6 Ways to Keep Your Centerless Grinder More Productive

Having an insanely productive centerless grinding machine is a great thing.  It not only cuts your workplace stress and earns you kudos from your boss, but it also makes your production line more efficient and your company more profitable.  With those advantages in mind, here are six tips to keep your centerless grinder running efficiently and effectively.

Change your oil on a regular basis

Oil, the lifeblood of your centerless grinder, keeps the most important components on your machine working properly.  If you don’t change your oil regularly, those components are nearly guaranteed to fail, leading to time-consuming and costly repair.  Don’t let dirty oil hamper production.  Another tip:  Make sure to change your machine’s oil filter on a regular basis.

Clean off your grinding swarf

Your machine coolant carries swarf – a lot of it – every time it travels through the machine.  Let’s assume that your grinder operator turns off the machine at the end of her shift.  As coolant drains out of the machine, swarf remains and begins to harden.  Repeat this process multiple times and, before you know it, swarf has built up and gets into places where it should not.  Because the machine door no longer closes properly due to accumulated swarf, coolant now leaks all over the floor.  The centerless grinding machine must be shut off to dig out hardened swarf.  That might be a brief task, but it still causes lost production and can lead to wasted production as scrap potential is higher on machine restart.   If swarf makes its way under a seal and allows coolant to flow into places it shouldn’t, a more serious condition can arise.  A bearing could fail prematurely, and that’s a huge downtime issue. 

The moral of the story:  With mounds of swarf accumulating in grinding applications, it is imperative that these metal shards are kept away from the internal components of the machine, where they can act as an abrasive and shorten the life of key components.  Take ten minutes at the end of every shift to spray your machine and wipe it down.  Not only will it eliminate big problems, but it will make the machine look nice, too. 

Check your gibs

They’re responsible for keeping your machine components tight and in place, and any movement or wear on your gibs can cause misalignment, leading to poor part quality and poor part finish. 

Conduct preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance keeps you ahead of the game by tracking machine wear and resolving minor issues before they morph into problems.  Preventive maintenance is proven to:

  • Extend machine life
  • Reduce emergency repairs
  • Increase machine efficiency and reliability

Take the time to establish and implement a preventive maintenance program on all your high-dollar machine tools, including your centerless grinders. 

Identify critical parts and keep them in stock

In an earlier blog, we suggested that you log all of your grinders on a spreadsheet.  Prioritize machines by their impact on product shipment. How long can a machine be down before it jeopardizes shipping of finished product?  Is there a buffer between the critical machine and the next operation?  If so, how long is that buffer?  Now that you’ve identified the most important grinding machines, decide which parts you’ll need to purchase and whether they need to be in stock.  This time-consuming task can be streamlined by grading potential spare parts as “A” (can buy locally), “B” (can be obtained within 24 - 48 hours) or “C” (long lead time and should be on shelf). The bottom line:  Know what parts you use and understand what you absolutely have to have on your shelf to avoid downtime, then make a plan.

Visually inspect hoses, belts and cable

Before each shift, take a look around the machine and examine hoses, belts and cable for wear patches and loose connections.

Need additional grinding advice and machine tips? Contact Total Grinding Solutions at 586-541-5300 or [email protected]. Visit www.totalgrindingsolutons.com.

 

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