Without a doubt, the key to a smoothly running machine shop is filling it with well-maintained machines. The cost of rebuilding tools can be largely avoided if certain practices are routinely followed. Among these are proper usage, regular maintenance, and prompt reporting.
Avoiding the Cost of Rebuilding Tools: Keep On Top of the Basics.
The cost of rebuilding tools is about more than just the monetary value. The time required to pinpoint the problem, order the parts, wait on receiving the shipment, and the time to setup takes its toll especially if the machine shop is obligated to turn work requests away during the time the original machine is being repaired.
Operate Machines According to Proper Usage Guidelines.
Every tool in a machine shop has a specific usage, and with that comes a specific operational procedure to ensure the machine remains in good condition. Failing to adhere to the correct operating standards can cause the machine to malfunction or even to break down. Machine shop repair costs are all too often a result of ignoring the user manual’s recommendations.
Have you ensured that your office has a copy of the operating instructions easily available to all employees who might use the machines? It is worth noting that new employee training is not without its potential pitfalls. Make sure that new employees receive quality instruction on operating procedures, not a condensed version.
Most of the recommendations in the user’s manual are simple to practice. For example, a lathe should be wiped down and cleaned regularly, but whether that’s after each usage or at the end of the day depends on the work the shop does each day.
A Consistent Maintenance Schedule Saves You Trouble In the Long-Term.
People have a habit of ignoring the upkeep of their machines. But even proper usage is not enough to keep machines running smoothly for a long time. It takes regular maintenance checks to catch little problems before they become big problems. For example, a lathe must have its drive belts checked regularly for wear and tear. If the drive belt lacks the proper tension or consistency, the machine may not operate optimally. The tricky part is creating a schedule, and the hard part is sticking with it.
The user’s manual for each piece of equipment will layout how the machine needs to be operated, but that manual also lays out the best schedule for maintenance. It is unwise to ignore this advice, as this is a blueprint of what the equipment needs on a consistent basis to continue operation. When drawing up a maintenance schedule, follow the guidance of the manuals.
All Strange Noises, Smells, Sparks, and Jams Must Be Reported Promptly.
It should be clear, but any time a machine begins to operate incorrectly it needs to be reported through the proper channels. Even with correct usage and regular maintenance, accidents can happen. These problems can become worse and actually create damage to the machine if not addressed quickly. To encourage employees to speak up about any problems they observe in the operation of the equipment, make sure that shop communication is open and encouraged.
The cost of rebuilding tools is sometimes a necessary expense, but needless machine tool repair can be avoided. The key is to make sure employees are well-trained, the machines are on the right maintenance schedule, and employees know that they can report issues without fear. These strategies will help any shop keep their machines working smoothly for a long time.