This is not an easy question to answer. We all know that machines can move and don’t stay level forever. Do you ever have a crash on your machine that could throw off the alignment? While we hope this doesn’t happen often, the reality is, crashes and wrecks do happen.
However, there are some things you can implement that can help prevent wrecks and ensure your CNC machine stays in alignment longer.
First, do you have a regular Predictive Maintenance program to check that your milling machine or turning center is level and the axes are in alignment? If not, don’t worry: most shops have not implemented a regular PM geometry alignment program, but maybe now is the time to start! The results of implementing a regular PM program can have a major positive impact in your machine shop. Perhaps it’s time to get ahead of potential problems.
Let’s look into why companies do not do this regularly.
The most common complaint is the amount of time that it takes to make these checks. However, there are tools that can make these checks much more streamlined.
If this is a problem in your machine shop, we encourage you to check out the new line of tools produced by MEAX that allow you to measure or level your machine in half the time or less than conventional methods.
Think about this: we take time to check the coolant level, we lubricate the machine according to the recommended intervals, we take time to measure the parts that we produce. Companies that make their uptime statistics and producing parts within the allowable tolerances (without requesting a deviation from the customer) a priority, must make the time to check their machines. Is your facility one of them?
This is an exciting era for the machine tool world. The days of checking alignment with indicators, ground bars, granite blocks and machinists levels are disappearing, but better, more efficient tools are replacing these older methods. Now there are fast, accurate and easy-to-use laser measuring tools for checking spindle coaxiality, the pointing direction of the spindle, and the squareness of any axis to another.
Using the new leveling tools like our MEAX level, which are more accurate than machinist levels and can be connected remotely to a display unit, will allow you to quickly make adjustments in two axes at one time.
In any industry, it’s important to work to stay ahead of the curve so that your business can bring customers the best possible products and incur the least possible cost and waste of effort. This is certainly true when it comes to machine tools. Implementing tools with modern technology and multi-faceted applications is a win-win for your employees and customers.
Photo courtesy: iStockphoto.com/Phuchit