Like with anything, preventative maintenance can prevent costly mistakes. When it comes to CNC machining maintenance, it’s no different. How many times have you been too lazy to look after something, knowing that its lifespan will be decreased? Perhaps you ignore the engine management light on your car and don’t take it in for a service and oil change. CNC machines are no different and they need maintaining.
There are plenty of reasons that you may ignore CNC machine maintenance in the same way you ignore the engine light on your car. Being without your car for a day is inconvenient, and having one machine out of order can often put a stop to your entire production line. What’s for sure however that preventative CNC milling and turning machine maintenance is a must. Below are some tips that will ensure your machines work for longer and always provide the very highest caliber parts.
Daily CNC Machining Maintenance
Some quick tasks you should carry out each day include checking the hydraulic pressure and the fluids to make sure that they are at the correct operating levels. At the same time you should check the chuck pressure, and lubrication level. Your cooling system should also be checked, and your chips cleaned out from the chip pan. Any parts that need to be greased should be greased daily. Your machine should be wiped down daily, and the filter should be cleaned at least once every 40 hours.
Periodic CNC machining maintenance should be carried out every 500 hours or 3 months. Checks necessary include checking the chain on the chip conveyor, and greasing where possible. The filters on the coolant tank should also be checked and cleaned.
Every 1000 hours there are some more preventative maintenance measures that need to be carried out. These are generally carried out by a maintenance engineer or your distributor. The coolant tank of your machine will be cleaned for oil, chips, and sludge. The chuck and jaws will be removed from your machine and cleaned thoroughly. The hydraulic oil will be changed and the tank will be cleaned and drained. Whilst empty, the suction and line filters should also be changed. The radiator will be cleaned at this stage and checks will be made to insure the fins are straight.
The lubrication unit should be cleaned and drained as part of your 6 monthly CNC maintenance. If you have a cooling unit, this should also be drained and refilled. The leveling of your machine will be checked, and adjustments made when necessary. Wipers will be inspected for damage and changed where necessary.
Every 2000 hours there is more preventative CNC machine maintenance that needs to be carried out. Once again this will be done by an engineer or by your distributor. The headstock of your machine will be examined and checked for taper. The spindle will be examined to check if there is any radial or end play. The chuck cylinder will also be checked for run out and the tailstock for taper. Parallelism and inclination of the turret will be examined. Your distributor or engineer will also run programmes to check the X, Y, and Z axes.
All this preventative maintenance is necessary to ensure the smooth running of your machinery. Although you may not appreciate the downtime, it is a small price to pay for the increased productivity and longevity your machine will enjoy.
Whether you are a hobbyist machinist or the owner of a company that uses CNC machines, the basics for preventative maintenance remain the same. Although the same importance to produce high quality parts may not exist when you work as a hobbyist, you still want to prolong the life of your machinery and create parts that are of the very highest standards. With preventative maintenance, your hobbyist machine will last you not just years but decades. Follow the basis for the hours of time the machine has been used as opposed to the number of months, and your preventative maintenance for home machines will only be required once every few years.