Signs of a CNC spindle going bad
In CNC machine parlance, the spindle on a CNC machine is both its strength and its weakness at the same time. When bearings or other components in a spindle assembly start malfunctioning, it’s time to shut down and figure out what’s happening or there could be even more diasters to follow. This article is being provided to outline various defects, distortions, and downright confounding complications that can occur when you have a CNC spindle going bad.
Diagnosing CNC spindle malfunctions
If you actually make the calculations to determine exactly how many different problems can occur with a CNC machine spindle, you’d end up with a number around a million. Think about how many different computer systems, equipment, connections, sensors, and power settings are being utilized in a CNC spindle while it’s working.
It staggers the imagination to think of all the potential issues and what it takes to diagnose CNC spindle malfunctions and yet, as a CNC operator, that’s exactly what’s required. Troubleshooting problems with CNC spindles can take time, but it’s worth every second when you consider what the alternative could be.
Here are a few more common CNC spindle problems:
- Spindle runs backward
- Spindle jerks and vibrates
- VFD keeps tripping off
- Spindle freezes
- High temperature
- Spindle suddenly stops for no apparent reason
- Air leaks
- Clamping malfunction
- Broken fingers on tool changer
- Spindle not releasing
- Sensor malfunction
- Radial load failure
- Axial load failure
- Poor tool balance
- Actuator piston timing failure
- Tool won’t release
- Tool slippage
- Low power to tool
Signs your CNC spindle is going bad
As the CNC tool spindle begins to wear, certain indicators become apparent. A CNC operator should keep an eye out for these issues (as well as keeping an ear out and a finger on the pulse as the machine operates). In some cases, it is an operator’s keen awareness his machine isn’t right that indicates a problem exists before a production issue is noticed.
Here are a few different signs operators should be aware of during production that can help troubleshoot CNC spindle problems:
- Unusual vibration – Minor vibrations lead to larger, more damaging problems. A certain amount of vibration is to be expected but when an operator feels an unusual amount of vibration the machine should be shut down immediately and inspected.
- Weird noise – Sound is a good indicator of performance and when things don’t sound right, they usually aren’t right. Listening to CNC functions and hearing squeaks or squeals is not a good thing and should be investigated thoroughly before continuing with production.
- High temperatures – Taking a CNC machine’s temperature may sound a little bizarre but it’s really not. CNC spindles should run somewhere between cool and warm to the touch. If the temperature exceeds that range, the spindle needs to be serviced for loose bearings or other causes of friction.
- Bad finishes – Rough edges, chaffing surfaces, and broken workpieces are all indicators of a CNC spindle having excessive wear or poor contact with tools and should be corrected immediately before more damage occurs to workpieces or the CNC machine.
- Spindle mouth deterioration – Tools being shoved in and out of a spindle cause wear on the surfaces resulting in poor tool transfer and unstable tool retention.
- Damage inside tool holders – All the tools being inserted and removed can cause internal damage that is difficult to view and diagnose. Inspection by qualified technicians should be done if this is suspected.
2 | SPEED
No, we’re no advocating screaming at the top of your lungs when you suspect problems with a CNC spindle. What we’re advocating is a high awareness of potential issues and fast reaction times when it’s clear something isn’t right. The time, money, frustration, damaged workpieces, and interruptions to production that occur when CNC spindles fail can be avoided by implementing conscientious preventative and regular maintenance routines.
When problems are encountered it is recommended you contact your CNC machine manufacturer’s local service technicians immediately. They can help troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair any problems quickly and get the CNC machine back into production making money and not losing money.
When in doubt, give us a shout!
The time, money, frustration, damaged workpieces, and interruptions to production that occur when CNC spindles fail can be avoided by implementing conscientious preventative and regular CNC preventative maintenance routines.
When problems are encountered it is recommended you contact your CNC machine manufacturer’s local CNC service technicians immediately. They can help troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair any problems quickly and get the CNC machine back into production making money and not losing money.