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Thursday 19 September 2019
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Machine Maintenance

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your CNC machine, it is imperative that the machine is tended to and kept in good condition. This helps to prolong your machine’s life and avoid issues which could result in costly remedies or lost production time. Here are some examples of maintenance which should be carried out daily, intermittently, or annually.

Check the hydraulic fluid levels and the hydraulic pressure (it should be at a consistent level of 4.5 MPa to be at optimal functioning level). It is also important to inspect the chuck pressure level and its level of lubrication. Whilst performing these checks, also examine the cooling system, clean out the chip pan and also clean the filter. These checks should be performed on a daily basis, and although they’re only small checks – they all really benefit the overall functionality of the machine.

Next up are the intermittent checks – these need not be carried out as often as the daily tasks, but every quarter it is suggested that the coolant tank filter should be checked and cleaned, as well as checking the chip conveyor chain to make sure that it is well greased. Then, the following checks should be carried out every 6 months or so. It is recommended that the hydraulic oil tank should be drained, cleaned and then refilled with fresh oil. The coolant tank should be checked and any sludge, oil and chips should be cleaned out. Wipers should be cleaned and inspected for damage – any damaged wipers should be replaced. The chuck and jaws should be removed and thoroughly cleaned, along with the radiator. When cleaning the radiator be sure to check that the fins are straight. Finally, make sure the suction and line filters are changed and check the CNC machines’ levelling.

The last list of checks only need to be carried out on an annual basis such as checking the spindle for end play, inspecting the chuck cylinder for run out and the tailstock. As well as these, the turret should be inspected to gauge the inclination and parallelism and ensure both of these variables are optimal. Finally, a distributor or engineer should carry out a blacklash programme for the z and z axis.

Last, but not least, be sure to keep a record of all the maintenance which is carried out. Not only does it help to know what has been carried out by whom and when to be sure of who to ask about recent maintenance or to check when next services should be carried out, it can also be extremely beneficial for insurance purposes. If you are offering CNC machining services make sure your CNC machine is ensured and you will be able to make a claim, it could help your case massively if you have a detailed chronological record of what has been done with your CNC machine, as evidence of it being well looked after.