Making possible a manufacturing process that’s vital, CNC machines are vital in most industries. As a matter of fact, CNC machines are a common sight inside the factories and warehouses. Because these machines are so prevalent, their maintenance is now an important aspect of industrial production. Regular CNC maintenance keeps these machines working properly and without errors. At the same time, it keeps them functional for longer. As simple as it sounds, however, the CNC maintenance process is rather complex. With that in mind, this guide will go over everything you need to know to correctly perform this kind of maintenance.

1. What Is CNC Machinery and What Are Its Benefits?

As we said previously, CNC machines are a vital part of most industrial manufacturing processes. Essentially, they control a series of processes that require exactitude and precision as well as speed. They provide a series of benefits that human workers cannot, the most important being:

  • Accuracy in Production
  • Safety
  • Time Saving

2. What Is CNC Maintenance and How Does It Work?

CNC maintenance is an important process that needs to be performed regularly and diligently. It keeps CNC machines working in tip-top shape and without losing calibration, resulting in a greatly-reduced probability of manufacturing errors taking place. Without a doubt, it’s hugely important for any factory that its machines are prepared and ready to go whenever they are needed. CNC maintenance ensures this is the case. At the same time, it keeps these expensive machines from breaking down, greatly extending their life and saving its owner thousands of dollars.

3. How Often Should CNC Machines Be Inspected and Maintained?

More likely than not, a manufacturing business uses at least one CNC machine on a regular basis. In many cases, these machines are vital to the continuity and correct functioning of the manufacturing process. For that reason, performing regular CNC maintenance is not only a good idea but an absolute requirement. The frequency with which each CNC machine needs to be maintained depends on various factors such as its type and the amount of use it endures. However, it can be generally claimed that these machines should be maintained daily. Additionally, a more extensive maintenance process should be performed once every six months. Finally, a yearly, more extensive inspection and maintenance should be performed, preferably in the presence of the distributor.

4. Checklist for Preventive CNC Maintenance

Because of the reasons that were detailed earlier, CNC maintenance is not something that should be taken lightly. On the contrary, it is an essential process that all manufacturing facilities should implement. Up next, we provide a list detailing every step that should be taken in order to optimize the performance of your CNC machine.

Daily Maintenance

  • Check the hydraulic pressure: Usually, it is best to make sure it is at 4.5 MPa.
  • Verify the hydraulic fluids: It’s important to do this in order to guarantee maximum operating levels.
  • Check the chuck pressure: Every machine has an optimal operating chuck pressure level. Make sure your CNS machine is at that precise level.
  • Verify the lube: Most mechanical machines need a healthy amount of lubrication in order to deliver a satisfactory performance. It’s
  • Cooling system: Make sure the cooling unit level is at the right operating level on your CNC machine’s cooling system.
  • Cleaning: Clear any kind of residue out of the pan. If after cleaning the pan is too dry, grease it.
  • Visibility: It’s important to clean the little windows on the door of the machine to be able to clearly see inside.

Every Six Months (approximately 1000 Hours)

  • Coolant tank cleaning: In order to keep it functioning correctly, it’s important to keep the coolant tank clean. When cleaning it, make an emphasis on getting rid of sludge, chips, and oil.
  • Clean the chuck and jaws: The chuck and jaws are essential parts of the machine. Because they work so much, they can accumulate a surprising amount of residual grease and other unwanted pieces of matter.
  • Drain the tank: The hydraulic oil that lubricates CNC machines functions properly for a certain amount of time. After that time has passed, the oil becomes unusable and can damage your machine. For that reason, it is important to drain the tank and replace the oil at least a couple of times a year.
  • Mind the radiator: It’s hugely important to have the radiator cleaned regularly. Additionally, make sure its fins are completely straight.
  • Take care of the lubrication unit: It’s also important to make sure the lubrication unit is completely free of solid residue or grease.

Once a Year (approximately 2000 Hours)

There are various parts of the machine that need separate checking at least once a year. The main ones are:

  • The headstock
  • The spindle (check it for radial and end play)
  • The chuck cylinder (check it for run out)
  • The tailstock (check it for taper)
  • Turret parallelism and inclination

In addition to checking the mentioned parts, it’s helpful to take a couple of extra steps in order to ensure flawless functioning:

  • Check the backlash: Run a program to check the backlash in both the X and the Z axis. If necessary, adjust them. Optimally, you should have your distributor present during this procedure.
  • Check the gibs: In addition to checking the backlash, make sure the gibs in the axes are working correctly.

Conclusion

Anyone who owns CNC machines knows their importance in the manufacturing industry. At the same time, they are painfully aware of their cost. For that reason, establishing a reasonable CNC maintenance schedule is one of the most important things to do when establishing a manufacturing business. Even though the procedure may seem a bit complicated, follow these steps and you will be alright. Do you have any experience with CNC maintenance? Tell us all about it in the comments!