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Emergency Troubleshooting & Retrofit of Obsolete 60" Roll Lathe

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A Midwestern steel industry manufacturer’s roll lathe stopped working. The lathe was critical to the operation of the hot mill and further downtime was not acceptable. The situation was further complicated by lack of current hydraulic and electrical diagrams. The lathe manufacturer had not been in business for over 20 years. The lathe had undergone a previous automation retrofit and the prints were incomplete and the vendor was no longer in operation. Many components were obsolete.


  • An exhaustive study of the application was done. Including all component specifications.
  • The equipment was observed in operation and production and maintenance personnel were consulted as correct operation sequence functions were determined.
  • A course of action which included:
    • Identification of failed components
    • Upgrade in filtration
    • Creation of a complete hydraulic schematic.
    • Creation of a bill of material that identified obsolete components and listed replacements that were functionally interchangeable. Where component interface and dimensional conformity required system alteration, it was delineated along with required action.
  • Maintenance and production personnel were trained in the function, proper maintenance and troubleshooting procedures of all components.


  • Machine was back on line in three days.
  • Machine operates better than anyone can ever remember.