CNC lathe coolant line maintenance

Published: 09th July 2009
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CNC lathe machines are generally run with coolant directed at the work piece as well as the cutting tools; this enables the work piece from getting too hot during the machining process and at the same time extends life of the cutting tools such as drills, reamers or carbide inserts. While there are certain cases where dry machining is practiced, the majority of CNC machining still takes place under a coolant flooded environment. It is therefore imperative that the CNC machine coolant lines be properly maintained to ensure consistent and uninterrupted coolant flow.

CNC machine coolant line maintenance begins with keeping the coolant line filters clean. Generally two filters are provided, the first one is a coarse filter that traps the coarse and larger chips and the second one being a fine filter that traps the smaller and finer chips. These filters need to be cleaned often, preferably once a day to enable smooth coolant flow. Additionally, to keep the lines and the coolant motor cleaner, it has been found that wrapping a fine mesh metallic wire cloth once around the coolant motor intake traps any fine debris that may have escaped the filters that come with the CNC lathe machine tool.

Secondly, coolant blocks that are usually at the end of the coolant line must be taken apart and cleaned at predetermined frequencies to remove any debris that may be clogging the fine holes that are built into them. When these holes get clogged, coolant flow will get affected. O-rings that are part of the coolant block assembly must be replaced in order to reduce or eliminate mixing of coolant and hydraulic fluids.

Thirdly, most CNC lathe machine shops use water miscible coolants and over time, these coolants tend to form a slimy material that starts to adhere to the coolant line hoses, thereby reducing the internal diameter of these hoses; this will also reduce coolant flow. One way of removing these slimy deposits is to remove the coolant block and unscrew the coolant hose from the coolant pump so the coolant hoses alone are isolated and blow off the slimy deposits using shop air at about eighty to ninety psi. Ensure that all safety precautions are taken when performing this step.

Thus by performing proper routine maintenance on cnc machine coolant lines, you can ensure reproducible coolant flow and coolant pressure that is important to effective metal cutting.

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