Computer Numerical Control Milling machines – also dubbed as the CNC Mill – works through removing excess parts from a material and comes in two variants: The Horizontal and Vertical Milling. They are typically used to produce flat and curved Parts. In an airplane, the flat parts are mostly created as transmission boxes, cavities, bearing seats, gasoline and diesel case bodies, etc. while the curved parts as diesel engine crankshafts and wind guide wheels.
When producing parts, the CNC Milling machine is the main contributor for the success of the entire operation. Although the “characteristic” that distinguishes a machine from a human is its ability to work non-stop, just like humans, machines need to be maintained in order to function properly and for it to last.
In order to avoid unnecessary loss of time and money, preventive maintenance is the secret for a machine’s long life.
These steps are easy to perform and can be conducted after every shift. Just remember the 3Cs – Clean, Check, and Communicate – and performing daily maintenance should be bliss.
- Chips from Chip Pan.
- Grime, dirt, and sludge that built up in your viewport.
- Grime and Metal Chips from the Machine. It is highly suggested that you use rugs and brushes (of different sizes), alcohol, and metal polishes to keep your machine clean and tidy.
- Fluids – it is important to ensure that there is no leak or absence of lubricants for your part. If needed, grease those dry spots.
- Hydraulic Fluid Pressure and keep tab that it follows the recommended 4.5 MPa for CNC Machines.
- Chuck Pressure and make sure it abides on the recommended pressure by the manufacturer.
- Problems spotted during your daily maintenance check. Log it and inform your head (or the owner) for any issues spotted in order for them to address it immediately and avoid potential injuries on both machines and humans.
On a quarterly basis, have your machines inspected or overhauled by a Trained Technician/Professional Engineers/Specialists certified by the machine’s manufacturer (or distributor). Take note that these are the parts that should be the main focus during the maintenance (a.k.a. the Technician/Engineer/Specialist) – Chip Conveyor, Radiator, Cooling Tanks, Hydraulic Tank, Chuck, Jaws, Wiper, and Pallet Changer & Receiver Areas.
Keep these parts in mind and have them perform these maintenance activities on your machine:
- Inspect the Chip Conveyors and grease the chain if needed. Include the Radiator and make sure that the fins of the radiator are not damaged.
- Clean Cooling Tanks by removing chips, oils, and sludge to clean its filters; and Drain Hydraulic Tank, replace line and suction filter, and replenish the hydraulic tank with fresh lubricants.
- Clean the chuck, jaws, and wiper. If any wipers are damaged, make sure that all of it is replaced.
- Remove Debris on the Machine’s Pallet Changer and Receiver Areas.
Similar to a Bi-annual maintenance session, it is important to let a certified and manufacturer recommended technician to conduct the maintenance and perform these activities on your machine:
- Check for Run out on the Chuck Cylinder – make sure it rotates in line with the main axis to avoid inaccurate cutting during operations. Do not forget to also get the entire check for any air or oil leaks.
- Check if the moving parts of your machine’s machining axes fit and synchronize well with other machine parts. Have the technician perform a Backlash Program in order to verify for any backlash on the machining axis.
- Verify if there is any tapering. Have the technician check the Headstock and Tailstock
- Check if there are any parallelism and inclination of the turrets. If such occur, it can cause jams, indexing, and hang-ups issues.
- Check for end play and radial issues. Have your spindle checked in order to spot these issues.
- Instruct the technician to include checking the X and Z axis gibs (and have it adjusted if necessary).
Like humans, only trust certified and recommended technicians/engineers/specialists when performing these intricate activities on your machine. Introduce and include Preventive Maintenance in your operation’s system and practice it religiously. Avoid holding back on your machines’ maintenance and include it on your operation’s budget to avoid unnecessary loss of both time and money (and untimely breakage of your CNC machines).