This time of year, the cold temperatures may have you migrating south for the winter. Although the cold may slow you down or change how your operation runs, what impact does it have on your machine tools?
Operators of heavy machinery are familiar with the issues that can arise once temperatures drop below freezing. Fluids can thicken and freeze, metals can shrink, and water vapor can cause cracks when it freezes and melts. Thankfully, this is not usually the case for CNC machines. While the cold can slow down production due to supply chain issues, for example, CNC machines are usually not impacted severely due to the cold.
When it comes to CNC machines, the computer control portion is the one part that can be impacted by temperature. According to Edward Zitney, the President and Owner of MZI Precision in Huntington Beach, California, higher temperatures have more of an impact on CNC machines. Humidity and heat can impact the controls of the computer, potentially causing failure. Therefore, it’s best to make sure your shop is temperature controlled. CNC controls have fans and filters to keep them clean and dry. Changing these filters should be done on a routine. Also include changing the batteries at the machine. Although CNC machines are pretty robust in general, they do need some care.
Ed also mentioned how the extreme heat can make the material which is being machined or ground to close tolerances increase in size during the operation. High temperatures in a shop can have adverse effects on holding these close tolerances. High temperatures expand the material therefore making your machining or grinding operation out of spec. This will make the parts that are being made or ground out of tolerance This is most important when holding tolerances of .0001 or .0002 or even worse when trying to hold .000050 or less
If you’re still worried about how extreme temperatures can impact your shop and CNC machines, we’ve put together a few tips to keep your machines up and running through high and low temperatures.
- Keep your workspace at a comfortable, consistent temperature if possible. Not only will this help you avoid the majority of temperature issues altogether, it will also keep your shop employees happy. No one wants to work in a shop that is too hot or too cold.
- Make sure your workplace isn’t humid. Humidity can damage the computer in your CNC machine, so do your best to prevent your shop from becoming too steamy. Consider getting a dehumidifier for your shop to mitigate this issue.
- Keep up with preventative maintenance, especially in the months leading up to extreme temperatures. Regularly inspect your machines and immediately fix any leaks, breaks, or other damage. Clean and replace all filters, make sure the fan is clean and working properly. Airflow is important to the CNC control this will keep you out of trouble when the temperature gets hot outside.
Nothing is more important to the health of your business and machines than quick and effective maintenance. That’s why we launched UP!, a revolutionary network to connect those who need service to those who can provide it. Learn more about what we do and who we are!
No matter the time of year, preventative maintenance can help to keep your machines working efficiently. Schedule preventative maintenance through UP!