North Yorkshire cabinetmaker Kendall & Sons says it has made a 50% financial saving by replacing the control unit on its ageing Bridgeport machine.

Kendall managing director Phil Kendall said the retrofit of a Heidenhain TNC 320 analogue CNC unit to an ageing Bridgeport Series 1 Interact knee mill was a “no-brainer”.

“Compared to buying new, the retrofit option was at least 50% cheaper,” he said, “and because the Interact is mechanically sound and accurate – and is only used occasionally – I really couldn’t justify the expense of a new milling machine.”

Kendall required the new CNC system, supplied by Worcester-based SDH Controls & Services, to integrate with its existing SolidWorks and Alphacam CAD/CAM and post-processing technologies.

The original 25-year-old 155 control system was unplugged and the Heidenhain unit fitted in its place.

“Because the machine was mechanically sound and the electrics were OK, it was a case of simply replacing the old control system and pendant, and taking care of the interface wiring, to add a CNC with far more processing power and program memory,” said SDH’s Simon Hopkins.

Kendall’s Bridgeport mill is a support machine for machining operations that focus on a pair of SCM five-axis Accord and Actionline Prima woodworking routers. These produce high-quality cabinets for one of the world’s leading audio manufacturers, as well as a range of furniture, especially desks and workstations, supplied to schools and universities.

The company has been based at the same Easingwold site since 1903, when it started as a wheelwrights. It specialises in curved wood (stressed skin) workpieces.