Breaking in for the Better
You can ask any athlete, whether it is a basketball star or the most valuable player on the track team, the warm-up is crucial for them to perform at their best. Imagine an athlete who didn’t complete their practice laps or stretch their hamstrings. Not only will their ability to perform be diminished but their chances of injury also increase. This situation is comparable to running CNC machinery without fulfilling a routine break-in. The performance of the machine greatly depends on this process and can affect not only the condition of the mechanism but also the parts the machine is being used to produce.
Break-in Cycle Effects
The break-in cycle allows for lubrication of the CNC machine throughout its system. This ensures the equipment works at its highest capacity by preventing the castings from settling. Once applied, the warm-up routine reduces the overall friction within the system. Reducing the internal friction expands the life of the machine by minimizing wear to individual components.
When utilizing your CNC machine, the heat generated causes the castings and various components to go through thermal expansion which affects the consistency of the parts created using it. An established warm-up routine will allow you to compensate for thermal expansion thereby increasing the precision of the work you do with your CNC machine. The break-in cycle stabilizes the machine’s temperature which will enable you to create consistent results.
Programs Specific for Your Purpose
Identifying the right break-in program for your CNC machine ensures that the system is “warmed-up” optimally. For example, when installing a new spindle, there is a specific break-in program that allows for the most effective use of the system. Programs like this are readily available for your use, and it is as easy as copying and pasting the code into Notepad and saving it as a .txt file. Parameter values will vary depending on the program entered and the specifications of your machine. Once correctly implemented, the program should result in a warm, prepped system, ready to deliver consistent parts for you and your clients.
Safety Note! – Before utilizing code supplied in articles or online it is imperative to understand what each line of the code does before implementing it. Never execute machine code from an outside source prior to reviewing it.
Optimally Using Break-in Cycles
Many people wonder when and how often their equipment should undergo a break-in program. The following situations are excellent times to implement a break-in program:
- The machine has not been in use for over 4 hours
- The area that holds the equipment tends to be cold, even if the system has only been idle for a short period
- You are in need of incredibly precise, accurate cuts
- The spindle needs to be run immediately, at high speeds
What Benefits Do You Reap?
Taking the initiative to maintain your CNC equipment can make a meaningful difference, especially when considering the system in the long-term. By partaking in these small steps, you, your business, and your clients will benefit exponentially. You will feel the advantages of the following components rewarding you for taking action.
Cost-savings – Proper maintenance prevents the machinery from breaking. Prolonging the usable life of your machines saves cost.
Consistent Results – The lubrication and prepping of your CNC machine ensures that thermal expansion effects are minimal. This increases overall precision resulting in reduced waste.
Customer Satisfaction – As your machine delivers consistent results, your customers will be sure to be satisfied. Imprecise pieces often result in client frustration due to the reduced quality of the finished products, delays in production cycles due to rejected parts, and/or canceled jobs. Properly maintained CNC machines keep clients happy by producing uniform results.
Ensuring a Job Well Done
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Preparation is essential for a successful job in any endeavor. By promoting optimal conditions, you are getting the most out of your time, machine, and money. Begin making break-in programs a habit of your daily machining routines. Bringing this component into your machining process will guarantee not only your clients’ satisfaction but yours as well!