7 Ways to Improve CNC Machine Maintenance
Many newer cars have maintenance reminders built in that alert owners when it’s time for routine services like oil changes, which is a great convenience. Surprisingly, having this feature doesn’t keep some drivers from putting off servicing the vehicle until problems arise. True, you still must make the appointment and then either wait, or leave and arrange for someone to take you back to pick up the vehicle. However most of us realize that it’s important to protect this major investment, and that preventative maintenance is less costly and less inconvenient than dealing with a breakdown.
In the same way, having a sound preventative maintenance program for your CNC machines prevents costly repairs and downtime. Yet too many shops are not consistent in maintaining their equipment. Sure, we’re all busy and we don’t want to interrupt production unnecessarily, however it really doesn’t take that much time to properly maintain your machine tools, and it’s far less interruptive and costly than when a machine goes down.
Not sure if your machines are being properly maintained? Here are a few preventative maintenance basics you should employ:
- Establish a schedule. Just as with an automobile, your machine tools come with documentation including routine maintenance guidelines. Use this information to create your own maintenance checklist and schedule. Then assign it to the appropriate individual.
- Designate someone to oversee the shop’s preventative maintenance program and hold them accountable. This person doesn’t necessarily need to perform the maintenance, but rather insure that it’s done. This may include having machine operators or other designated personnel turn in weekly checklists showing that they have performed the required tasks.
- Train your people on proper maintenance techniques, or have your machine tool supplier conduct the training. This training includes what needs to be done and when, but also reminds machine operators and maintenance people about simple but important issues such as making sure the fill cap is replaced after adding lubricant, or not removing a filtering screen so contaminants don’t shorten the life of your machines.
- Periodically check machines for signs of abuse or misuse. Pushing a machine tool beyond its capabilities can dramatically shorten its life, or at the least will require more frequent maintenance.
- Keep a small inventory of routine replacement parts, such as way wipers on hand. Your supplier can help you determine which parts to stock. This will enable you to keep a machine operating at peak efficiency, and prevent damage if a part wears out.
- Just like the maintenance reminders on automobiles, there are APPs available for some machine tools that alert the operator when service is required. Gosiger can even create custom APPs for Okuma machines.
- If all of this seems too overwhelming for your shop, contact Gosiger Technical Service to learn about custom tailored preventative maintenance packages that will save you time and money. With over 90 years of machine tool experience, no one is better equipped to keep your CNC machines running smoothly.