Moulder Maintenance in a Dusty Shop

      Advice on a lubrication and cleaning routine for a moulder in a shop with inadequate dust collection. January 29, 2009

I am looking for some opinions on an appropriate moulder maintenance program to put in to effect. We run a weinig, with hsk, and hydro heads. Its a 7 head machine. We are running this in a very dirty environment due to poor dust collection. There is always a lot of aggressive dust inside the machine, all over the slides, and all moving parts. What sort of frequency should I encourage for cleanings, and maintenance checks of belts, slides, etc.?

I have found that the dust is being forced in to all the nooks and crannies causing things to go out of square, and have begun to see galling on the slides. This is a 1 year old machine with light use so far. Of course the manual recommends frequency of maintenance, but it also assumes appropriate dust collection is in place. All opinions are appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor R:
As a general rule, maintenance is done about every 150 hours of operation. This would include most grease points, dovetails, universal joints and belt tension check. If your manual advises a schedule, I would use that as a good guide line for the lubrication points. As for belt tension and condition- I check those every week for the first month or so and then every month. With a high dust environment, I would shorten that time to about 1/2. Be sure to use the correct style belt. Some belt styles will delaminate, especially when exposed to a heavy dust environment.

As for the slides and other moving parts, use a low pressure air to clean these parts. High pressure air, if used to close to the slides can force contamination into these areas. I use a spray lubricant on my machine to lubricate the top slide, bottom slide and feed beam slides. I recommend the use of a spray such as Thrust, Starrett M-1, LPS. I also recommend removing all of the heads at the end of the production week.

From contributor J:
It sounds like you are fighting a battle against your dust collection. I would convince your boss that that needs to be dealt with. The problems you are dealing with are like dental work. The dust in those nooks is acting like sand paper over time. Your machine will wear prematurely. Dust sticks to grease so in your situation, clean it as often as you can.

From the original questioner:
Unfortunately the economy is not supporting the dust system we need to get. How can I expect to see problems present themselves with wear on the slides, gears, threads, etc.? What will happen over time?

From contributor M:
I would be more concerned over the quality of mouldings. If you are not extracting shavings properly, surface finish is compromised.

From contributor J:
Your finish does suffer too. Good point Mike.
But the sliding or moving parts will wear prematurely. It wont take a week or anything but the close tolerances that your machine is built with will dissipate. It's kind of like driving a brand new car and then driving 15 year old car. They both work and get the job done but the older car is ready to trade in and doesn't drive as nice. It's pretty much a "take care of your investment" thing so it will continue to make you money as long as it can.

From the original questioner:
I have dealt with Weinig, they told us our suction is not half of what it should be. I know this, the problem is justification of a bigger system to the owners, when the business is slow.

We do maintenance, but we have a very fine dust in the machine, very gritty. If I clean it in the morning, it will be just as dirty by the end of the day. The feed beam makes a lot of noise when it moves up and down, like it is working very hard. It is very difficult to get in to the guts without taking a lot of time. It is the same old story, they want the machine running, not torn down and cleaned every day. The gritty dust dries out the grease in no time. I appreciate all the responses, they will all help me to justify the need for an intensive maintenance program.

From contributor M:
I will also add that although the economy is down, there is a multitude of available used dust collectors that are cheap. It is an integral part of the process to produce quality mouldings, which in turn ups your efficiency, then sales, then revenues, and all the other good things that come with that.

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