CNC machinery is a major investment, and purchasers of that machinery are correct to expect a reasonably long service life for that investment. However, the responsibility for that long service life does not lie exclusively with the OEM. CNC machine maintenance is a critical practice for machine owners to engage in for this reason: enabling machinery to operate properly, produce quality pieces and continue running for years — and even decades.
CNC maintenance covers many areas, but one of the most important ways you can contribute to the life span of a machine is through CNC preventive maintenance.
Below, you’ll find several tips:
- “Preventive” is the key word: Preventive maintenance tasks are often written off as tedious, a waste of potential uptime and (in the worst cases) unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. The time savings of practicing regularly scheduled CNC mechanical maintenance and other maintenance tasks before a problem occurs are significant. You’ll save immense amounts of money over the long run, as well.
- Check the basics: At least once a day, and ideally after every shift, the basic maintenance needs of a machine should be checked: fluid levels, lubrication and spot cleaning. Fluid levels (such as hydraulic fluid) should be up to manufacturer spec to help ensure proper operation and long life for machine engines. Correct lubrication is a key component of CNC machine tool maintenance, extending the service time for the “front lines” of your CNC equipment. Regular spot cleaning removes chips and shards from sensitive areas (and it just looks better).
- Schedule deep cleans and in-depth maintenance: The best preventive maintenance plans are comprehensive — covering daily, monthly, quarterly and annual tasks. For example, full-enclosure cleanings aren’t necessary every day (and become time-prohibitive), but should occur at least once a year to keep your machine operating smoothly.
Some of these other in-depth tasks include:
- Cleaning coolant tank filters (quarterly)
- Clean machine chuck and jaws (every six months)
- Clean and check radiator (every six months)
- Inspect way wipers (every six months)
- Check headstock and tailstock for taper (annually)
- Check spindle and chuck cylinder for misalignment (annually)
- Standard CNC machine electrical maintenance (annually)
Why Is Preventive Maintenance Important?
When done right, CNC preventive maintenance can prevent much more extensive and costly machinery breakdowns and the necessary repairs. It can also extend the service life of your equipment and will result in higher-quality production with fewer part rejections. Preventive maintenance is one of the best investments you can make in your equipment and your business.
How to Know When Machinery Has Been Properly Maintained
Proper equipment maintenance also has the benefit of increasing resale value and creating a more robust market of high-quality used CNC machinery. If you’re in the market for a used CNC machine, the following tips can help you make the right choice:
- Request as much documentation as is available: This will often include maintenance instructions, manufacturer recommendations and repair history — which will let you know any types of issues previously encountered, and how they were remedied.
- See the machinery in action: There’s nothing wrong with requesting a demo of a used machine’s performance, and with the technology available today, this can even be conducted remotely. This way, you can make sure that everything looks and sounds like it’s working properly. If you’re on-site, you can also inspect internal and external components first-hand.
- Work with a trusted supplier: CNC Exchange has been selling used CNC machinery for over 50 years and has an extensive reputation for customer satisfaction.
We’re ready to work with you to find the quality used machine you need. Explore our site and listings for more information, and contact us if you don’t see what you want — or if you have any other questions.