In high-end manufacturing, any machine with moving parts will inevitably need to be repaired or replaced. If the machine is improperly maintained, the friction caused by grinding can severely wear down critical components. Damaged spindles negatively affect machine performance and can hinder other key systems. It’s essential to catch spindle damage early and conduct necessary repairs before equipment reaches the point of total failure. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to optimize your machine’s health and extend its usable life.
Proper Staff Training
One of the best ways to keep your equipment in top condition is to ensure it is being used correctly. Operational habits have a significant impact on machine health and performance. Incorrect machine settings such as improper feed rate, excessive preload, overloading, improperly sized bearings, improper belt tension, and lubricant contamination can all cause unnecessary wear on the equipment. Ensuring that your machine operators have read the equipment manuals and are following standard operating protocol will significantly extend the life of your spindles.
Monitor Your Machine’s Bearings
Spindle Bearings are one of the most common points of failure within a spindle. When bearings begin to fail, the machine’s overall performance suffers, and it often causes problems in other parts of the equipment. To extend the life of your bearings, train your staff to spot the most common causes of failure.
Contamination: Contaminants can find their way into bearings through many paths. One of the most common sources of contamination is a misdirected coolant nozzle. Air hoses are another common source of contamination. Running an air hose for 30 to 60-minutes after shutting down equipment and conducting a visual examination of the nozzle is a great way to prevent contamination.
Overload: Overload is the result of excessive forces placed on a spindle during operation. It is often caused by maintenance errors, improper feed rates, and incorrect belt tension. When a machine operates with an overload, excessive friction can cause overheating and lead to significant damage. Training your staff to adhere to correct load and speed ratings for your specific spindle is the best way to avoid overload.
Imbalance: Spindle imbalance is usually caused by low drawbar force. An unbalanced spindle significantly reduces the precision of spindle tools. Make sure all your spindles have a regular balancing schedule to improve lifespan and performance.
Tool retention force: When the springs within a spindle lose their retention force it can cause chatter and undue wear on the tools in use. Periodically check tool retention with a dial test indicator and replace defective drawbar components as necessary
Use Predictive Maintenance Data
Utilizing predictive maintenance data can significantly improve your machine maintenance program. Through our partner company, GTI Predictive Technology, we have access to predictive maintenance data acquired by IIoT enabled devices that provide detailed insights into the spindle lifecycle. Vibration analysis is a very popular tool to diagnose a variety of spindle issues including imbalance, bearing issues, and looseness within rotating machinery. A vibration monitoring system can be temporarily mounted on equipment for periodic checks or it can be permanently mounted to receive real-time machine-health updates.
To learn more about how you can extend your spindle life or to schedule a professional repair, contact GTI Spindle Technology today.
About GTI Spindle Technology
At GTI Spindle Technology, we specialize in high-quality spindle diagnosis and repair. Getting your business back into full operation and minimizing downtime is our mission. We offer in-house, on-site, and emergency assistance for machine tool spindle failure analysis, spindle repair, and complete spindle testing. With an extensive range and expertise in a diverse group of industries, our customers know that they are getting the highest quality of spindle repair and customer service. Click here to find out more.