Proper Care and Maintenance of Metal-Cutting Machinery

Well-cared and properly maintained machines come with great benefits.

Metal-cutting machines require care and maintenance, which is key to ensuring performance and efficiency, as well as extending its life. Whatever component of the machine may be, the essence of routine check-up and maintenance cannot be stressed enough.

When a high-precision metal-cutting machine component, such as a spindle, is handled improperly, it can reach its breaking point. Proper care and maintenance ensure optimum operational performance and longevity in service.

Since a metal-cutting machine is a major investment, make sure to refer to the specific maintenance guidelines and instructions found in the owner’s manual. The equipment manufacturers, through their long experience, know the machine requirements and outline the maintenance processes for their customers.

Machine maintenance can be unique, depending on the manufacturer or its capacity. Nonetheless, following the schedule of the maintenance remains the same for all metal-cutting machines. Routine upkeep benefits optimal machine operation and production and keeps the manufacturer warranty intact. On the contrary, poorly maintained machines often result in inefficient performance and costly breakdowns.

Here are some helpful machine care and maintenance tips:

  • Update Large Machinery Operator Training

Training machine operators help keep them safe.

Operators should be well-versed in operating metal-cutting machines. Among the important responsibilities of an operator is ensuring the proper inspection and operation of the equipment.

Machine operators should undergo proper training. However, training should be constantly updated to keep up with the latest technology. As workers come and go, their skills will eventually fade, which results in poor operation.

Revisions for a specific work situation can be made in operator manuals. Use shorter and simpler language to make the manual an easy reference. Make sure to also identify and include the best machine operation best practices which operators must implement. Sharing crucial knowledge about machine care and maintenance is valuable to both the company and employees.

  • Inspect Machine Lubrication Regularly

Proper lubrication is a vital part of machine care and maintenance.

Check the lubrication level of frequently used machines on a weekly basis. Lubricants protect the moving parts by reducing friction. Regular lubrication maintenance benefits extended machine life. Without proper lubrication, the metal-cutting machine could potentially face premature wear and tear, which leads to extensive damage and costly repairs. Refer to the operator’s manual and use the manufacturer-recommended lubricant.

  • Check Alignment Specification

Check your machine for any misaligned attachments or components to prevent fatal workplace accidents. Also, misalignment of attachments can affect the quality work of your machine. To determine proper alignment, conduct a few test jobs and take note of the results. If the alignment is off, simply have a professional to realign the machine to maintain accurate specifications.

  • Ensure Cleanliness of the Machine 

Clean machines benefit optimum performance.

Cleanliness is essential in ensuring machine optimum performance and capacity. Make sure to clean the machine on a daily or weekly basis. Overlooking the cleanliness of the machine can result in frequent breakdown and costly repairs. Seals and filters should be clean and free of contamination. Inspect if seals are in good condition and change filters regularly to prevent oil mist from contaminating the indoor air.

  • Check for Signs of Wear

Replace an old, damaged belt with a new one.

Various factors can contribute to the premature breakdown of the machine. Machine vibration is simply the back and forth movement of the machine’s components. Over time, this movement can loosen some parts and lead to misaligned gears and belts.

Other signs of machine wear to look out for include mechanical shock (caused by poor operator technique and accident); high temperature (caused by overuse, friction, worn parts, and lack of lubrication); old age (e.g. warped belts, cracked and dry seals, loosened and stretched bolts)

Once you detect any signs of wear on the machine’s moving parts, make sure to replace any worn parts immediately.

  • Follow Maintenance and Repair Schedule – Oils, tracks, tires, and electrical systems should all be checked regularly as part of your preventive maintenance schedule. Be aware of what to inspect and when to perform maintenance and repair. 

It is important to inspect and maintain the moving parts of the power transmission to prevent technical problems and avoid workplace accidents. Replace worn out friction materials, gaskets, seals, and bearing to maintain optimum machine condition. Make sure to check the lubrication of the moving parts and lubricate them frequently. Change the filters and check the seals to prevent potential contamination.

  • Sharpen Important Components – Because metal-cutting machines are designed for cutting, slicing, or chopping metals, make sure to keep their components sharpened and in good condition. Routine maintenance does not only sustain a particular sharpness, but it also ensures cut materials are shaped correctly and accurately. 

Why Use Oil Mist Filters

Oil mists filters help reduce workplace accidents and protect workers’ health.

CNC lathes and turning machines have been doing wonders in many industrial and manufacturing plants today. While proper lubrication is crucial for the machine’s regular maintenance, moving parts can disperse oil mist in the air. Fine oil mist does not only make the surrounding dirty and dangerous but it also poses various health risks to exposed workers.

To understand its importance, below are several reasons why you should install a high-quality oil mist collector system to your metal-cutting machines:

  • Improve Working Environment – Workers spend long hours in the close proximity of machines. This means they are frequently exposed to the coolant that comes out and spreads in the air in the form of fine oil mists. Also, when oil mists are sprayed on the floor, it makes it dirty and slippery. Unless you clean it on a daily basis, it compromises the safety of the premises. 
  • Protect Employee Health – In addition to potential workplace accidents, oil mist, when inhaled, could cause respiratory irritation, including:
    • A burning sensation in the mouth, throat, and stomach
    • Fatigue
    • A rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath
    • Asthma or chronic bronchitis flare-ups
    • A headache or fever
    • Vomiting

When oil mists come in contact with exposed skin, they can cause contact dermatitis, a condition characterized by itchy skin, rash, and red blisters. Additionally, oil mist exposure can increase the risk of cancers of the skin, bladder, pancreas, and other organs.

  • Meet Legal Requirements – Installing an oil mist filter helps meet the legal requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA requires employers to limit that amount of oil mist exposure to 5 mg/m³ over eight hours per workday.

Installing oil mist filters helps make a clean and healthy working environment where workers can safely and efficiently perform their daily tasks. AMT Machine Tools Ltd. has been supplying high-quality metal-cutting and grinding machines and Filtermist oil mist collector systems throughout Canada. Feel free to call us at (416) 675-7760 for a premium selection of machine tools and oil mist filters in Toronto.