Machine Tool Crashes: Big Problem, Bigger Solutions

The most crucial part of your CNC machine is not the cutter. It’s not the lathe or the tools or any of the parts you can buy online. The most crucial part of any CNC machine is the programmer. It’s also the part that has the potential to cause the most problems! Even the best programmers make mistakes and it only takes one mistake to crash your machine.

To optimize your profits and minimize your losses, preventing programming errors is absolutely vital. The good news is that most programmer errors can be avoided by following a few simple principles.

Train to Gain

The main problem with programming errors is that they can be difficult to detect, especially for inexperienced or newer employees! The less experienced the employee, the less chance they have of tracking the error and knowing how to correct it. That’s why proper training in G and M codes is so vital to preventing machine tool crashes. Preventative training significantly reduces programming error and can help you avoid the costly results of a machine crash.

Slow and Steady

Another key to avoid programming errors is to make sure machine programming is done slowly, regularly and without interruptions. Teaching programmers to regularly review their programs can cut down drastically the number of programmer errors. Routine is the name of the game and can save time and money in costly repairs.

Time is Money

James A. Harvey, a machinery expert says, “No programmer can make perfect programs all the time.” When crashes occur, having a plan in place can make or break your business. Taking a few minutes to invest in insurance that covers programmer error, not just equipment failure, is a vital proponent to a good plan.

Reduce the Risk

Regarding the machine itself, there are a few processes to incorporate into your workflow to reduce the risk of crashing your machine:

  • Use simulation software to test your programs before you run them on your machine.
  • Use a tool wear monitoring system to track the condition of your tools and replace them before they break.
  • Make sure your machine is well-maintained and in good working order prior to starting the job.

Machine tool crashes can be costly and frustrating, but they don’t have to be a disaster. By taking some precautions and having a plan for dealing with them, you can minimize the impact on your business.  Likely the greatest opportunity to keep your shop’s uptime rolling is to work with newer equipment with lower hours and a fully-supported service contract from the manufacturer.  Should their be any failure, parts and technicians will be plentiful rather than hunting for an out-of-production part on secondary markets.

With Section 179 tax benefits available to most small to mid-sized businesses, there has never been a better time to invest in new equipment for your business.  Speak to an ENGS industrial markets expert about industrial equipment financing options available to you for new equipment acquisition, and insure your equipment and processes from operator error with ENGS Insurance.