SINUMERIK – rugged for tough environments

SINUMERIK CNC equipment packages – ruggedness has top priority

Highly dynamic axis motion under load for high precision workpieces, maximum spindle power for the highest possible cutting volumes: Machining operation is tough on motors and drives on machine tools – and the going gets even tougher when it comes to harsh industrial environments and tropical climates. This is why CNC equipment must be extremely rugged. As one of the pioneers and globally active machine equipper, Siemens fully understands this environment – and for decades now has maximized the ruggedness of its CNC equipment based on a continuous improvement process.

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Design for Quality

Rugged motors, drives and control devices for machining environments

The ruggedness of CNC equipment defines the availability of machine tools. Siemens is focusing on continually increasing the ruggedness of the ...

  • Power electronics of the drives
  • Feed and main spindle motors

Their design is commensurate with their extreme application conditions.

Stress factors – climate, air pollution, ...

The power electronics in the control cabinet, for example: In tropical climates they have to cope with high temperature and humidity levels. Frequently, climate control systems that are set to very low temperature levels result in significant levels of condensation. Drive components are subject to extreme climatic conditions including air pollution, e.g. dust, pollen and oil mist.

... Supply system, coolant and lubricating media

The voltage and frequency fluctuations in the line supply – which occur frequently in tropical areas – along with the undefined grounding situation, represent an additional challenge, specifically for the infeed and energy recovery modules of the drives.


Feed and main spindle motors, together with their cabling, must be resistant to moisture and aggressive coolant-lubricating media. Touch operating panels of the CNC controls are frequently exposed to critical substances such as these – but reliable operation still remains absolutely crucial.

Developed for worst-case scenarios

Operation under worst case scenarios such as these is a fundamental part of the specifications when it comes to developing hardware. Drive electronics, spindle and feed motors as well as the CNC electronics have to comply with high quality specifications: Modules used in Sinumerik 828D CNCs must be able to operate completely without wearing parts (for instance, fans). And in the meantime, state-of-the-art memory technology means that buffer batteries are no longer required.

System tests under real application conditions

System tests represent an important step when developing CNC equipment. These system tests are always performed under real application conditions – wherever possible, challenging conditions. The shopfloor environments of companies operating machine tools are simulated, and the results flow into a continuous improvement process to secure maximum ruggedness of the drive and control technology.

Production for Quality

"Design for Quality" is complemented by "Production for Quality". The first important step in achieving this is consequentially certifying all suppliers. Here, nothing is left to chance. Every purchased part must comply with extremely high requirements.

Challenging pilot applications and load tests embedded in series production

Before new components are released for series production, they must prove themselves under real application conditions. To achieve this, we work closely with pilot customers whose production landscape represents the most challenging environmental conditions possible.


During fabrication, the drive power electronics is subject to load tests as part of the series production work, comparable with those encountered when the machine is used in the field.


By applying these measures, early failures when subsequently used in real machines are largely ruled out.

Continuous quality improvement process

Other measures support and supplement the component design and quality assurance in production, aligned to achieve a high degree of quality and ruggedness. They are firmly embedded in a continuous improvement process.

Focused search on identifying other potential for improvement

Long-term pilot customers, assessment of returned products, "blackbox" and use in our own factories

The quality of equipment components installed in the field is permanently tracked and evaluated together with large long-term pilot customers that operate globally. Here, if a component fails, then every returned product is critically assessed – for quality-sensitive modules, even down to the component level. Electronic modules equipped with a type of "black box" capture this valuable information: Operating states and fault messages are permanently saved. This state is also consequentially evaluated to continually improve the ruggedness of our components and the quality of their production.


Siemens not only manufactures CNC equipment, but it also uses machine tools in its own factories. This is why quality assurance is an integral part of all phases of the product lifecycle of our components. Extending from development through production up to using products in the field – and beyond.

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