How to Keep Your CNC Machining Center in Good Shape

Posted on Jul 31, 2020

How to keep your CNC Machining Center in good shape

Whether you own a manufacturing business or a small CNC shop, the efficiency and status of the CNC machining center are crucial for the company's long-term success. That is why it is important to ensure that CNC machining centers are ready for rolling and smooth machining of parts in a timely manner. When something disrupts the operation of a CNC machining center, the consequences can be serious and have a very negative impact on your business and reputation. Even worse, many production systems and devices are customs made, so replacing or repairing them is expensive. If one or more machines fail, it can cost many, many wasted hours.

Therefore, it is crucial to have routine preventive maintenance checks to ensure that they are ready to operate as they should and to eliminate the possibility of shutting down production. In fact, the company can save up to 18 percent of its total cost of ownership by investing in proactive measures as opposed to reactive ones. But how exactly do you establish a preventive maintenance routine for your CNC machining center? Let’s break it down one by one.

Read More: Milling Machine & Machining Center


The Basics: Daily – Semi-annual Checks – Yearly Maintenance

Daily Inspections

By keeping up with daily inspections, you can prevent a problem from happening right from the get-go. If something is amiss and you start using your machine without thoroughly inspecting it first, you may be in for a lot of potential trouble. If something looks fine one day and operates wrong the next, an inspection can catch the issue before it’s too late. You should check the hydraulic fluid daily and make sure that the clamping pressure is at the correct level. Also, have a look at the grease level and top up if necessary and make sure the cooling system levels are ok. Finally, remove machining chips from your CNC machining center and grease the parts that look dry.

Half-year Extensive Check

Twice a year, it is important for the CNC to be checked by a specialist who will conduct more detailed tests and identify any potential threats to the system. During this service visit, the expert will conduct tests such as cleaning the coolant tank and removing chips or oil, cleaning the handle and jaws, and replacing the hydraulic oil as well as your line and suction filters. He might also clean the radiator and its fins and refill the cooling unit.

Yearly Maintenance

The yearly maintenance should ideally be performed by an expert who is not part of your company or machine shop. This way you can be sure that any issues that need immediate attention will not be overlooked. If you have been keeping up with the regular maintenance of your CNC machining center, then a professional maintenance check up should one hundred percent guarantee that your machine will be running smoothly in the future. The expert will perform a wide range of different tasks like checking the headstock and tailstock for tapering, the spindle for radial and end play, the turret for parallelism and inclination. He will also conduct a run-out chuck cylinder inspection. He will most likely also run a backlash program and adjust the X and Z axis if necessary. No matter what type of manufacturing business you operate, performing regular tests and checks on your CNC machining center will ensure that they run well enough to keep up with your customers’ demands.


Maintenance Schedule Tips

As CNC machining centers are advanced tools, they will require you and your team to perform various forms of maintenance and inspections. However, should be the final measure to ensure that your machines are repaired when needed. Instead, regular maintenance sessions should be scheduled to recognize potential issues before any actual problems occur, and maintenance without interrupting production. In addition, the maintenance schedule should be based on equipment usage patterns. You do not need to use certain equipment as frequently as other equipment, which means you do not have to perform regular maintenance frequently. But for equipment that is used hundreds of times a day, it is important to plan ongoing maintenance in advance.


Employee Check Standard Procedure

Don’t expect your plant manager to always recognize the condition of the machine in addition to all other duties. This is why automated tools and sensors are used: when necessary measures are taken to notify the necessary participants. However, employees who use this device are very aware of their condition and performance. Therefore, it is necessary to put a system into place that allows employees to contact the necessary managers and easily communicate maintenance requirements. For example, the system may run slower than before: employees need the right channels to share this information and ensure planned maintenance connections.

Stock Spare Parts 

CNC machines and larger systems can be very picky, so that individual components may be damaged or operated incorrectly-chip conveyor belt breaks, coolant system failure, nozzle clogging, accessories slowly fall off. Because these components often have non-standard designs, it is necessary to store a small number of spare parts somewhere on the site. Going further, you need to ensure that certain parts are available locally before proceeding. For example, for round knives-especially for unique designs-you will want to replace the spare parts immediately after the blade becomes dull. Inventory will certainly reduce the possibility of long-term failures that may occur while waiting for spare parts. Another aspect of preventive maintenance is to ensure the smooth operation of equipment, which may require replacement of parts or components in the event of an accident.

Maintenance Records

Every time you repair, replace, or even just check the equipment on the factory floor, you should record the event and status. It is also worth asking service technicians or engineers to record their findings and implemented solutions.

The documentation does something different for you and your team. First, it sets a benchmark for regular events that employees can refer to during service reviews. They know what the failure is or occur regularly, and will be able to better determine the prevention method.

Secondly, it serves as a list of equipment manufacturers and can be used in future transactions. Finally, it enables you to assess the true value of used equipment and equipment.

Don't Hold on to (too) Old Equipment

Eventually you will have to accept that it’s time to let go off a machine you have been using for a long. This requires analysts to continuously evaluate the performance, value, and reliability of existing equipment, which can easily become more ideal equipment. Make sure you have a system that simplifies this task, and that you have the right communication channels, just like the employees who operate the machines.


CNC Machining Centers on

You can find many CNC machining center suppliers on our site that are suitable for machining precision components. Just head to our product section or check out our search function to find hundreds of manufacturers in our product database. If you want to learn more about precision components related questions and their applications make sure to check out our other blog entries.

If you are interested in even more detailed manufacturing-related content make sure to check out our MTS Industry Channel. In this show, we introduce new products and trends while visiting manufacturers in their facilities!

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