In many ways, machines are the lifeblood of every metalworking operation, responsible for transforming raw materials into useful parts and components, feeding supply chains around the world. Ranging from CNC mills and lathes, to grinders, broaching and hobbing machines, metalworking machines enable the creation of complex geometries out of many materials for every industry. Because of their central role in production, extending machine lifespan is critical to improving nearly every KPI you use to measure success.

What operational factors impact machine lifespan? What does it take to increase the durability of your equipment and maximize service life? Read on to learn more.

The Impact of Poor Machine Lifespan

Every piece of equipment in your machine shop has a limited lifespan, and it takes proper usage and care to achieve each machine’s full potential. Failure to follow proper protocols in maintaining your machinery can result in:

  • Reduced productivity from excessive machine downtime — both from frequent and unexpected repairs.
  • Lower employee morale due to poor performing equipment that makes operation more difficult, time consuming, and error prone.
  • Increased material costs from higher scrap rates, and more frequent part replacement
  • Higher operating costs from repair expenses, employee turnover, material waste, and other increased expenses that add up over time.

Issues with just one piece of equipment can cause a cascade of problems throughout your operation. Fortunately, there are strategies available to extend machine lifespan.

How to Maximize Machine Lifespan

With proper care, it’s possible to ensure each machine in your operation reaches the manufacturer estimated lifespan — or even surpasses it. Here’s how:

  • Conduct regular and recommended maintenance. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for routine inspections, cleaning, lubrication, maintenance, and part replacements. Regular maintenance keeps machines performing optimally and prevents small mechanical issues from escalating into more costly and disruptive problems. Maintenance should also include the calibration and alignment of the machine components to maintain precision and accuracy. Misalignment can lead to increased wear and reduced accuracy. If you don’t have the capability to perform maintenance yourself, contact the manufacturer to see if they have a service program and technicians who can visit your site. Don’t neglect proper machine preventative maintenance. 
  • Change cutting tools as necessary. While it’s important to maximize cutting tool life as much as possible to control costs, you should also replace them at the right time to maintain part quality. Replacing cutting tools will minimize vibrations and create a smoother operation and less spindle load, reducing wear and tear on machinery and protecting it from damage that could shorten its lifespan.
  • Train operators appropriately. Carefully teach employees how to correctly operate machinery, both in terms of cutting technique and machine utilization. Improper usage may put unnecessary stress on machinery, resulting in damage and, ultimately, a shorter lifespan. Remember that industrial machine manufacturers often have educational materials on how to use their equipment, including video tutorials.
  • Practice cutting fluid maintenance. When coolant is kept at proper concentrations and regularly cleaned of tramp oil and contaminants, it’s better at improving cutting performance and protecting machines from corrosion. Ensuring consistent and optimized cutting fluid performance reduces mechanical stress on machinery, minimizes wear and tear, and promotes overall longevity for each piece.

Optimize Cutting Fluid Performance with Master Fluid Solutions

Machine lifespan is influenced by a number of elements, but cutting fluid has some of the most substantial impact. Coolant affects nearly every part of a machine, including pumps and spindles, as well as how much wear and tear each mechanical part is subjected to during operation. Selecting the proper cutting fluid and maintaining it correctly can add years of life to your equipment.

Fluids in the TRIM® catalog are known across the world for their ability to improve part quality and maximize tool life. By extension, TRIM fluids are a great way to protect your substantial investment in machinery. Try a new cutting fluid in your sump free of charge, today.