Speed Up Your CNC Repairs
Chris Heeg 08.28.2013
When your CNC machine goes down, productivity and revenue go to zero. Then…it gets worse. All the time spent reviewing the problem costs money too. If you can save time in the CNC repair process, you can save money. In initial phases, your maintenance staff likely reviews the problem and makes every effort to troubleshoot. If this hits a brick wall, you turn to your machine tool builder or distributor for support. Bear in mind, if you’re an Okuma user, your likelihood of having downtime related to machine failures is greatly diminished. That’s just the way we build them. But if you’re behind on PM, or maybe you have a power outage, or perhaps you’re cutting a new, challenging part – well, things can happen.
Money Flying Out the Window
Over the years, communication about CNC repairs has evolved. We’ve always been able to talk on the phone: first from a desk phone in an office, and now from a cell phone in front of the machine tool. This required the maintenance staff to know what exactly what the machine tool builder support people needed. If further questions came up and a picture of the display or alarm information was needed, then either someone had to write down all the screen information and fax it, or take a picture with a film camera (and get it developed!), then snail mail the photo to the support people. This evolved to taking digital pictures or a screen shot and emailing. All this got the information to the support team faster, but still involved a time delay – and money flying out the window.
Remote Troubleshooting Gets You Up to Speed
Today, with the Windows®-based, open architecture platform used on all of Okuma’s THINC®-OSP CNC controls, a remote connection can easily be made between the machine and the support people. This allows for real-time troubleshooting with the maintenance staff. There’s no lag, so the maintenance staff and the support people can both look at the same information and discuss the problem together. This yields many advantages that speed up the time required for CNC repairs.
By Reviewing the Machine in Real Time You Can…
- Review the various machine diagnostics, such as the PLC ladder, while the CNC machine is in operation
- Look at parameter settings, make adjustments, and see the effects of the changes
- Watch machine loads and encoder feedback to see the mechatronic systems working together
- Review machine programs in operation and check how each line is being read and processed
- Guide the user through the correct pages to access offsets, parameters, and diagnostics
- Gather data from the alarm history and parameter settings to review intermittent problems
Smarter Onsite Service
Even when the machine issues can’t be resolved through this remote connection, there’s still another great benefit to reviewing the machine in real time. When Okuma or our distributors’ support people are able to review the machine loads and alarms, this helps us to intelligently dispatch service. We can base our dispatching on real-time machine information, and make sure that a service technician with the correct skills and parts arrive together. Either way you look at it – remote service or smarter onsite service – costs related to CNC repair downtime can be greatly reduced.
Have you ever used the Okuma THINC control to solve a problem remotely? Comment below and tell us about it. Or feel free to contact us, or your local distributor, to find out how you can get up to speed.
Chris Heeg is Support Center Supervisor, Okuma America Corporation.