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Keeping Your CNC Machine in Top Working Condition

Modern technology has enabled CNC machines to offer more flexibility and production accuracy than ever before. However, we still need to highlight the fact that preventative maintenance is the best way to make certain that your unit remains efficient and accurate at all times. A bit of foresight can go a long way towards extending the lifespan of this unique device. So, what are a handful of tips to keep in mind?

Time Frames

It can be confusing to know when your CNC mill requires servicing. This is one of the reasons why some owners will wait for a problem to develop before consulting us for repairs. There is nonetheless an excellent rule of thumb to follow here. The unit should be serviced every 1,000 hours or six months; whichever comes first. However, we should note that this is assuming that it is subject to normal working conditions. Machines that experience little downtime should be examined every 500 hours (approximately every three months).

Fluid Levels

CNC machines will normally depend upon hydraulic systems to ensure their continued operation. Over time, these fluids can drop below nominal levels. The pressure should therefore be checked on a regular basis. Although the common level will read 4.5 MPa, it is best to refer to the official manual to make certain that this reading is correct. Other areas of concern include the fluid pressure within the chuck and the level of lubrication fluid. There can also be times when the mill is fitted with a cooling system. Once again, make sure this fluid is sufficient in order to avoid undue wear and tear on internal parts.

Levelling the Machine

The accuracy of CNC technology relies largely upon the assumption that the machine is operating on an absolutely flat surface. However, this foundation can shift over time. Even the slightest of angles can have a dramatic effect upon the performance of your unit. Also, such an imbalance could potentially affect the mechanical operation of internal components. Check to make sure that the underlying surface is level and if necessary, make adjustments when required.

Batteries and Memory Concerns

This next tip is particularly useful within high-production environments. A battery failure can lead to the loss of extremely important design data. So, be sure to regularly check these power supplies to make certain they are within acceptable levels. In the event that a battery seems to be failing, it is better to replace it in advance as opposed to waiting until the last minute. To be absolutely safe, back up any data on a separate system such as a USB stick or an external hard drive. This will add an extra level of redundancy in the event of an unforeseen problem.

Mechanical Examinations

Your CNC mill has a number of moving parts and these can become damaged or worn over time. So, check both the headstock and tailstock for signs of taper. Determine if there are any signals of end play within the spindle. The inclination and parallelism of the turret should likewise be examined. It should also be determined if there is any “run-out” seen in regards to the chuck cylinder. If any of these issues are seen, you should consult with Stoney CNC for further assistance.

CNC machines can produce fantastic results and yet, adhering to the proper maintenance schedule is the best way to avoid troublesome downtime and expensive repairs. Please feel free to use this guide as a handy checklist. If you have additional questions, a Stoney CNC representative will be happy to provide further assistance.

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