn't work. You had to cycle to power to recover.
8) SERVO LAGG!!!!! I had to program exact stops all the time to maintain acceptable accuracy. Or say you wanted to increase the feed rate on the countersink, but wanted to maintain the same depth. Easy, just increase the depth by .001" per IPM of feed increase. This was using G81. We were running production so cycle times were important, G82 was too slow so we just did the work around.
9) 15 second chip to chip tool changes if you needed to change speed ranges.
10) In manual mode if you press carousel forward and then realize you meant backward, pressing backward before it was done going forwards, you just renumbered your tool stations by 1, surprise! Hope you're paying attention when you run the program next.

I know there were more but it's been 17 years and I have tried to forget that horror story. As for parts being cheap, well you do get what you pay for. The local spindle rebuilder in Portland once commented to me that without Haas he wouldn't have a business. I asked about Fadal and he said they were the same, just not as many of them around. Reason being the quality of the build so those spindles just didn't last as long as the better builders.

The comment of when something goes wrong with your better Japanese machines you often scrap them because it costs so much for parts is just stupid. Yes, the parts cost more, but you will go through many fewer parts over the years so the total bill probably will be less. The plus side is those machines are soooo much faster, especially if accuracy is important. The draw bar springs in my Kitamura are $1800, but are still original after 20 years and have lost about 3-5% of their hold. If it was a Fadal that would be $1200 for parts, @ 2001 prices, and 20-30 hours of labor. Which do you think is cheaper?
 
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standardparts

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
That's such an easy problem to solve, I'm with Garwood on this : bullshit excuse. That's so common - get something popular partially with the "buy local, support your own country !" stuff, then the first chance that comes along take the money and run. Go buy real estate with it. "Best business decision we ever made !"

Get kinda burned out on that after a while.

Your quite correct but depending on the time frame and the area no matter what the original game plan was for the business other opportunities develop that change the game plan. California real estate is an epic example and from what post here areas of Washington state are the same.
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
The comment of when something goes wrong with your better Japanese machines you often scrap them because it costs so much for parts is just stupid. Yes, the parts cost more, but you will go through many fewer parts over the years so the total bill probably will be less. The plus side is those machines are soooo much faster, especially if accuracy is important. The draw bar springs in my Kitamura are $1800, but are still original after 20 years and have lost about 3-5% of their hold. If it was a Fadal that would be $1200 for parts, @ 2001 prices, and 20-30 hours of labor. Which do you think is cheaper?

Drawbar springs for a Fadal are $40 (2021 prices) from ITS (NOT $1200), first time you change them might take 2-3 hours.

Buy Belleville Washers Set of 47 With Grease, HDW-0195 | ITSCNC (added edit)

You cited a bad example.

How many major parts for your Kitamura are off the shelf? can you get EVERY (major or minor) part for you kitamura the same (or next) day?

There's 2-3 places in LA and the Valley that dismantle machinery. Their probably going to be dismantling your Kitamura when something major goes wrong and you figure it's un-economic to fix it. Want a part for a Mori/Okuma/Mazak/Kitamura etc? They might have it, they have most certainly dismantled them. They rarely (can only remember one) dismantle Fadals.
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
I don't really buy the taxes were too high to pass it on excuse. I think they knew they were 15 years behind the power curve and it would take a miracle to catch up so they got out before technology really made their machines look abysmal.

They needed better accountants.

Their 'financial advisors' were crap

Your all financial experts now.

Safe to assume they didn't use financial advisors who were 'crap'
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
... no matter what the original game plan was for the business other opportunities develop that change the game plan. California real estate is an epic example and from what post here areas of Washington state are the same.
Yes, exactly. And that's why the US will eventually go into the toilet. Nothing matters except how much money you can make tomorrow. Not even next week, just tomorrow. Other things were important fifty years ago (dating myself) but not no more.

Seems like people have forgotten the story of Midas. You can't eat gold.
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
A friend of mine sold his Harley-D aftermarket parts business. Hasn't had to work for the last 10 years.

Said selling the business itself didn't make him a lot of money.

It was the building. Buying (and then selling) the building was the best business decision he ever made.

It's possible Fadal made more from selling the real estate than they did from selling the machine tool side. I assume the real estate was held seperatly by the DeCaussians and Fadal leased the buildings from them.
 

standardparts

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Yes, exactly. And that's why the US will eventually go into the toilet. Nothing matters except how much money you can make tomorrow. Not even next week, just tomorrow. Other things were important fifty years ago (dating myself) but not no more.

Seems like people have forgotten the story of Midas. You can't eat gold.

"And that's why the US will eventually go into the toilet." Yeah, many are of that opinion I guess.

As far as "how much money can you make tomorrow"....well I guess it's the time factor you apply to "tomorrow" and what change occurs to alter your business plans. Sometimes the competition gets you, sometimes it's health or personal issues, sometimes deep pockets appears and makes you an offer you can't refuse. Can't see where any business owner should forfeit their ability to profits from a business. Right now if your a ICE engine parts supplier to the auto industry change may be coming faster than anticipated---things change.
 

Vancbiker

Diamond
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
Vancouver, WA. USA
……..
Disagree with Vanc about them being bad, I prefer them to encoders. Encoders were the cheap cheesy option in the past :)

This intrigues me. What do you see as superior in a system that needs two separate analog devices to perform as a control loop? Each of those analog devices is susceptible to noise. Noise cause irregular performance. If either system fails a runaway is almost a certainty.

In contrast, an encoder is digital. Noise can be an issue but easily error checked and system shutdown performed. Failure of an encoder rarely results in runaway in a well designed control loop. A single device halves the number of devices that can fail.

In early encoders, the low pulse per revolution count could be considered a negative as it limited absolute resolution. Since 32000 PPR and higher count encoders have been available for 25 or so years that argument holds little weight.
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
This intrigues me. What do you see as superior in a system that needs two separate analog devices to perform as a control loop?
If you drop a count on an encoder, you never get it back. With resolvers, that's not a problem. I kinda like analog, to be honest. Records sound better to me than CD's, too.

Encoders are no doubt better now, and also the knowledge of how to wire them so cross-talk and all that are not such a problem, but in theory I still like resolvers. And in practie, they have been foolproof for me.

Plus differential resolvers are so convenient.

But it doesn't really matter what I like anymore, never going to buy another machine tool so it's all moot :)
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
If you drop a count on an encoder, you never get it back. With resolvers, that's not a problem. I kinda like analog, to be honest. Records sound better to me than CD's, too.

Encoders are no doubt better now, and also the knowledge of how to wire them so cross-talk and all that are not such a problem, but in theory I still like resolvers. And in practie, they have been foolproof for me.

Plus differential resolvers are so convenient.

But it doesn't really matter what I like anymore, never going to buy another machine tool so it's all moot :)

Im sorry but you are talking 1973


I cannot say I have evidence of any CNC machine I have ever owned dropping a count.

NOw my BTC that I retroed had a note on it not to leave it emo'd because it would drift and not read the encoders, but that is horrific design, not the encoders fault
 

DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
Drawbar springs for a Fadal are $40 (2021 prices) from ITS (NOT $1200), first time you change them might take 2-3 hours.

Buy Belleville Washers Set of 47 With Grease, HDW-0195 | ITSCNC (added edit)

You cited a bad example.

How many major parts for your Kitamura are off the shelf? can you get EVERY (major or minor) part for you kitamura the same (or next) day?

There's 2-3 places in LA and the Valley that dismantle machinery. Their probably going to be dismantling your Kitamura when something major goes wrong and you figure it's un-economic to fix it. Want a part for a Mori/Okuma/Mazak/Kitamura etc? They might have it, they have most certainly dismantled them. They rarely (can only remember one) dismantle Fadals.

Don't forget shipping and I'm not far off. The $1200 is for replacing them yearly over the course of the lifespan of my Kitamura, which has never had it's die springs replaced. I figured 1 to 1-1/2 hours to replace the Bellvilles. Maybe the 15XT I had to use was a lemon, but it did have to have the Bellvilles replaced on a yearly basis, and the Fadal factory techs I talked to didn't seem to think that was abnormal. The mill probably averaged 2000-2500 spindle hours a year, mostly at the 10k max. Bearings went south after 5 years.

As far as I know Kitamura has everything I may need in stock. So far they have had everything I needed and the stuff I was wondering about. Same with my Enshu, which is 5 years older. On the items they just purchase and stock I have found their prices around 15% higher, which I consider justifiable. I do know the build quality of my Kitamura is several levels above Fadal, and so is it's productivity.
 

Vancbiker

Diamond
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
Vancouver, WA. USA
If you drop a count on an encoder, you never get it back.

Modern encoder setups don’t suffer from this IME. Between having 2 channels, each with its inverse, and a one revolution pulse, dropped pulses are not an issue.

Possibly, I’m prejudiced against resolver and tachogenerator systems because the bulk of my experience with that method of servo control occurred during the ~5 years I worked as a field service and applications engineer for a Fadal distributor.
 

DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
triumph406, I am curious, what "major thing" are you thinking of that would mean scrapping my Kitamura or similar machine?
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
The vast majority of the Japanese built machines I built my business on had the living piss run out of them for decades before I bought them. I couldn't possibly count how many times I crashed the old Mori-Seiki MV-45 I started out with. I remember this product idea I had where I thought I could mill parts out of 6"X6"X1" steel angle iron 6" long, stood on end, by zipping around the OD with a 3" indexable at full insert depth. I made 40 parts that way and looking back I feel terrible for how bad that was on that poor spindle. Did it care? Nope. It was still a very accurate machine when I scrapped it last summer because 9 tons of cast iron is worth $2700 on the scales and all the Fanuc parts are worth another $1500 on Ebay. Nobody was going to pay me more than that for it. They'd be stupid to when you can buy a newer machine for less.

I scrapped a 1979 Mazak M4 with a Fanuc 5T. Not a thing wrong with it. Awesome machine, made a shitload of money with it. In 40 fucking years of daily use that lathe needed the 5V power supply replaced for the relative position display. That's it. It needed one $50 part and Mazak is not the best machine builder by far.

I totally get that Fadal was an entry level machine, but I don't think it would have cost much to make a few changes so they didn't suck so much.

Like how did they fuck up gluing the Turcite? They all have loose Turcite. How? What other builder has such a reputation for just not giving a shit about what they built?
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
Like how did they fuck up gluing the Turcite? They all have loose Turcite. How? What other builder has such a reputation for just not giving a shit about what they built?

Turcite is still stuck to the table on my 91. It's a scored from some lube issues, but still hanging in there so to speak. I have all the maintenece records since day 0, and the Turcite hasn't been replaced

Last place i worked had 20+ Fadals, didn't hear of any issues with any of the boxway machines in respect to Turcite. There was one machine that needed the Fadal service guy to come on a regular basis, but none of the other fadals needed any regular maintenence.

It does happen, probably not as regularly as you think. I do tell people who are looking to buy boxway Fadals to look underneath the table and check the turcite and make sure it hasn't come loose.
 

mmurray70

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jan 11, 2003
Still love my 94 4020 with retrofit control. Tachs and resolvers replaced with high resoloution encoders. Way better setup. Super accurate even at high speeds with new control.

I need another machine now and after spending hours and hours looking at all the different options out there today,I still think my best option is another Fadal. Considered a new Brother but not sure the economics make as much sense. Plus I find it hard to get operators to keep up with very short cycle times. Still a lot of advantages to an old slow machine loaded up with a big fixture full of parts. Load it up and let it run while you do something else. Can still make a ton of good parts with very little effort this way.
 

Doug

Diamond
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Location
Pacific NW
We made metal parts for the big guys on the west coast in guitar making so I saw lots of well tooled Fadals cutting wood. The way I heard the story is woodworkers didn't know much about CNC machines. Taylor Guitars in California started using Fadals and the rest of the guys followed.

Warmoth in the Seattle area had a bunch. They bought used and had their service guy from Idaho come over to rework them installing 10,000 rpm spindles. I recall looking at the tool carousel of one seeing spindle speeder heads and right angle heads. Looked like a small fortune in tooling. I know Fadal worked well for Warmoth, at the height of the Great Recession Ken told me they were still able to crank out their break even sales of $23K a day. But the success of the Warmoth business is a story in itself. They weren't sophisticated business people, they dealt in cash making their money by selling quality parts.
 

EndlessWaltz

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 18, 2016
Location
Midwest
I found a picture of a NEW "Fadal" 4020 with sheetmetal off, it is not a copy of the old ones. It is probably the same Taiwanese machine 3 other guys are using.
 








 
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