There’s an old saying among machinists and mechanics – You must take care of that which takes care of you. Nothing could be more true when it comes to CNC machines and their care and upkeep. The high-tolerance, high-speed world CNC machines operate in demands a higher degree of care and attention be paid to the machinery at all times. Down-time due to maintenance failures isn’t acceptable along with incorrect dimensional output or poor surface quality. Paying attention to the CNC machinery when it isn’t working turns out to be just as important as when it is working. Time, money, and effort spent supporting proper CNC operation is a wise investment in the future.
Like Nothing Else
When it comes to complex, multi-directional, techno-fantastic equipment, there are few other machines in a production environment or machining shop that are equal. Computer applications, tools, lubricants, tolerances, and a host of other criteria go into every move a CNC machine makes. What once was considered a “wonder” when CNC was applied to milling machines is now an absolutely amazing step into the next century. CNC machinists will tell you the secret to a successful product run is preventative maintenance combined with operating and post-operation maintenance.
Trained CNC repair technicians are useful when a failure occurs but it’s up to the on-site CNC machine operator to take care of everything else. That means getting a little training from the CNC manufacturer and having a keen eye, keen ear, and keen instincts when it comes to spotting potential issues. Routine CNC maintenance augmented by preventative steps to head off common problems can mean the difference between a running production line and a bunch of people standing around with nothing to do. Knowledge is available via the manufacturer, the dealer, and the internet – all you need to do is go looking.
Talk Isn’t Cheap
To improve CNC efficiency you need to gossip. Talking with other CNC machinists, particularly those who use similar equipment under similar conditions, can be not only enlightening, it can also be necessary. The experiences others gain from using similar CNC equipment will only help improve the output of your CNC machines. Attending training sessions sponsored by the manufacturer can produce dividends on the production floor. Networking with other CNC professionals provides a platform for solving problems, reducing downtime, and making a profit instead of taking a loss.
Top to bottom, front to back, and everywhere in between, operators, supervisors, managers, and owners all need to understand the value improved and preventative maintenance brings to the game. When a CNC machine runs properly and efficiently, customers are happier, workers are happier, and the company accountant is happier too. But it takes a united effort from the top down to ensure CNC efficiency is maintained at the highest possible level. CNC machinists must have access to information, technicians, and a network that will support their efforts at every turn or else disaster can strike at any time. If you want to keep your shop and equipment running at peak performance, check out our preventative maintenance services for CNC equipment!