How’s your car running? Pretty good?
Chances are you probably get it serviced at least once annually and, if you’re looking to get as much out of it as you can, you probably get the oil changed on a more frequent basis, right? It’s good to keep things fresh.
It’s good to get as much out of that investment as you possible can. After all, a vehicle isn’t cheap.
Now let’s apply the same logic to the machines you have on the shop floor.
How are they running? Pretty good?
When was the last time you had them serviced? (We’ve learned in recent conversations that the last time a shop had their machines serviced might actually be “never.”) Whoops. Sorry to put you on the spot.
The average vehicle fiscally falls somewhere in the five-digit range. Owners of said vehicles get them serviced regularly.
The average machine in your plant fiscally falls somewhere in the six-digit range. Owners of said machines get them serviced…. not so regularly (if at all).
From what we’ve learned through ample research, shop owners are more reactive when it comes to system maintenance rather than proactive. “If it ain’t broke, why fix it,” is not the right mode of thinking here… We’re proactive with our automobiles, and they’re a far less substantial monetary investment than the machines we’re running to “pay the bills.”
Reasons to have your fleet of machines annually include:
- Optimized productivity
- Increased machine uptime
- Decreased machine downtime
- Decreased job “re-dos” due to machine defect
- Improved standardization
- Machine longevity / less wear and tear
- Improved return on investment across the board
Like your vehicle, you don’t need us to tell you that the machines you’re operating in the shop have a lot of moving pieces and parts. For many, we’re not cognizant of what it all does, we’re just concerned with how we get from Point A to Point B. Be it from your house to work or from raw material to finished product. Most days, we take that journey for granted. All we know at the end of the day is, we either made it or we didn’t. Sometimes we make note of the bumps along the way; if for nothing else, to be used as a story around the dining room table.
We’re merely suggesting that you employ the expertise of a professional to keep your working environment up to snuff. In short: Protect your investment.
Annual maintenance will likely include:
- Systems check / calibration
- Electronic diagnostics
- Other applicable electronics
- Oil and fluid check / change
- Internal hardware diagnostics such as spindles, etc.
As far as spindles go, you can have the greatest tool on planet earth in your possession, primed and ready for production go-time, however, if you’re spindle is “wonky,” the tool is going to produce parts that will have you scratching your head and putting holes in the drywall. Your tool is only as good as the spindle it’s on in the working confines of your machine. If it’s off axis, you’re going to get some undesirable results. If it’s suffering from some corrosion or other signs of wear, you’re going to get some undesirable results. If the motor that fires the spindle isn’t being tested and treated, it’s not going to drive the spindle correctly, and thus, that otherworldly tool you’ve had developed and delivered is nothing but a fancy paperweight.
Nobody enjoys breaking down when they’re on the road to where they’re looking to go. The same can be applied to the machines that outfit your manufacturing operation. If just one of your machines goes down you’re losing a considerable amount of your production, and compromising the job at hand, and future customer engagements. When deadlines are missed future opportunity is questionable and the bottom-line is the direct victim of such an inconvenience. Thus, do what you can to avoid systems malfunctions. They’re not 100% avoidable, but if you’re not proactively seeking a solution right now, you’re at much greater risk of sustaining loss – in more than one way.
WHEN DOWN TIME IS NOT AN OPTION, THINK AHEAD
A smart way to do this is to simply plan for routine, annual machine maintenance. Outside of having a professional take a close look “under the hood,” there are also all kinds of tools/solutions out there that are analytical, and give you real time machine health analysis right on your handheld device. We’ll talk more about this in a future issue. You can also Google it and get a mile’s worth of results for yourself. The trick is finding the right solution that works for your unique need(s).
Why? Because the rest of the world is still moving forward when you’re stuck on the side of the road…