To optimize machine tool performance, uptime, and utilization, having a healthy way lube system is essential.
By Mike Hampton, business development specialist, Okuma
A machine tool’s way lube system is designed to regulate lubrication flow and properly allocate the correct volume of lubricant to essential sliding components. If you are questioning your way lube system, here are five things to keep an eye on to give you the peace of mind that your system has a clean bill of health.
1. ANALYZE THE MACHINE TOOL’S ALARM HISTORY
The first step to ensuring your way lube system is healthy is to analyze your machine tool’s alarm history. By looking at recent alarms, you will better understand any issues that may have existed previously in the way lube system that went unchecked. This may point you in the right direction where to start looking for a potential issue.
2. CHECK THE PUMP
If you notice the way lube level in the tank is not moving, the first place to start is the pump. More than likely, the pump has burned out and is no longer pushing lubricant throughout the system. One easy way to check this is to ensure the pump is getting power during the cycle. After you’ve confirmed the pump is under power, a visual check of the motor rotation will verify if it is running.
3. INSPECT YOUR FILTER AND METERING VALVES
If your system is using way lube but not enough volume based on the hours the machine is operating, it is time to inspect your filter and metering valves. In most cases, the filter is a small circular wafer and should be changed during every preventive maintenance cycle. If the filter gets clogged, it will restrict the flow of lubricant through the system. The same thing can happen to metering valves that are located in terminal blocks throughout the system. It is best practice to inspect, clean, and change if needed during preventive maintenance.
4. INSPECT FLUID LINES FOR LEAKS
If your system is using an excessive volume of way lube, it is possible it is escaping the system somewhere. This could possibly be identified by a quick visual inspection. Checking for cracked lines, loose fittings, and loose connections in the metering valves at the terminal blocks may quickly solve your problem.
5. INSPECT THE WAY LUBE TYPE AND CONDITION
To ensure that proper lubrication is being delivered to the essential components of the machine tool, it’s essential to make sure you’re using the type of way lube that is specified in your operation and maintenance manual. After verifying the type is correct, make sure the color is accurate and that the tank is free of debris. If you’re unsure whether your way lube is the correct color and debris-free, we highly recommend you flush out your system and replace the filter.
By following the five steps listed above, your way lube system should be operating effectively and correctly. Performing the described tips will help you protect your asset, prevent unknown disasters, maintain performance levels, and extend the lifespan of your machine tool.