Phil Ramsden, Bohle’s resident machinery expert, explains why a little TLC can go a long way when it comes to running your machinery.
Time is money and machinery downtime swallows-up both. Tracking just how much time you can lose to out of service machinery can deliver some staggering results. It can be all the more frustrating when you realise that it could have been avoided with basic maintenance.
It’s important to recognise that this isn’t just about avoiding downtime but also safeguarding production quality. Regular maintenance of machinery and selection of the right consumables is also a key driver of finish quality.
Here’s my list of common pitfalls:
- Water: 90 per cent of the issues I see are water-related. Most glass processing machinery needs a good flow of good quality water. Ensure water jets are clear and pointing in the right direction - the processing contact point.
- Cleanliness: Clean cooling water increases the performance of machinery by up to 20 per cent and the service life of tools by up to 30 per cent. But it can all too easily become contaminated with particles from drilling, polishing and grinding impacting on machinery operation and product quality, ultimately leading to breakdown.
You need to make time to clean machinery or invest in systems that do it for you. Bohle’s range of Sedimentors are suitable for a wide assortment of grinding, drilling and sawing glass equipment, using a sophisticated multi-stage process to remove contaminants from coolants and water, reducing downtime and improving quality. Otherwise you really should be planning around an hour a week per machine for routine cleaning.
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- Consumables quality: Make sure that wheels, belts and drills are in good working condition and that they’re manufactured to a high quality. For example your choice of glass cutter or cutting wheel is absolutely critical to end-product quality. The use of carbide steel and polycrystalline diamond wheels has been one of the major innovations in manual and automatic glass cutting technology, offering a service life several times longer than conventional cutting wheels but moreover, consistency in quality right up until the last cut. Cutmaster Gold. Our carbide automatic cutting wheel has 10 times the life expectancy of a standard cutting wheel, delivering a consistent cut of up to 250km.
- Adjustments: Your choice of cutting wheel is a major factor in product quality but also how they’re set up. Do you need to reset your cutting wheels? On your grinder, is your belt tension correct?
- Training: This is obvious isn’t it? Well not always. Untrained operatives can wreck machinery. It may not happen overnight but overtime inappropriate or untrained use of machinery will reduce its service life. Invest time in training. As part of our service and machinery offer, Bohle works with its customers to not only optimise machinery but also train those who use it.
- ‘One operative, one machine’: This is always the best policy. Even with the best training, if lots of different operatives are using a machine it can lead to quality issues. I realise this is not always possible all the of time but developing skilled and dedicated operative teams is the best policy and can pay dividends.
- ‘Authority paradox’: Sometimes managers can try to ‘fix’ machine issues in an attempt to avoid engineer costs. Don’t let them! We have seen call outs where significant additional cost has been incurred through ‘in-house’ repairs. We would appeal to all glass processing operatives to use your diplomatic skills and stop your bosses from making things worse!
- Glass Handling devices: This is perhaps less about machinery than safety. Whether transport pliers or suction pads, make sure all contact surfaces are clean so that loads are secure. Is your 12-month test due? Put it in the diary.
- Safety: That last point served as a general reminder of the importance of safety. Always wear the correct personal protective equipment and never ignore warning signs. If something is wrong with your machine, it is better to be safe than sorry. Cost of downtime pales into insignificance compared to injury. If you have any doubts about safety shut down and make sure you’re protected. We sell a full range of protective equipment.
- Ask first: Give us a call. If you’re unsure about what to order or if you think that one of our machines isn’t doing quite what it’s meant to get in touch. A simple call could save you a fortune in time and money. Call the customer services team free on 0800 616151 or email email@example.com