“Prevention is better than cure”. With reference to this proverb, the task performed to make the machine tools work perfectly is called ‘Maintenance’. This is achieved by ensuring that machine tools, cutting tools and measuring instruments function properly without any fault.
The primary objective of the maintenance department is to ensure the machine tools, instruments, tools and accessories in good working condition. It is also necessary to ensure safety to both the machine tools and the operator. The accuracy and efficiency of the machine tools and the instruments are also to be maintained properly. By performing maintenance, we can avoid accidents inside the workshop and increase the production capacity.
All the machine tools are driven by electrical motors. It is necessary that the switches, fuse, the connections and other controls should be in order. Care should also be taken to keep in good conditions the parts used for transmitting power from the motor – gears, chain drive, belt drive etc.,
The rotating shafts of the machine tools are fitted with bearings and suitably supported by different types of brackets. As bearings are precision parts, we have to apply grease or any lubricating oil at recommended intervals to keep them in good operating conditions. The sliding parts of various machine tools should be maintained cleanly without any dirt on them. The metal chips should be cleaned at regular intervals.
The moving and rotating parts should be properly lubricated at the brackets where they are fitted.
The coolant pumps, filter elements, pipelines and valves should always be in good working condition.
The tools, accessories, special attachments and measuring instruments should be in good working conditions and be placed in their respective places.
Wear & Tear and Backlash
Wear and tear – Due to continuous working of a machine tool and the nature of work performed on it, wear and tear is observed in the sliding parts of machine tools. As a result of this, the accuracy of the products is affected. In remedy, it is necessary to repair the said machine tools. The affected parts are to be replaced if necessary.
Backlash – Some slackness is observed in holding of parts, meshing gears or bolt and nut assembly. This slackness is known as backlash. If the amount of backlash is more in the case of mating gears, they should be replaced. The wear and tear on the gears should be observed once in a week time.
The term machine tools refers not only the cutting tool. It means the machines, cutting tools, attachments, measuring instruments and accessories.