Welcome to the second installment of a 2 part series that focuses on minimizing downtime by strategically managing spindle service and repair.
The Hotel Program
Previously, we mentioned that storage considerations can prevent certain manufacturing locations from using the Spare Spindle Program. For them, the Hotel Program, sometimes called the Stocking Program, may be ideal. In the Hotel Program, a spindle repair company stores their client’s spare spindles.
There are any number of reasons a manufacturer would rather store spindles off-site, but they tend to boil down to matters of space or personnel. In regards to space, they could simply not have enough, or they don’t have the correct space — for example, storage without a clean, temperature/humidity controlled area is a problem, as spindles can be prone to corrosion as well as contamination ingress
It’s a similar story for personnel: It’s common for smaller operations to not have enough staff to spare any for asset inventory tracking or monitoring, which can lead to lost spindles. (As improbable as this sounds, we do have customers lose spindles in their facilities.)
Another consideration is that spindles need to be rotated, in both a macro and a micro sense. In a macro sense, spare spindles should be rotated — the oldest spindle should be first in line for use in case of failure, but this order can be easy to mix up without dedicated inventory personnel. In a micro sense, an individual spindle’s shaft must be rotated regularly, or else it’s at risk of degrading — most commonly, internal bearings can begin to micro-weld to the spindle shaft.
Outsourcing your spare spindles — and, importantly, their care — to spindle experts is an ideal solution for many manufacturers with space and staffing constraints.
The Scheduled Maintenance Approach
Of course, the absolute gold standard is a well-planned maintenance program. With this approach, you carefully monitor your spindles and their health, removing them at designated times (or at the first signs of issues, detected with predictive analysis tools).
With just a little bit of foresight, planning, and monitoring, you can effectively reduce or eliminate downtime. Even if you store your spindles off-site with the Hotel Program: simply request your spindle be delivered ahead of a planned maintenance window so that you have it on hand when it’s time for the swap.
With the Scheduled Maintenance Program, you’ll also keep repair costs at a minimum, as repairs for standard wear and tear are dramatically less involved and costly than emergency repairs following catastrophic spindle failures.
Have a question? Contact GTI to discuss these and other spindle maintenance programs that can help keep your machine shop stay up and running efficiently.