If your company is looking to buy or rent a flange facing machine you will have a clear idea of what you want the machine to do, but what features and benefits should you be looking for to ensure your chosen machine produces accurate results every time?
There’s more to choosing the right machine than you might think, so our engineers have listed the key considerations and questions to ask when you are researching the many products available.
Flange Facing Machine Buyer's Checklist
- Machining range: What are the minimum and maximum sizes the flange facer is capable of machining? Over the longer term it may be better financially to pay a little extra for a machine that covers a wider range of flange sizes. Some internally mounted machines achieve this by using different base sizes, making a wider range mounting options possible. There are also machines available which can be mounted both internally and externally.
- Repeatable finish: Getting the right spiral serrated finish should be easy for an experienced operator, but not all machines are designed in a way which can guarantee the same number of grooves per inch on a given setting each time it is used.
- The power of the motor: Choosing a machine with a more powerful motor will help you to remove much more material much faster and with accuracy.
- Hydraulic or pneumatic?: Think ahead to your future projects and what options you will have at your disposal. Selecting a machine which can be powered by both methods may be utilized more often.
- Construction: The machine should be well engineered to maintain long-term accuracy and to help reduce ‘chatter.’ It should incorporate robust bearings that are capable of a high load carrying capacity.
- Machine mounting options: Find out from the machine supplier if it can be mounted vertically, horizontally or upside down.
- Base legs: Internally mounted flange facing machines use legs to clamp the machine into position. Some are available using just 4 legs, but while these may be slightly quicker to set up, they are much more at risk of being less stable.
- Auto-axial feed: A flange facing machine incorporating this feature reduces the need for continued manual adjustment making additional operations such as boring and counter-boring much easier.
- What accessories are available? If you are taking the time to specify the correct machine you should also look at the available add-ons. Examples include attachments for machining compact flanges, measuring kits for use when machining RTJs and kits to convert the machine for orbital milling and valve seat machining.
- Gears and speeds: How much control does the machine give you? Some cheaper machines are less easy to adjust and rely on the ‘trial and error’ method of the operator varying the power input.
- Tool post design: Does this rotate to allow more machining operations? And how simple is it to change the cutting tools?
- Set up time: Time is money, so a machine which can be deployed quickly may sound very attractive, but don’t sacrifice stability or accuracy in favour of saving just a couple of extra minutes set up time.
- Skill level: How much expertise is required to set up and operate the machine? Will the manufacturer provide training if needed?
- Safety How safe is the machine to operate? For example, is there a risk of getting trapped by moving parts? Choosing a machine with a vertically mounted motor (instead of horizontal) may be safer to operate. Also, check if all switches and controls are easy to reach.
- Flexibility: Can many machining jobs be carried out without the need for add-ons such as extra tool posts?
- Service: What happens if a problem arises? Will you get support from the machine manufacturer who has the specialist product knowledge?
- Spares: Before committing to a purchase, check on the availability, pricing and lead times of spare parts.
- Availability: What are the lead times from receipt of order? Flange facing machines are not usually custom built and are held in the manufacturer stock, often at several locations throughout the world.
- Maintenance: Flange facing machines need very little maintenance, typically just lubrication and cleaning. Manufacturers can normally help out if more thorough maintenance is needed.
Find out more by downloading the flange facing machine buyer’s guide, or if you prefer to discuss your options please click here to get in touch.