3 Easy Tips to Protect Your CNC Machine Investment

by Joe Sides, Procurement Specialist, Okuma America Corporation

What's your reaction when you hear these words: "Un-scheduled downtime." Horror? Panic? Hiding your chequebook? You're right to have that reaction. CNC machine failure is always a cost; sometimes shockingly high.

But what would it take to have peace of mind, knowing you've done the right things to help ensure un-scheduled downtime doesn't happen – and knowing you've controlled potential costs? There are some easy ways to protect your investment, maximize productivity and reduce your overall cost of CNC machine ownership.

We see scenarios all the time that could have been avoided with some simple attention to preventive maintenance (PM). Of course, we all know that PM can increase the life of your CNC machine, prevent failures and associated downtime, and allow for reduced labour costs.


But there's another key consideration. Studies show that reactive maintenance programs cost, on average, 12-18% more than preventive maintenance programs. That's a big expense, and one that's preventable. Here are three easy, real-world tips to help you take action with preventive maintenance, without disrupting customer orders and dragging down profitability.

• PM Tip #1: Schedule preventive maintenance during known shutdown times,

During a known shutdown period, productivity is already reduced. And maintenance staff is typically on the clock anyway, so adding preventive maintenance during this time frame doesn't place additional strain on your overall profitability.

• PM Tip #2: Order your PM kit early.

There are many variables that affect lead times. Depending on your CNC machine, availability of the right parts for you can only be determined upon placing your order. Sometimes 5-6 weeks is enough lead time, sometimes it takes longer. By placing your order early, you'll be sure you can take advantage of that opportune time window during a scheduled shutdown.

• PM Tip #3: During a preventive maintenance service, inspect your machine for unseen or potential issues.

When you've slid back the covers on your CNC machine, this is a great time to look over everything you don't see on a daily basis. You might identify areas of wear that couldn't be detected otherwise, and this gives you a chance to make repairs before an expensive failure occurs.

At Okuma Australia + New Zealand we work to make PM as easy and affordable as possible. We can provide a turnkey solution to protect your investment:

  • PM kits contain normal wear items: wipers, filters and belts
  • Each kit is customized for the model and serial number of your CNC machine
  • 6 month or 12 month kits are available
  • Customized kits are available for your specific usage and application needs
  • OEM parts (not third party) are specifically engineered to fit and function with your machine
  • All kits include a reduction in cost over the individual part cost – having a kit on hand not only saves time, but money too

What's your approach – reactive or preventive maintenance?

To get started with your PM program, contact your local Okuma branch and they'll assist you with ordering your kits.