Shop Matters - Ep. 26 The Dynamic Duo of Connectivity and Maintenance


On this episode of Okuma's Shop Matters podcast, host Wade Anderson and Okuma business development specialist Mike Hampton talk about the relationship between connectivity and maintenance and how utilizing both hand-in-hand can make your manufacturing operations more efficient and profitable.


TRANSCRIPTION

Wade Anderson:

Hey, manufacturing world. Welcome to another episode of Shop Matters, sponsored by Okuma America. I'm your host, Wade Anderson, and joining me in the studio today is Mike Hampton. Welcome Mike.

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, Wade. Thanks for having me today. I can't wait to have this episode around maintenance and I'm proud to be here on Shop Matters. Thank you.

Wade Anderson:

So, this is episode number or say recording number two for Mike.

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, it is. So I'd say I learned a lot in the first one. I had a great time interacting with some other people. We had Andy Henderson on here-

Wade Anderson:

Yep.

Mike Hampton:

... from Praemo, and I'm glad to have another discussion today.

Wade Anderson:

Excellent. So Mike, for anybody that might've missed that episode tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been with Okuma and what your title and background is?

Mike Hampton:

Absolutely. So my name is Mike Hampton. I'm the business development specialist at Okuma America. My primary focus is on aftermarket parts and service. And when we say business development, really my day-to-day roles and responsibilities are around new business opportunities, optimizing current opportunities, having the proper marketing campaign behind new products and services, and then also integrating new technology into our offerings that add value to our customers.

Mike Hampton:

So that's what I do at Okuma America. I've been there for over two years. Prior to that I was on the customer facing side of manufacturing and I worked for a friction manufacturing company that made brake components. So we had brake calipers, brake pads, and brake disks. We had in total 50 plus cells, I'd say 30 of those were different varieties of CNC equipment being lathes and mills for different purposes. And my final position there was over business development and operations.

Mike Hampton:

So part of the operations role was directly tied with maintenance because uptime was extremely important and we wanted to optimize spindle utilization. So that's where I became extremely passionate about maintenance directly related to machine tools. But I'd say even-

Wade Anderson:

Because you had to live that life, right?

Mike Hampton:

I did. I was responsible for reporting on those metrics. So I was closely tied to it and became extremely passionate about it. I'll say my passion behind maintenance started even prior to that. So from age five to 25, I was heavily involved in the racing industry. And I was actually a driver, but the only way I was able to drive cars, because we didn't have an overwhelming budget, was to learn how to work on them by myself because we couldn't pay another set of hands or another head so I was self-taught. So grabbing a wrench was second nature to me, making sure that that car was ready to go to the race track every weekend when my dad came home and was ready to go was my responsibility and maintenance has just been second nature since then.

Wade Anderson:

Yeah, so it's in your bloodstream now.

Mike Hampton:

Absolutely is. Absolutely.

Wade Anderson:

So I get involved typically on the upfront projects, right? And looking at customers, looking at their manufacturing processes and trying to see how do we increase their spindle uptime? How do we get their utilization up? How do we streamline their processes, implement newer, better practices for manufacturing, things of that nature. So I'm on the upfront end and it's usually new equipment and new processes. I don't get to see a lot of times the downstream side of it and the maintenance side of it. You know, I feel the effects of it because a lot of times we're trying to solve problems that are maintenance-related because that's what's driving spindle utilization down.

Wade Anderson:

So I get involved with aspects of it, but I don't live the day-to-day world of it like you do and what you've done throughout your career. So this is an interesting topic for me and look forward to kind of peeling back some of the layers on maintenance, why's it important and what are some of the best practices that people can step through? So let's begin kind of talking about the different types of maintenance that we talk about. We get involved with predictive maintenance, preventative maintenance, and then just catastrophic failures. So kind of just lead into that to start with.

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, absolutely. So like you said, with a new machine everything's shiny and brand new and Okuma's are extremely reliable. So they may not have problems initially, but it's very important to take care of them and perform all of the best practices or preventive maintenance measures, which is one of the maintenance types that you just mentioned. And preventive maintenance, I would describe that as doing a maintenance routine on that CNC machine tool that is scheduled and that has all of the best practices or periodical maintenance items changed out before they fail. So that would be preventive maintenance.

Mike Hampton:

And predictive maintenance, I would describe as using data to predict vibration or wear characteristics, things of that nature to say, "Okay, well, I can see that this spindle is going downhill on its bill of health. We should probably go ahead and schedule to take it out of commission so that we can change the spindle out and not have a catastrophic failure."

Mike Hampton:

And then catastrophic or break fix maintenance would be the third type. And that's when you just have something unexpected break in the field and your machine's down and you're struggling to get it back up as fast as possible.

Wade Anderson:

Right. So what are the, I guess, layers of maintenance, what are the steps that most customers typically go through? A lot of your larger companies will have maintenance staff on site. So they've got people, resources, they can pull from. A lot of times they go through different types of training classes on various types of equipment, so they can troubleshoot. They understand the I/Os and things of that nature. You get into small and medium sized companies a lot of times it's the owner operator that's grabbing wrenches and working on it himself, but then there's support, there's contract service people, there's distributor service people, then there's the Okuma side of it. How does a typical shop, what are those layers look like? When do they reach out to those resources?

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, it's a great question. So, as you just mentioned, we have huge corporations that could have a hundred CNC, a hundred plus CNC machine tools. They're fully staffed with qualified maintenance technicians in-house and they may not have the need to reach out to our distributors. And we have a distributor network that has over 500 qualified field service technicians. So we see a little bit of everything. So big corporations, they may be fully capable to perform their own maintenance of all different types. And then we have mom and pop shops that may have a machine or two. And like you said, the operator is the owner and he's grabbing the wrench struggling, but he may need to reach out when it exceeds his capability of what he can and can't do. But with that said, I'll say it all starts with the documentation that comes with the CNC machine tool and that's the operation and maintenance manual. And this manual, you can access it on the control of the machine, or you will also get a hard copy when you get the machine or purchase the machine.

Wade Anderson:

So anybody that hasn't spent time going through the operation maintenance manual, what is typically housed in that document?

Mike Hampton:

Yeah. The first thing that I would do if I buy a new machine is thumb through that operation and maintenance manual, and it has very pertinent information, one that revolves around safety. So the information there around safety is going to explain what all of the images or symbols on the machine mean that are related to safety. It'll also talk about personal safety measures or equipment that you should wear, and when you should wear it.

Mike Hampton:

It's going to identify all of the lifting points because when you perform maintenance, you're obviously disassembling different components of this machine tool. And there's a right and a wrong way to do it. Just like putting an automobile on a two post lift. If you lifted in the wrong spot, you could do a ton of damage. And that same theory applies to a CNC machine tool. So to keep everybody safe, it has all of the different best practices of what to look for on that tool.

Mike Hampton:

Some additional safety things in the operation and maintenance manual are going to be the door interlocks and all the switches where their locations are. So that you can make sure during your maintenance cycles, that they're all operating properly to keep operators safe because ultimately safety needs to come first.

Wade Anderson:

Right.

Mike Hampton:

So safety is just one thing in this operation and maintenance manual. Some additional things in this operations and maintenance manual are going to be the requirements to properly run and maintain the CNC machine tool to its ultimate capability. And those things could be power requirements. It could be air requirements. And it could be simple things. When I say air requirements, it's going to talk about the capacity of air that you need on your inline, the size of the plumbing that needs to go to the CNC machine tool, depending on the model, to make sure that everything can operate as engineered and designed.

Mike Hampton:

Another subcategory under air quality in this manual would be moisture. So obviously moisture can be an enemy to a CNC machine tool. If you've let it enter through the air system, it could corrode components downstream. It could cause many different issues and it could ultimately cause a failure that's very expensive. So this manual just has all the best practices.

Wade Anderson:

That moisture that's something that we fight. That we've got massive dryers on our systems here at Okuma. Every shop I've been to, I've never been into a shop where the guy says, "Man, I am blessed with super clean dry air."

Mike Hampton:

Yeah. That's something that can definitely be an enemy. And something additional on the air requirement side, we'll walk into shops and this is something we check when we do PMs, or our distributors do PMs, but we'll walk around. You may see a blow off gun that's teed off of the main inlet. And obviously when that blow off guns running, it's taking capacity that is probably needed to go to that CNC machine tool. These are little things that you learn, that you keep an eye out for when you're doing your inspection, and you can notify that customer so that they can make changes. And ultimately it's just going to help create higher quality parts and keep the machine tool running longer.

Wade Anderson:

What do you see in terms of alignment and leveling of machine tools. So when we bring in machines new it's step one, when we install them, right? We have to align, make sure parallel, perpendicularity, all that is right. The longer the machine is, in long bed lathes for example, you have to deal with pitch, yaw, and roll and twists in the bed casting and leveling plays a big part of that. What do you do from a maintenance standpoint down the road one year, two year? Is that part of the maintenance routine that people need to be in touch with and checking?

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, absolutely, it is. That criteria and that content is in the operation and maintenance manual, starting with the install, but also doing geometry checks downstream. There could be a best practice method or a specialty tool to make sure that CNC machine tool is getting aligned properly. And for instance, what I mean is on HMCs, I learned this not too long ago but, and it sounds simple, but when you do the alignment, they want you to use what they call a square square. And it sounds funny.

Wade Anderson:

That's sounds funny doesn't it? Yeah.

Mike Hampton:

It does sound funny, but there are reasons for doing simple things like that. And just tips of the trade are in this operation and maintenance manual that are going to give you all the ammunition you need to properly level and align your machine.

Wade Anderson:

So anybody that hasn't seen it or doesn't follow that comment, what is a square square?

Mike Hampton:

Well, a square, so you could have a 90-degree square, you could have a triangular square, you could have a square square. What the square square does is when you put it on the table, it is actually a full square. So you never have to move. It's a full cube. You never have to move that orientation to get all of your numbers.

Wade Anderson:

Right. So you can tram your top, your sides to get your perpendicularity, check your parallelism, and never have to tweak that stone, or that square, that's on the table?

Mike Hampton:

That exactly right. Yeah, so alignments in geometry, that's definitely one thing in the operation and maintenance manual. In addition to safety aspects, installtips and tricks, different requirements. And then the last thing that I'd say is very important is the periodical maintenance suggestions and that doesn't only live in your operations and maintenance manual. It's also, if you have an Okuma machine with OSP suite, or maintenance monitor, that same periodical maintenance suggested data is in the control as well.

Wade Anderson:

Yeah. So that's, pre-populated in the maintenance suite, but that's not set in stone, correct? So if I'm running a cell and I'm going by the recommended guidelines, but I realized, you know what, for my manufacturing process, maybe I'm doing a lot more chip removal or doing a lot more machining where I'm creating a lot more fines. I may want to tweak that. And I may want to have an operator doing certain checks and certain clean-out routines earlier. I can go in suite and adjust those. So that those reminders pop up at my personal requirements rather than just what's in the manual.

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, you absolutely can. So you just open up OSP suite, go in maintenance monitor. When our machines come from Japan, they have 999 preset periodical maintenance lines. So we can start it at 1000 plus add any periodical maintenance item that caters to our process or the way that we're running the machine or the amount of time that we're running our machine. And we can add it. We can set an alarm to identify at a certain interval to let us know when we want to perform that line item. So there's really cool functionality in the software that will help us with our custom maintenance needs as well.

Wade Anderson:

What do you see as being really the low hanging fruit? What's the, I use that line a lot during these podcasts, but what's the common themes that you see throughout the industry of what people tend to just not keep maintained properly that causes the most headaches and the most problems that could be preventable?

Mike Hampton:

The low-hanging fruit is definitely preventive maintenance, and it's so easy to skip over it because you're so focused on part output that you don't want to stop the machine. But in reality, when you run a machine so hard and you don't take care of it, a catastrophic failure is going to bring you down for much longer than scheduling that maintenance, going through it, identifying the wear items that need to be changed during that preventive maintenance routine, changing them, and then bringing that machine back up online.

Mike Hampton:

So with that said, we've developed what we call the CARE preventive maintenance kit. And this takes the guessing out of it. It's a one box, one-stop shop where we ship you a part number for your machine model, and it has all the necessary components to perform a bi-annual or annual preventive maintenance cycle, depending on the hours that you run your machine.

Wade Anderson:

So pick that a part a little bit. If I've got a, let's say an M560 [GENOS M460-V], a 4020 class vertical mill, what would a typical preventive maintenance kit look like?

Mike Hampton:

In majority of the M560's that we sell those come with CAT 40 spindles, so I'll use that particular kit for this example. But the kit would come with one, we're going to protect the heartbeat of the machine, which is the spindle. So how do you do that? You change the through pin at the proper frequency. So it's going to come with the through pin. It's also going to come with the springs that complement that through pin. So that's a linear spring that goes behind it so that you have the proper tension pushing on the backside-

Wade Anderson:

And that's for the through spindle coolant?

Mike Hampton:

It is. That's for the through spindle coolant. And then we'll also give you the ring spring that goes around the collet. So when it expands and collapses that you have the proper tension on that collet. So some additional components that are going to come in that kit are going to be all of the necessary filters. So on that particular machine, you have an oil air mist system, and that has two cans on the side of the machine. So we'll change those two filter elements in the cans, and then all of the other necessary filters that need to be changed like a wafer filter in one of the tanks.

Wade Anderson:

Okay. Excellent. So how much time does it take to your guys scheduling the machine? If I'm scheduling for preventative maintenance, how much time do I need to take out of the production schedule to say, "Hey, on Friday afternoon at X o'clock, we're going to take this machine offline and do a full preventative maintenance package on it."

Mike Hampton:

That's a great question. And it's slightly is going to depend on what machine model you're working on. As you know, high-tech machines are much more complex, have a lot more complex systems that will need to be maintenanced and a lot more parts that need to be changed out. But for this conversation purpose, let's just stick to the M560. And I'm going to say rule of thumb is that to come in and change all the necessary items for an annual PM. It's about eight hours of downtime. And then when you do additional inspections and cleaning, probably another four to eight hours, so a rule of thumb, I would say a day to two days to perform a very robust PM cycle on a machine.

Wade Anderson:

Okay. Well, that's good to know, because again, it's better to schedule that and have that built into your manufacturing process than to be forced. A mentor of mine used to say, "Pay me now or pay me later." I hear people talk about that, even with your own physical health, you can take time to take care of yourself or later you're going to be forced to take time to take care of yourself. So do a little bit up front, prevent the catastrophic failures, or you're going to be forced to take time down the road to take care of things that could have been caught ahead of time.

Mike Hampton:

Yeah. And I mean, one of the biggest things about doing the PM is you're going to do a full machine inspection. So you're going to look at the electrical system. You're going to look at the mechanical system. You're going to look at the lubrication system. You're obviously going to inspect every moving component, whether it's a bearing a ball screw, you're going to make sure that all of the covers are properly telescoping, if that's the kind of cover they are or moving properly. So there's a lot of different things that you can look at and possibly identify a problem downstream and then schedule it. So it doesn't become catastrophic. So that's even an added benefit to doing a PM.

Wade Anderson:

That almost sounds like you could do that as just a normal walk around once a week, visual walk around checklists. What do my covers look like? What are my wipers on my covers look like? There's things that you could catch that could be taking place long before your scheduled PM time. But just because the chip made, now I'm getting tongue tied, the chip making process, you roll a chip up underneath the wiper, all of a sudden that creates a snowball effect. That chip creates an opening in the wiper. You start getting more and more contaminants down in there. If you let that go for very long, you're going to have to deal with a major problem down the road.

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, absolutely. And that's one thing that our value distributor field service technicians focus on when they come in and perform preventive maintenance. And what I mean by that is they do training with the operator. So in this periodical maintenance table, that’s on the control and also in the operation and maintenance manual, it has daily items. It has weekly items, monthly items, biannual, and annual items. So they'll do training with the operators to go over all the daily checks that they should go through, weekly checks. And this is just going to in the long run, help that machine continue to be healthy and run.

Wade Anderson:

Yeah. Training is such an important aspect on everything that we do. Both from applications, how do you run the machine, but also how do you maintain it and take care of it? And our distributor staff, we do a lot to make sure that they're qualified, that they've got all the training in place. Can you touch a little bit on type of mechanical maintenance training that Okuma performs to make sure our field service guys in the distributor realm are fully qualified on our equipment?

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, absolutely. So when we hire field service technicians at our distributors, or even at OAC [Okuma America Coporation], they have all different skill levels. And as you know, that's evaluated on the forefront of their onboarding process. After we bring them online, we'll let them work with very experienced, tenured field service technicians. So there's some type of time layover so that we can better gauge their skill level and also make sure that they have all the specific skill sets that they need. And to be honest with you, preventive maintenance is one of the simpler tasks. Since it's a low, I won't say low urgency, but there's not a lot of friction or excitement going on because it's scheduled. So when it's a catastrophic failure, it's a very high stress situation. So when we have these new hires come in, we can teach them on the PM process. And then we know that they're fully up to speed, ready to go into the field and perform preventive maintenance on their own.

Wade Anderson:

Excellent. Any key topics I might have missed here so far today?

Mike Hampton:

Well, something that complements maintenance or utilization, two of the things that we've hit on is Okuma's Connect Plan. And I think this is a great time to hit on that if you think so?

Wade Anderson:

Yeah, absolutely. So having that close loop communication process, to me, that's really what the Connect Plan, you're feeding into the Industry 4.0, the IIOT, no matter how you want to define it, being able to have the virtual eyeballs on the manufacturing system, on what's going on in the health and wellbeing of your machine. But then again, from a product production manager’s standpoint, being able to schedule the time accordingly to make sure that I'm maximizing the efficiency of my process is super important. And that Connect Plan gives you that visualization, as I'm getting tongue tied twice now in one podcast, visualization of that entire process.

Mike Hampton:

It absolutely does. It is such an incredible product. It allows you to see every single piece of equipment from a bird's eye view through a digital display or visual of your entire facility. So you see your whole plant layout. You can pull it up from anywhere. If you can get on the internet with an iPhone or an Android-

Wade Anderson:

I was reaching for my phone. I don't have it, but yeah. You can get emails from it. You can set it up so that it's contacting you if something's going wrong in the production process.

Mike Hampton:

That's exactly right. So you can actually see the stack lights of every single piece of CNC machinery or equipment in your facility. You know when it's running, when it stopped, when it's in an alarm state. You can look at the operating history. You can tell when it's cutting, when it's not cutting. You can look at the alarm history. Every single alarm that has flagged on that machine tool. You can look at every single key command. It's almost like Big Brother. So you can see every single key command that's been input on that control.

Mike Hampton:

And you can do this from any... You can visualize your facility from anywhere in the world. So when it comes to going around to each cell in your facility with a clipboard and somebody manually collecting this data, that's old school, and that's old school technology, and way to think about things. This takes all the human error out of it. It's consolidated, concise data, and it's an operations manager, a shop owner, or a supervisor’s dream to have this and focus on increased utilization.

Wade Anderson:

That much data right at your fingertips.

Mike Hampton:

It is. It's pretty amazing. It's a great product.

Wade Anderson:

Yep. Excellent. Well, Mike, thank you for your time today. I really appreciate you joining us and taking time to share some of your knowledge and experience from a maintenance standpoint.

Mike Hampton:

Yeah, absolutely, Wade, thanks for having me today.

Wade Anderson:

All right. And thank you for joining us. If you have thoughts, ideas, questions, comments for future podcasts, feel free to hit me up on LinkedIn. You can reach out to me at wanderson@okuma.com. Be sure to take time to look at some of the video content and other podcasts that we've got on our website at www.okuma.com. Until next time. We'll see you then.

read more
Sign Up For Updates
Thank you for signing up for Okuma updates. We look forward to sharing our content with you.

We offer a variety of ways for you to stay informed about our events, and to receive general Okuma updates. Fill out the form below to let us know the type of information you'd like to receive.

Find Your Distributor
Sign Up For Updates
Thank you for signing up for Okuma updates. We look forward to sharing our content with you.

We offer a variety of ways for you to stay informed about our events, and to receive general Okuma updates. Fill out the form below to let us know the type of information you'd like to receive.