A grinding machine can cost as much as a Ferrari, so treat it like one.
Simon Richardson, ANCA Product Manager has been working with Tool Grinders for many years and has had the privilege of visiting several tooling workshops around the world. Meeting with customers in different conditions and with different grinding requirements has built his knowledge on how to set up a work shop to get the most out of your machines. Simon said “Most of these tips would be part of an operators’ everyday activity, but is always good to remind ourselves of some important housekeeping tasks. Following these tips will help grinders produce better tools, increase productivity, reduce breakdowns and extend the life of their machine.”
- Keep things tidy and in order: Every interaction with your company builds your brand – including your workshop. A tidy, clean and structured workplace will also ensure equipment is always within reach and readily available. This saves time, means items are not lost or misplaced, it also looks better when you have visitors. Start a 5S program within your company. You will be surprised of the results.
- Tightly maintain the ambient and coolant temperatures: When producing accurate tools, it is critical the ambient and coolant temperature is stabilised within one degree of each other. A chiller will ensure the correct oil temperature is maintained and is definitely worth the investment.
- Use the best coolant system you can’t afford: A lot of companies don’t spend enough or see the value in a decent coolant system. Clean filtered coolant will enhance the grinding performance and keep the machine looking good like new. A good filtration system will also ensure the longevity of the machine and maximise the return on investment.
- Handle and store precious items carefully: Items such as collet adaptors and grinding wheels can be expensive and are critical to producing quality tools, so they need to be stored and handled with care. Providing proper storage not only protects these valuable items but also keeps your inventory visible and manageable.
- Dress and condition grinding wheels on a regular basis: Frequent dressing and conditioning of grinding wheels will ensure higher productivity, the wheels will perform better and the surface finish of the tools will improve. Worn wheels also makes your spindle work harder putting this critical machine part under unnecessary stress.
- Keep collets clean and in good condition: This may sound like a no brainer, but you will be surprised how many grinding shops use collets with grinding marks on the nose and dirt inside the collet. Sometimes we just hang on to collets too long. Collets should be considered a consumable item and replaced as required.
- Use high quality blanks and the correct insert depth into the collet: You can’t breed a winning racehorse from mules. Similarly, if you want to produce a good quality tool, start with a good quality blank. Put the maximum amount of tool into the collet, ANCA’s 3D Cimulator can calculate the maximum insertion depth for you automatically – preventing you from grinding into the collet.
- Read the machine manual: If you buy a new machine or the machine is not familiar to you, then read the manual and documentation that comes with the machine, you will be amazed how much you will learn and time you will save. You may also avoid some expensive mistakes. Most companies will also have videos to help their customers understand how to use the tool machine, and here at ANCA we have been putting tool grinding tips out on a weekly basis. Follow #ToolTipTuesday on ANCA’s Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn feed to ensure you don’t miss any.
- Follow the maintenance schedule advised by the machine manufacturer: Dedicate time at the end of the week to conduct the stipulated maintenance tasks and clean the machine. Like any technology, taking the time out to conduct preventative maintenance will be of great value in the long term. Preventative maintenance is better managed and has less impact on your company then unplanned breakdown maintenance.
- Ensure the air supply and electrical power to the machine meet the machine manufacturers recommendations: Follow the guidelines as stipulated by the manufactures is terms of air quality and electrical supply to the machine. You will be surprised how many costly breakdowns could have been avoided by following a few simple rules upon installation.