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Suggestions Kongsberg/Esko cutter bad experience, speed and power problems, technical issues



We have Esko/Kongsberg X44 from 2019. That’s all my experiment. I would be interested in other opinions and experiences. We have many technical issues, but the main problem is with the manufacturers lying about speed and spindle power.

The machine is ok when it works. When it works… Maybe good for home/hobby use, when you have enough time and money to “burn”.

But, when you have a company, and you want to produce and you made so big investments, that’s not right, that any manufacturer lying about the machine's real performance... In this case, the manufacturer is not a cheap Asian company, but rather an old, famous company (I think before...). Before I buy this machine, I checked only the main famous manufacturer, that has local distributor/service: Summa, Zünd, and Esko/Kongsberg.
When you want to buy a machine, you compare the different machines, as the performance data too. For example the maximum speed and maximum spindle power. I have evidence, that Kongsberg promises 66% more speed and 50% more spindle performance than machines really have! I don't check the acceleration until now... maybe that's less too. This is key performance information! Its effect directly the productivity!!! When you buy a machine, and that machine can produce about half the speed that you expected that’s a huge impact on your business!!! Please see some video about productivity from Titan Gilroy/Titans of CNC, and how impact your business and the performance of the machine. From this perspective far, the not the best option is the Kongsberg! When you use the machine for 10-15 years, you have about 250 working days in a year, 8 hours in a day. You have 20000-30000 hours in the machine's lifetime. Everybody knows their own “overhead” costs, make a little calculation of how much money you wasted because of the less speed and power. Let's not be strict. Say, that we wasted 20% of the time, not 50-66%. Count with 20 USD/hour overhead cost. 30000 hrs*0,3= 9000 hrs, 20000*0,3=6000 hrs. 9000 × 20 USD= 180.000 USD, 6000 × 20 USD = 120.000 USD. You lose even 180.000 USD in the lifetime of the machine because of the speed and power!!! And you think that buy and pay for a machine with more speed and power than you have! That’s a huge difference and impact on your business! Ok, you say, not every material can handle the maximum speed and power. Especially we could use the X44 maximum speed (50m/min), and we want to cut gaskets. Earlier I checked the C type with 100 m/min, but we make calculations, for us the price/given performance would have been appropriate. Except for the price, I would have liked the Zünd better, but for the same speed (as then look like) the less price “gave the decision”. ☹

That’s the Kongsberg speeds that I become at the end of the factory:

Y- direction
Max spd
Konsbgerg X-starter
Kongsberg X
Kongsberg C-edge
Kongsberg C

The explanation from Kongsberg to the max. spd.: when all X and Y axis runs at the same time with the maximum speed of the head/tool moves with this speed. Their work on these ridiculous answers about 2-3 months… I ask, what is with the Z axis speed? Why don’t give it to the calculation? According to their explanation, the machine can achieve the maximum speed (what is in the technical specification) only in ONE direction. Ok, in the reality it’s 4 directions locked at 45 degrees to each other. When you need to produce only squares it’s ok, but I think for that work the machine is too expensive!

I think that the Volkswagen diesel scandal broke out because of much less than that. Think about it. If the catalog of Volksvagen or rather a production machine, for example, a truck, said that the maximum speed of the car/truck is 90 km/h and based on that you buy it to produce with it. And then it turns out that he doesn't bring the burial. When you ask the manufacturer, he says that the car/truck can achieve the specified speed, but only on a 20-degree slope to the north direction, otherwise it only goes 57 Km/h in all other directions at most...

It's interesting when we buy our Summa S2T vinyl cutter that time the manufacturers give two speeds: 1000 mm/sec and 1414 mm/sec diagonal. And now as I see they give only one: “Speed Up to 141 cm/sec diagonal”. But they write next to it: DIAGONAL. You can ask when you don’t understand what it means.

The machine has many other technical issues! The most annoying thing is that it is not in the main (structural) elements and fundamentals in controller program, but in smaller details. For example, many-many times stop the machine (saying fuse issue, change the fuse). And at the end, we figured out that the fuse house is so cheap, poor, that the spring inside is made not from flexible, strong steel but rather soft steel, that can’t press properly the fuse to the contactors. The electrical specialist says that the problem can cause a fire!

We have many problems with vacuum valves, which control the vacuum table zones. Our machine has 6 or 7 of them. I noticed, that slowly need to increase the power for the vacuum pump. We have a 12 kW vacuum pump with a closed loop/ frequency converter. Initially was enough about 3-4kW power for the same (about -0,2 bar) vacuum, and ~1 year later need 8-10kW and constantly increasing. I noticed more and more sucking noise from inside/under the machine, we found the reason why/where the vacuum goes away. One day when we cleaned the vacuum filter, we found several Teflon rings inside. That’s sucked from poorly designed valves. We must disassemble all the valves, and redesign/fix the valves. Now works well. The dealer says, that the valves must be changed, they can't fix it. Later we brought a new SwissQprint printer, that has its own vacuum table/system. There are good quality valves inside, not cheap ones. Obviously, the Kongbergs valves are not for everyday use. Sometimes the valves must switch in our case 50-100 times a day when we in production. We say for the reseller, what for we need the machine, every day producing gaskets.
When I count how much electricity is wasted in this issue is in the machine's lifetime (when you don’t have good ears, and you don’t have an inverter and you don’t watch the energy consumption and don’t repair/change the valves regularly) …20000-50000 USD!!! Because of poorly designed valves! Changing the valves always cost a lot, lot more that a good valve for a lifetime.

Another problem. The machines don’t have dust-sealed optical encoders!!! Of course, you make dust with such a machine! Normally the machine's electronic can sense the dust inside and stop the machine (the encoder gives incremental and index signals). Maybe we don’t have luck in this case. Thanks to the poor assembly, one “pop stud” fell out from the casing's top, and fall inside the controller circuit. Maybe a few months "rolled" a small metal particle inside freely in/on the controller electronic. One day during milling, the machine slowly lose its Z position, milled through the expensive conveyor belt, and pushed the cutting tool to the vacuum table. Crushed the spindle to… The service confirmed, that the dust cause a problem inside the encoder, but the machine should have stopped. But don’t. He changed a few electronic boards, the spindle, and the Z servo motor with the encoder, and I wrapped the encoders from the outside with adhesive tapes to avoid from dust. But in the end, the conveyor doesn’t change. We glued on the conveyor the 2 pcs, about 80 mm holes. I say to the distributor/service when the electronic is repaired and checked, works well, only after changing the conveyor avoid to ruin again the new one, when the problem appears again. And until now cannot prove, that now works well! They said the manufacturer close the case. We need to be observed this during production to avoid these 2 deformities on the conveyor and avoid producing scrap!

It's only a few problems. I don’t say, that problems should not appear, but the big question is how to handle the problems of the manufacturer/distributor/service. The way how Kongsberg do the worst that I met. We have many other machines, we have issues, but the service/distributors and at the end the manufacturer solve the problem, improve their product. That’s a good way. When I have time, I write more details if you are interested. Have you any similar experience with Kongsberg?
ps.: sorry my English, I never learn the language, but I decided, that I must write in English to access more people who have the same experience.

Please ask when anything not clearly explained/described. Thank you, Zsolt from Hungary/Europe