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How (and Why) We Support Our Oldest Machines

There are roughly 60,000 active CINCINNATI machines in the wild. When a call comes in for a particular part on a machine, we go back to the original machine drawing. If it’s a machine that was built this century, it’s a relatively simple task. But if the machine was born, say, sometime around the Great Depression, it’s a different story.

Simply Put: We Support Everything
If a CINCINNATI machine is still active, we support it. It doesn’t matter if it was made in 1927 or 2018. When a call comes in for a particular part, we go back to the original machine drawing and confirm the part the needs to be changed.   

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To locate the drawings for our oldest machines, we have to head to the archives.

What exactly are the archives, you ask? Well think of the Dewey Decimel System. Some of the handwritten cards in our storage racks have a date stamp from as far back as 1920, sorted by machine model and serial number. The paper is still legible and still useful for keeping our oldest machines running. We have also microfilmed and digitized most of the info contained in the archives to ensure its permanence.

The challenge occurs with older machines. Some working CINCINNATI machines are so old that replacement parts that were made on older machines are no longer in operation at CI. 

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Let’s say the gear hobber that we used to make gears is no longer in operation. But you need a gear now. In this case, we might sub-contract the work locally to have that part made. Some of the parts may have been cast, which might mean the castings are no longer available because the patterns are gone.  In which case, the alternative would be to machine it out of a big hunk of steel. That machining process would then need to be subcontracted, because we may not have the proper machine for the job. Last but not least, we will go as far as to re-engineer a part to get your machine up and running again. 

So Why Go To All That Trouble?
First, it’s a fun challenge! We love knowing that machines are still running despite being nearly a century old. It speaks to the quality of CINCINNATI machines, and if it takes just one part to keep it going, we’re going to do it. 

Now, supporting a machine that old is not an easy task, and it’s not always cheap. Thankfully, our customers are well aware and are more than willing to be patient until the fix is made.

A recent development for these cases is CI Parts Department’s Online Store.  There are now CI parts available to purchase, starting with high consumables. We’re currently working to enhance the content of each of the parts in the store, much like the information available to you when you shop on Amazon. Ideally, you’ll have all the information you need to make sure you’re buying the correct part for your machine.

But the biggest reason we go to the trouble of supporting every CINCINNATI machine, no matter its age: It’s just good business. By staying dedicated to support in the parts department, customers often will reciprocate when it’s time to buy a new machine. We’ll always go the extra mile, especially if it gives us an excuse to dive into the archives.