How the Right Machine Tool Gives You Back Valuable Time in Your Day

Productivity. It’s a term often heard on manufacturing shop floors around the world. The term is often interchangeable with words such as “efficiency rates” or “production levels”. From small shop owners and operators to larger manufacturing facilities, a commonality is the desire to maximize production lines and rates for their manufactured parts.

There is, however, an important distinction to make – just because you are actively busy does not equate to being productive – or better yet, profitable. For CNC (computerized numeric control) machine operations, there’s one task that each machine tool requires daily that checks the “busy” box and not the “productive” one – and that’s a spindle warm-up routine.

What if we told you it’s possible to shorten the spindle warm-up routine? And the design characteristics found in a high-quality machine tool will allow for a quicker overall process. The time savings may be nominal per machine tool, but when a team is responsible for multiple machine warm-ups per day, this time will compound from minutes per day to hours per week to days per year. And more importantly, the time saved can be better spent on revenue-generating activities such as manufacturing parts.

Do Not Sacrifice Accuracy by Skipping the Spindle Warm-Up Routine

With any machine tool, the spindle warm-up process prescribed in the equipment manual should be followed before the machining process is started. Defining a proper spindle warm-up routine will ensure spindle bearings and raceways are properly lubricated and brought to appropriate operating temperature before the first cut, ultimately preventing unwanted wear and ensuring more accurate parts. But the time for this process will vary for machine type and, of course, by manufacturer – an important criterion to examine during the purchasing decision.

Hold Your Machine Tool Accountable for Your Productivity and Profitability

Although warming up your machine tool is an essential process for creating high-quality and accurate parts, it does not need to be time-consuming. With robust, thermally stable Okuma machine tools, shop floors can reclaim valuable time each day by shortening their spindle warm-up routine. Here’s how:

Mechanical: Thermo-Friendly Concept. The thermal control features of your machine tool play an important role when attempting to reduce spindle warm-up time. A machine tool’s physical design is critical in determining how all machine components reach and maintain appropriate temperatures. 

Known for their rigidity and mass, Okuma machine tools are always engineered and constructed for temperature balance – and the spindle is no exception. Symmetrically built with simple shapes, square angles, and straight lines allows for extremely predictable thermal growth and deformation management. When looking to expedite the spindle warm-up routine, the Thermo-Friendly Concept typically allows for a 30% (or more) reduction of the overall spindle warm-up process.

Electronic: Thermal Active Stabilizer (TAS-S). The largest source of heat generation in a machine tool is from the main spindle motor. As spindle speeds increase, even more heat begins to build, and the industry-standard double cooling oil jacket and other physical attributes are not enough to eliminate thermal growth alone.

Several models of Okuma machine tools can be equipped with intelligent TAS-S software. These sensors are located throughout the casting and at the top and bottom of the spindle with the purpose of aiding in the prediction and real-time compensation required based on the amount of heat generated by the main spindle. This temperature data is fed to the OSP Control that uses an algorithm to calculate thermal growth offsets. These data points are collected and analyzed during the spindle warm-up process, which, in turn, accelerates the exercise to achieve appropriate temperatures even quicker.

Manual: Reduce Human Intervention. Many times, shop owners and operators elect to perform several test runs to offset the effects of ambient workplace temperatures, heat produced by the machine being powered on, and heat generated during the cutting process. This can dramatically extend the spindle warm-up process and increase the perceived need and frequency of manual adjustments conducted by the operator.

Given the mechanical (Thermo-Friendly Concept) and electronic (TAS-S) factors found within Okuma machine tools, machine tool operators have the ability to jump into mass production with minimum manual measurements and adjustments. This greatly decreases time spent in the spindle warm-up phase. Another benefit of eliminating the manual intervention of a human is the reduction in the chance of operator error.

Extra Production Means Extra Revenue!

If you choose to invest in a high-quality, robust Okuma machine tool, we can guarantee that you will continue to experience ways overall savings and total cost of ownership make a positive financial impact on your shop floor – basically having the machine tool pay for itself!

So, are you ready to save valuable time in your day? Imagine how much more efficient and profitable your shop could be if you didn’t have to spend so much time invested in the spindle warm-up routine. Those mounting minutes can be used to increase production levels and extra production mean extra revenue!

Focusing solely on the spindle warm-up routine, this blog post serves as a mere glimpse into the total cost of ownership conversation and we’re eager to tell you more! Have questions or want to connect? At Okuma, we are always here to help. Contact your local distributor or register to speak with our experts directly with On-Demand with Okuma.

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