The control is the brain, the motor is the muscle, but the spindle is the beating heart of any CNC machine tool. Machining centers, just like the human body, need a reliable heart to avoid mishaps and tragedies. For machine shops, these tragedies can manifest in unforeseen repair costs and downtime that can drag on for days and weeks.
When a spindle stops working, cutters break, and parts are injured. As a result, customer deliveries and cash flow are heavily affected. Additionally, operators may be injured while working with a dysfunctional spindle. Fortunately, a machine spindle preventive maintenance plan helps avoid all this unpleasantness. Curious to find out how to prolong your spindle life? Read on.
Parts & Characteristics Of Spindles On A Machining Center
Spindles are instrument-grade, high-precision machine tools. They are rotating components that hold and drive cutting tools or workpieces on lathes, milling machines, and other machine tools. They utilize belts, gear, and motorized, hydraulic or pneumatic drives and are available in various configurations depending on the application.
Most machine tool spindles that go in the heads of cutting tools feature a Morse taper or other standardized machine tool taper or portion of a tool holder that fits inside the opening of the spindle.
Spindle heads are used for speed machining operations and repetitive precision work such as close-tolerance center holes. There are various bearing types used with machine tool spindles. Some of them include:
- Air bearings
- Angular contact bearings
- Ceramic hybrid bearings
- Hydrostatic bearings
- Magnetic bearings
- Roller bearings
- Tapered roller bearings
Selecting machine tool spindles requires analyzing specifications, tool mounting, and spindle features directly affecting the overall function. Performance specifications include:
- Operating speed
- Spindle power
- Maximum torque
- Input voltage
Tips For Proper Spindle Care & Maintenance
Periodic predictive maintenance and inspection performed by professionals will help you reduce scrap, decrease downtime and save money on spindle repairs. Here are some tips to help you find and correct spindle problems before catastrophic failure and machine tool crashes.
It is crucial to a spindle’s longevity and overall performance to keep your lubricating fluids clean and at safe operating levels. Service the air-intake filters regularly if you have an air/oil spindle. Additionally, maintain spindle-bearing lubrication. It’s essential to keep the proper oil levels in these baths.
Gauge and test.
Assess your spindle’s runout every six months or after any crash via ground and calibrated spindle test bar. You can monitor your spindle’s spring force with a drawbar pull test.
Monitor spindle vibration levels.
If your machine has a built-in vibration sensing technology, pay attention to any alarms. Damaged spindle bearings usually cause more vibration, so replace them when necessary.
Check the cooling system.
If your spindle is high-speed and has a cooling system, ensure the chiller unit runs appropriately. A rise in the chiller system output temperature usually indicates a spindle problem. If this occurs, have a certified technician thoroughly check the system.
Keep the machine covers on.
Always re-install any machine covers that have been removed due to routine maintenance or any other reason. These covers protect the spindle area, keeping contaminants from infiltrating the spindle, its motor, and other components.
Get professional help for your spindle repair.
When your spindle requires a repair or rebuild, it’s best to have the machine tool professionals perform the services to ensure the use of factory-certified parts and that all repairs reflect the equipment’s original specifications.
Your experts at RMR aim to reduce your downtime, get your spindle back in production and return your machine tool running like it is brand new!
At RMR, we offer the following spindle repair services:
- Adjust to tight tolerances (.00005)
- Perform spindle vibration analysis
- Test motorized spindles up to 95 Amps 460 Volts, 3200 Hertz, 50 H.P., and 2 tons in weight
- Balance belt-driven spindles with a dedicated pulley, thereby increasing spindle life by as much as 50%
- Document evaluation and final readings for superior quality control
- Repair, rebuild, and store spindles in climate controlled environment
- Extend the warranty of your spindles past the standard 6 months
- Emergency repair 24/7, 365 days a year
- Newly expanded to 8,750 square feet
Nationwide Spindle Service & Repair by RMR
RMR Spindle Repair, Inc. is one of the world’s leading machine tools and automation components suppliers. We source our spindle repair parts and accessories only from the top manufacturers in the industry, using the highest quality selection of spindles, motors, lubrication systems, acoustic control systems, balance and process control systems, and other spindle machine parts.
Aside from our spindle repair and other spindle-related services, we have a dedicated clean space to meet your repair needs. We also offer professional spindle testing capabilities. We can provide the fastest turnaround times you will need, and our technicians and experts are among the highest skilled in their fields. Contact us today to discuss your spindle repair needs.