Often manufacturers have an “Out of sight, out of mind” approach to spindle maintenance that can result in both costly repairs and production delays. Studies show that unexpected downtime can cost as much as $100,000 per hour. Just like any machine, it’s essential to understand the specific warning signs of your spindles and how to maintain them properly to extend the life of your equipment. Spindles are the heart of the machine, so the time required to add small checks and schedule preventive maintenance is well worth it to ensure an increase in productivity.
Understand the Specifics of Your Machine
Proper care is dictated by the type of spindle you’re using and the specific application. Extending spindle life requires a proper understanding of your component. The user needs to be versed on the ins and outs of the spindle they’re using as well as the specific applications. Despite the similarities in external design, typically spindles are built with the application in mind. Internal components, such as the number of bearings, the angle of the bearings, and the preload are developed for each machining application. As simple as it may sound, reading the manual to understand the specifications of your spindle is one of the best ways to learn the guidelines of how to use your equipment. With the spindle tucked away in the machine and out of reach of most operators, it’s essential for technicians to be intentional about their spindle maintenance program.
Defer to Specialized Spindle Repair Companies
Speaking to OEM’s or a trusted repair company to confirm the specifics of your machine’s operational circumstances can make a huge impact on the life of your spindle. Independent repair companies can draw from their experience repairing spindles in a variety of industries under vastly different conditions to provide guidelines that you might not be aware of. Companies with expertise in predictive maintenance software have a wealth of information ranging from vibration analysis to thermography data that can be utilized to more accurately track trends over time and make predictions about equipment in similar circumstances. Many OEM’s partner with premium spindle repair companies to provide a wider service area, better response times, and handle custom equipment repairs and rebuilds.
Run a Spindle Warm-Up Program
An elevated operating temperature is usually an indicator of spindle issues. One of the best ways to check in on the health of your spindles is to start every shift with a spindle warm-up program. Measuring the temperature of the machine after the warmup cycle is necessary to establish a baseline. If possible, it is always a good idea to measure the temperature of the bearings on the front housing. If it runs hot that is usually indicative of a problem. It is essential to make sure the cooling mechanisms are operating correctly, whether the spindle is cooled through compressed air, liquid, or a fan. Running a spindle warm-up program is a great way to keep an eye on the health of your most valuable asset.
Ensure Proper Machine Load
Another way to prevent spindle failure is by making sure the load on the controller is normal. Many machines allow you to define the spindle load condition for specific tools. This safety feature will stop the machine if the limit is reached for the tool in use. To use this function correctly, operators need to verify that the proper settings are implemented to keep overload from occurring. Machining something like titanium with heavy loads can put a lot of stress on a spindle. Make sure the spindle is qualified to perform such operations. Proper machine use and consistent day-to-day care make all the difference when it comes to spindle life. Spindle operators should be aware of machine specifications and run their equipment accordingly.
To learn more about improving spindle life or to schedule a high-quality repair contact the professionals at GTI Spindle 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.