Listed below are six preventative maintenance steps to help keep your woodworking machinery running, and your plant productive.
1 Schedule maintenance according to equipment usage. Although some machines prompt the operator to perform certain maintenance tasks, waiting until this happens can interfere with production. If tasks are scheduled in advance, they’re less likely to be postponed or forgotten. The more you use a machine, the more abuse it takes, so plan machine maintenance frequencies accordingly. If you run a small edgebander eight hours a day, a maintenance schedule of once every six months is probably adequate for that machine. But if you’re running three shifts on the same machine, you might need to perform maintenance tasks on it once every three months or even more frequently if you don’t have a qualified maintenance crew.
2 Ensure that the preventive maintenance tasks being performed are beneficial to the equipment. Greasing the rack and pinion of a beam saw, for instance, can cause grease and saw dust to solidify inside the gears over time, eventually preventing them from moving. If you’re unsure which tasks are beneficial to each piece of equipment, ask your equipment representative.
3 Ensure that the preventive maintenance tasks being performed are beneficial to the equipment. Greasing the rack and pinion of a beam saw, for instance, can cause grease and saw dust to solidify inside the gears over time, eventually preventing them from moving. If you’re unsure which tasks are beneficial to each piece of equipment, ask your equipment representative.
4 Buy spare parts before they’re needed. Ask your equipment provider for a recommended spare parts list. You need not buy everything on the list, but when service technicians are in your plant, ask what they recommend that you keep in your plant. The most needed parts usually can be purchased inexpensively, minimizing downtime when they’re needed.
5 Let employees learn from equipment service personnel. When a technician is working on a machine, have appropriate personnel watch and ask questions. After a few visits with a service tech, your operator may be able to troubleshoot, fix simple problems, and know when to call for expert help. The technician can tell you which preventive maintenance procedures your operator may be competent to perform.
6 Document service visits. When you schedule a maintenance visit with an equipment manufacturer, make sure that the service tech will record the inspection. It’s important to document not only the date of service, but also what parts of the machine have been checked and what service was performed. Have the rep provide a copy of the inspection record. This checklist will function as a record to the manufacturer and will help you identify items your employees should be inspecting on their own.
Source: Stiles Machinery Inc. For more information call (616) 698-7500 or visit StilesMachinery.com.
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