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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Don't Just Fill Your Oils ...

... Track Them ?

Why? I'm glad you asked !!

Did you know that filling your way lube tank can tell you a story about your machine's performance. It can, if you use the information to your advantage. How?

The best way is to make an oil fill reminder form and post it on the machine. Each time oil, any type of oil, is added to the machine, have the operator jot down the following:

  • Type of oil added
  • Date and Time the oil was added
  • Amount of oil added
  • On a turning center, when the chuck was greased

This data can be used for the following :

Type Of Oil : this tells you which oil tank might be giving you trouble. If you're filling the hydraulic tank (a closed system) - WHY and WHERE is the oil leaking from. Low hydraulic oil could result in a loss of pressure and perhaps an un-chucking of a part being machined with catastrophic results. If you're replacing way-lube (which you should), what kind of schedule are you on. This list should show a difference in the frequency of the filling which will easily and early show a way-lube system problem and head-off major repairs.

Date and Time the oil was added : this info gives you a clear view of the filling schedule. Again, not filling the way-lube tank, for example, will be easily seen and catastrophe can be averted.

Amount of oil added : as above, this info gives you a clear schedule of the filling schedule. Filling the way lube tank once every two days instead of once every three days will show up and might signal a line break or other problem that can easily be spotted and repaired in time.

As with everything in life, the info gathered is only as good as the person viewing it. Teach you operators to be hands-on people and to pay attention to this list, perhaps every morning with the machine start-up. Simple ideas like this TIP can help extend your machine's life and cut down dramatically on your machine's down time and repair bills.

Live Long ... and Make Chips !!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spindle Load vs. Spindle RPM

Which is the true test of how hard your machine is working ?

If you had to watch the spindle speed meter or the spindle load meter on your CNC machine ... lathe or mill ... to determine if your machine was working too hard, which one would you choose?

The truth of the matter is that although the spindle load meter does tell you the power draw on the spindle motor, the RPM gage is a more accurate representation of how hard the spindle is working. Most machines come with a specific rating for load % per a specific time such as (in laymans terms) : "You can run this machine at 100% for 30 minutes."

That is of course a true statement and you can watch the load meter while cutting and reach that spec. However, if you watch the RPM gage while cutting and see it fluctuate wildly - basically because the motor is trying to keep the spindle at the specified (programmed) RPM - you'll never reach that 30 minute time frame. Because the cutting is so heavy in this type of case, the motor must keep "powering up" to keep the programmed RPM specified. This takes much more power draw on the motor than simply running constant at 100% load for the 30 minutes.

The Solution : When your machine is cutting, watch the RPM gage first to insure that the cutting conditions are resulting in a smooth RPM for the spindle and not wild fluctations as the motor fights to keep the speed constant. Secondly, adjust the cutting conditions so that the load meter is as high as you think you want (there is nothing wrong with 70-75%) and then recheck the RPM gauge to make sure that the RPM's are smooth at those settings. Smooth RPM cutting will result in better life for the spindle motor and smoother surface finish on the workpiece as well.

Happy Chip Making !!

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