Douglas Rizzo is training coordinator at Doosan Infracore America Machine Tools. Click image to enlargeby Douglas Rizzo

Your machine tool can last decades if you take care of it

Everyone in the shop remembers the day when the new CNC arrives. The riggers, the trucks, the people, the giant crate, the commotion, and the expectation. The new machine is uncrated, placed in position, leveled, wired, and ready to produce.

That beautiful, new, CNC machine tool, will, however, need some attention and with surprisingly little effort, can retain all of those wonderful qualities it had when new, throughout the years. A quality CNC machine tool can last 30 to 40 years, if given just a little preventative maintenance (PM) and care.

We break down basic operator PM into three categories: fans, filters, fluids. I’ll add a fourth, cleanliness.

• Fans: Most CNC’s have quite a few fans throughout their construction. When you power up, you can hear them running, and many times as you go through the power up sequence, you’ll hear more of them coming online. These fans are running at high speeds and move a huge quantity of air. Their function is critical. They are also widely overlooked, until bad things happen. We suggest these fans be checked casually every time the machine is fired, when the operator does a “walk around” but more closely inspected on a monthly basis. They should be kept clean of dirt and sludge to allow proper flow and replaced immediately when they fail. It’s much cheaper to replace a ball bearing fan than a CNC memory board that’s burned up from heat.

• Filters: Many fans on a machine tool will have a filter somewhere upstream. Some do not. Most of these filters are a nylon mesh, and are removable. We recommend these filters get cleaned once a month in normal shop conditions, or more often in extremely harsh environments. You will see just how fast they get plugged with coolant sludge, dust, and other particulates. Once plugged, the fans begin to pull harder and flow less, temperatures rise and the system comes under stress. In the summer, this can lead to an overheat condition or even a system failure. Remove the filter and clean it monthly at the least. Clean filters in the sink under running, cold tap water. No detergents, solvents, or chemicals are needed. Just cold water. Dry with dry, compressed air, and replace. Your CNC will be much happier. You may notice that some air inlets or fans do not have a filter. In those cases, placing some hand cut furnace filter from the hardware store in front of the air inlet/fan will increase fan life and cleanliness. When the furnace filter is dirty, remove and replace. It’s a lot easier than trying to clean an inaccessible fan or air duct.

• Fluids: The fluids in your CNC machine tool are its lifeblood. I’ve been amazed at the lack of attention this gets and the incredible amount of trouble, damage and even catastrophic failure that can result when fluids in a machine tool are ignored. The fluids in your machine have a finite life. They need to be changed and topped off. I’ve seen hydraulic systems so badly gummed that the pumps failed and lines had to be removed and purged to get the heavy scum out. Changing hydraulic fluid once a year will prevent this from happening. Cleaning strainers and filters will do a lot too. Use the correct fluid recommended by the manufacturer and use a brand name fluid. The added cost is due to proper chemical composition that can mean life or death for seals, pumps, motors and bearings. The same goes for Waylube systems. Even these, which get topped off regularly, need to have the tanks cleaned every so often to keep sludge from building up, plus, many have filters or strainers in them which need attention on a yearly basis. Coolants are critical too. Coolant that begins to “turn” will change Ph and destroy paint, rubber, seals, wiring and even bearing surfaces.

• Cleanliness: This is one area that even large, big name shops, skimp on. Cleaning the outside of the machine with some Simple Green or similar cleaner and a clean, soft, disposable towel will keep the machine looking good for customers, keep the shop looking straight for employees and help the machine tool retain value, as it won’t look like it was just pulled from the bottom of a river. Clean the inside with WD-40 or similar and the same can be said. I never leave chips or swarf on tables, turrets, or way surfaces. It can cause corrosion, staining, and surface damage. I recommend a soft paint brush to push the chips off into the pan. Pay attention to machining centre tool changers and lathe turrets. They can build up sludge and result in erratic operation. A simple cleaning and penetrating lube can keep them trouble free for years. SMT

Douglas Rizzo is training coordinator at Doosan Infracore America Machine Tools.

 

$49 M for Quebec car parts maker

Raufoss Canada, a subsidisary of Norwegian manufacturer Neuman Aluminum, is investing $49 million to retrofit and expand production at its Broisbriand, QC, plant.

Adding Capabilities

by Kip Hanson

Industry association supports skills training for youth

The Canadian Tooling and Machining Association (CTMA) is launching two skills training programs for youth to help fill the skilled trades gap in Canada: the Introductory Trades Training program and the Ontario Manufacturing Learning Consortium, a partnership initiative between CTMA, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), Ontario Aerospace Council (OAC) and the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI).

Mazak to open tech centre in Edmonton

Mazak Corp. Canada will in September 2020 open a new technical centre in Edmonton, Alta. 

$40 M for advanced manufacturing in Ontario

The Ontario government has announced it plans to invest $40 million in advanced manufacturing inititatives in Ontario. The funding is part of a broader provincial $400 million Business Growth Initiative aimed at supporting Ontario's shift towards a high growth innovation economy.

Revisiting Free Trade

US President Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again and part of his plan is to rip up free trade agreements and bring manufacturing back into the US.

Breaking the Mould

by Michael Ouellette

Introducing Jeanine Lassaline-Berglund, the first ever president of CAMM, and how she sees CAMM and Automate Canada’s role in helping the mould, tool and die sector bounce back from an incredibly tough two years.

Tech Tips: Machine effects on a formed section

by Jack Pennuto Jr.

Roll forming machines impact process quality

Calculated risk

by Kip Hanson

The Problem: Machining capabilities come up short with larger part orders

The Solution: New larger and more flexible machine tool

Ontario machine shop takes a gamble on new equipment

New attraction at CMTS 2013

Canada’s national manufacturing event, the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS), is returning to the airport after 14 years in downtown Toronto and celebrating the return with a new attraction.

Cutting Tools Tech Tips: A Simple Hack to Improve Shop Profitability

by Jim O’Leary

Don’t overlook important elements to optimize machine tool efficiencies

Financing must innovate

by Tim Wilson

Strategies to access money to improve your business

There is a lot of talk these days about innovation, but there is also some confusion as to how this might apply to financing in the manufacturing sector.

Machining small

by Kip Hanson

Why average sized machining centres provide lower than average results when milling small workpieces

Fabricating Tech Tips: 3 Ways to reduce material handling

by Josh Hill

Move parts through welding stations more efficiently

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn