Preventative Maintenance is crucial to extending the life of your machine and avoiding costly, unscheduled downtime. Checking your machine regularly during shift changes is an easy way to avoid minor issues and an opportunity for early intervention with problems that, over time, could result in unscheduled downtime events.
Here are five essential preventive maintenance activities that will help keep your machines running, reduce unforeseen downtime events, and protect your operators.
1. Level and Parallel
Confirm your machine is level and parallel to the moving platen and stationary platen. During normal operations, your machines can jostle. A machine out of level will have uneven wear to the skate-ways, rods, bushings, and everything that guides the moving platen and mold.
The experienced operator should be able to visually look and see if wear is occurring. Watch out for uneven grease flow around the rods. This is a red flag that can indicate a machine that is out of level or parallel. Make this part of your monthly observations and checks and yearly preventive maintenance program.
2. Heater Bands
For most machines, temperature set points range from 350° to 600° F. Whatever your set point is, you want to make sure your bands are reaching the correct temperatures. You will also want to verify the bands are in contact with the barrel and that each zone is heating to spec. If you see temperature variations or temperature fluctuations, it can indicate that you have a burnt-out heater band. You’ll want to check that zone with a trained electrician to ensure the band is working properly. You should replace if found to be defective. If you find a heater band in need of replacement, to minimize down time event, you should consider replacement of the set. Call your regional service manager for additional details or to set up a Milacron Service Tech visit to inspect and replace.
3. Grease Flows
Operators should look inside the operator door to make sure all parts are moving and to make sure there is a film of grease on the rods and skates. You will also want to make sure the nylon tubing that runs to the distribution blocks doesn’t have air bubble in the lines. This indicates the grease flow is not making to the lube points on the machine and can cause premature failure to your machine.
4. Safety Checks
You should always check all your safety limit switches on a regular basis. Over time, limit switches can be bumped or damaged. This can cause intermittent alarms dropping your machine out of cycle. You want to make sure that the bolts holding the limit switch to the device are snug and that the trip arms are adjusted for proper usage.
5. Cabinet Filters/ Tank Breathers
Cabinet air filters should be replaced regularly for appropriate air flow inside the panel. You can remove the cover from the outside of your cabinet doors. This allows you to access the air filter elements for cleaning and replacement. Tank air breathers, which are typically located on top of the tank, should be free and clean of debris as well. Dirty tank breathers will cause your tank to expand and contract as oil flows to and from the tank. If not maintained, this could potentially cause fatigue cracks to occur in the weld seams of your reservoir.
Doing these five preventative maintenance activities will help your machine operate safely and efficiently. It will also help you avoid costly unscheduled downtime. Our team is always here to help support you and your staff with any questions, concerns or training needs. Call your regional service manager for additional details or to set up your yearly program.