Keeping machinery in optimum working condition is important to everyone. Getting the most out of your machine in terms of performance and uptime can be assisted by a small amount of routine housekeeping. You will never completely eliminate service calls – don’t believe anyone who says you can – but you can and will reduce them and help get the best level of reliability and quality from your machine by following these 7 simple steps.
- Check all emergency stops
Before anything else, this is the most important part of your machine. This is what keeps you and your operators safe while the machine is running. Check all emergency stop devices around your machine daily and immediately replace any damaged or faulty parts. Also, ensure the surroundings are entirely free of flammable substances, including around the machine and on or inside the cutting table itself. This could be bits of cardboard, paper, cloths, and even cigarette stubs.
- Clean all rails and bearing surface
As a natural part of the cutting process your machine is going to get coated in metal dust, even with the best extraction. To keep everything running smoothly you need to clean down all rail and linear bearing surfaces each day, keeping your machine constantly ready for operation.
- Top up coolant
Plasma cutting machines run hot, especially larger systems like the HPRXD and XPR300 which include a pump to cool the torch during cutting. Check the coolant levels on these systems every day – the last thing you want is for your machine to run out during a long production run. Adding coolant is a simple procedure, but you want to be doing it at the beginning of your day rather than halfway through. Make sure you’re using the correct coolant – and whatever you do, don’t use water!
- Replace worn consumables
A plasma cutting machine is a long-lasting, heavy-duty piece of kit, but it still has parts that require regular monitoring and replacement. To keep your machine running in optimal condition inspect it each day for signs of wear and tear, particularly the consumable parts in the torch head. When consumables begin to reach the end of their operational lifespan they can be easily replaced.
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- Home your machine daily
Fitting the best plasma system to the best machine is worthless if your machine isn’t running square. Perform a ‘homing’ sequence daily or at the start of a shift to send the machine to the factory set datum/zero XY position. This will check if the Rail (X) and Transverse (Y) axes positions are within tolerance and running perpendicular to each other.
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- Check your filters (if you have one)
Hazardous fumes generated during the cutting process are drawn in to the cutting table safety away from your operators by a fan or filtration system. If you have a filtration system, check the condition of your filter cartridges regularly. Over-laden filter cartridges prevent the filtration system from running correctly, filling your work floor with hazardous particulates. Replacing the cartridges is a cheap and simple process, so don’t pass it over.
- Look after your cutting table
Regular maintenance of the cutting table is very important. Overusing the cutter bars or allowing buildups of slag will prevent your plate from sitting flat and lead to bevelled edges on the parts you cut. Check the condition of your cutter bars frequently and replace them when necessary.
The cutting table doesn’t just support your plate though. Excessive buildups of slag on the cutter bars or overflowing debris bins will disrupt this air flow, preventing proper extraction and causing these fumes to be released into the working area. Stop this from happening by cleaning out the debris bins on a regular basis.
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