Our advice for anyone establishing their own CNC service
• Our pros and cons for anyone establishing a CNC service •
Based in Poole, Dorset, Entech is a Precision Engineering company that has provided a quality CNC service since 1989. Our team has an extensive range of machinery that allows us to complete our engineering projects. We supply certification for all work and have experience in producing and project managing work for . . .
Aerospace | MOD | Leisure | Motor Trade Industries | and more
Our Modern Machine Shop is fully stocked with manual and CNC turning and milling equipment. This way, we offer the most appropriate CNC service for our clients. Yet, to enhance our CNC service, we can also organise any necessary welding, fabrication, sheet metal treatments or finishes. With this said, we’re fully aware of the years of hard work it’s taken to reach this position – which is why we want to list the pros and cons of establishing a CNC service.
Behind the scenes: Monthly maintenance of our CNC service
• Maintenance ensures machines run correctly and make good, high-quality parts •
#1 | The Umbrella Tool Changer
Anyone with an umbrella tool changer knows it’s best to clean away any excess chips saturating the tool changer. We remove all the tools from the carousel, clean any chip build-up on the carousel plate and grease the extractor fingers. While doing so, we look for any wear or sharp edges on the extractor’s fingers. These indicate if they need replacing or whether the carousel plate has become misaligned with the spindle.
#2 | The Tool Doors & Tool Changer
While there, we check if the tool doors of the tool changer slide easily and do not get stuck in the open position. If stuck, chips may also wedge between the sheet metal, or the spring may be out of the track or broken and needs to be fixed or replaced. To access the doors, we remove the number plate and the sheet metal covering the stuck door. We lightly grease the v-rail guide rails and check for wear on the wheels and rails. We also ensure we clear away any chips on the rails that might interfere with the rollers as they roll along with the trap.
#3 | Mechanical & Proximity Sensors
Next, we inspect the motor’s mechanical sensors and proximity sensors. We check for frayed or damaged wires and remove chip build-up around the proximity centres. Then, we reinstall our tools and double-check to ensure they are secure. For side-mounted tool changers, we ensure no tools are loaded or commanded to change in MDI. We do this by pressing either ATC forward or reverse. When the tool changer has hit the bottom of the travel press, we stop the arm where it’s at. Then, with the arm lowered – and no tools loaded – we check the straightness of the tool changer arm. We place a straight edge level on both ends of the arm to verify that it is straight and there are no bends or twists. We check the V-groove and finger for wear, ensuring tools are held securely in the double arm. If worn or the tool holder is loose, we note whether these components may need replacing. If everything looks good, lightly grease the V-groove plungers and slider cap.
#4 | Sheet Metal & Wipers
Clear away any chips and check for damage to the sheet metal or wipers. It’s also worth doing the same for anywhere coolant might potentially leak into the machine and damage components. If the weight covers are good, we spray a light coat of rust preventative and run the axes back and forth to apply the preventative evenly. Opening up the loop panel, we check the spindle lubrication tank level. If the level has dropped below the recommendation, we refill the tank using the correct oil for our machines.
#5 | The Filters
Now, while we’re at the back of the machine, we turn off the power and ensure the red led light on the vector drive is off. For newer machines, we remove the air filter and clean away any dust particles with compressed air. For older vector drives, there are no filters to remove, so we simply use a rag or duster when cleaning the vents.
#6 | The Coolant Tank
Next, we check the cleanliness of the coolant tank by dredging the bottom of the tank. If there is excessive chip build-up, we dredge the remainder of the tank until it is clean. Otherwise, we leave the tank as is. For machines with ball screws and linear guides – such as the tool room mill – we use two or four strokes of grease to lubricate components. While we recommend doing this every month, this is dependent on the usage of the machine. On machines with counterbalances, we check the gauge reading and verify it against the recommended value for our machine. We are careful not to touch the pressure tank and only check the gauge. We allow the pressure reading to be up to 50 psi or 3 bars higher than the recommended reading. However, if at any point the pressure drops below the recommended value – or is more than 50 psi or 3 bars higher than the recommended value – we stop operation.