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CNC Lathe Maintenance Tips: How to Keep Production High and Cost Low

Category: Tooling

The rate at which a CNC Lathe breaks down depends on the work conditions, production hours and maintenance. With regular routine care, you can extend the life of your CNC Lathe as well as save on production costs. We’ve consulted our Shop Operations Manager, Ben Molinar, and put together a guide for the recommended intervals and general preventative maintenance tips. Please note that these are suggestions, so always refer to your manufacturer’s manual for care and details.

Daily Care

For optimal use, make it a habit to check the following tips at the start of every day:

  • Check the hydraulic pressure and fluids to ensure that the CNC Lathe operates optimally. Refer to your manufacturer’s manual for compliance and recommended conditions.
  • Lubricate the chucks with molybdenum-based chuck grease. If this isn’t done, the rotating components could separate from the chuck and cause damage to the machine.
  • Review and adjust the chuck pressure for the correct operating pressure.
  • Replenish the lube level, if needed.
  • If your CNC machine has a cooling system, review the cooling unit for the right level.
  • Remove pan chips and grease as needed.
  • Keep your way cover clear of chips.

Weekly Care or 40 Hours

On a weekly basis, or every 40 hours of production use, remove the filter from the CNC control cabinet and clean it to ensure proper air flow and cooling.

Every Three Months or 500 Hours

After three months or 500 hours of use, you will need to:

  • Inspect the chain on the chip conveyor. Make sure there are no defects, and then, grease the chain so it continues to work properly.
  • Review and clean the filters and screens on the coolant tank to prevent the Lathe from overheating.
  • Level your machine, check the coolant, and clean or replace wipers.
  • Check coolant bacteria levels and treat accordingly based on your machine’s manual.

Every Six Months or 1,000 Hours

After six months or 1,000 hours, consider the following maintenance items:

  • Clean sludge, chips, and oil from the coolant tank. Then, spray the tank with fungicide to prevent messy build up. Recommended brands are Blaser, CIMCOOL, and Hangsterfer’s.
  • Drain the hydraulic tank and refill with new hydraulic oil. Don’t forget to change the line filter and suction filter.
  • Drain and clean the lubrication unit and screen, and then add fresh way lube.
  • Check the leveling of your machine and adjust, if needed.
  • Inspect the way wipers for any damage as you may need to clean and/or replace the wipers.
  • If your machine is equipped with a cooler, clean the radiator and straighten the radiator fins.

Once a Year or Every 2,000 Hours

Depending on how often your CNC machines run, the following checks should be done once a year or every 2,000 hours of production use.

  • Check the headstock for taper.
  • Inspect the spindle and tailstock for radial and end play.
  • Examine the chuck cylinder for run out.
  • Check the turret parallelism and inclination.
  • Run a backlash program with your distributor to check the backlash in X and Z axis, and adjust if needed. Also have your distributor check the X and Z axis gibbs and adjust, if necessary.
  • Review the filters and lubrication lines on your spindle drive motors.
  • Tighten the belts, if necessary.

Please remember that these are suggestions to help increase the life of your CNC Lathe and prevent major problems. We are dedicated to producing quality products that keep our world running so if you have any questions about CNC Lathe maintenance or our CNC tooling products, please contact us.

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