The precision grindersprecision grinder is one of the most accurate machine tools anywhere. Whether it is a surface grinder, tool-and-cutter grinder, or cylindrical grinder, the accuracy and reliability depend heavily on how it is used and cared for.
There are many precision tool grinding machine shops that have outstanding reputations for quality and prompt delivery. One thing these shops have in common is a respect for the very machines that provide their livelihood. It is sad, indeed, when you see a high quality precision machine tool covered with grit, coolant, and in a general state of abuse
Use an industrial dust collector
In many small job shops with precision grinders, the dust collection system is totally inadequate. The grinding grit and debris is everywhere: covering granite surface plates, grinding chucks, on the gage block sets, etc. This is totally preventable by installing a proper system. Another overlooked area is the filters, they must be regularly changed to keep the air clean.
5S the precision grinders
The implementation of 5S in the tool room is a great idea that truly makes a difference in quality and output. It is amazing how much useless old tooling is usually lying around in a typical shop with precision grinders. Old fixtures, useless but seemingly valuable tooling, broken components are just a few of the things that need to go.
Once the remaining sine plates, surface plates, squaring blocks, height gages and so on, are in their designated place, it is so much easier to work. Now everyone knows where everything is and where to put it back when they are finished. 5S also keeps people honest because they have to put things back, instead of hoarding it.
Make and keep a maintenance schedule for precision grinders
Some tools shops operate on the principle of “if it breaks, fix it.” In other words, there is no maintenance schedule at all. Time spent filling the Bijur oiler, replenishing the way oil is time well spent.
Once the ways of the precision grinders are damaged, it is only downhill from there on. It is so much easier to take care of the lubrication than repair things after they are damaged.
If your precision grinders use coolant, keep the reservoir clean and full. It takes the same amount of time to fill the tank now as it does later, so take the time to fill it. This will prolong the life of the pump and save money.
Keep the air hose away
It should be obvious, but the air hose has no place near the precision grinders. Sure, the workpiece needs to be blasted with an air hose to remove the grit and coolant, but it should be far enough away that nobody can use it on the grinder itself.
The pressurized air blowing on tiny metal particles and grinding grit will find their way into the ball screws, ways, and anywhere else these things don’t belong. The damage to your precision grinders will occur quickly and be severe.
Keep the precision grinders clean
This is by far the most common bad practice in just about any tool and die, mold making or precision machine shop. For some reason, some people seem to think that they are exempt from cleaning the machine after they use it. Maybe they were spoiled as children, I don’t know, but every shop seems to have a few of these individuals.
After using the machine, take 5 minutes, or less, to clean it. This makes everyone’s life easier, and helps extend the life of the precision grinders.