Simple Tips to Avoid Downtime and Repairs: Way Covers
December 27, 2022
Downtime is a nasty little problem that is cussed and condemned in every machine shop around the globe. When the line is quiet, you can almost hear dollar bills flushing down the drain with each tick of the clock. At Hennig, while we offer service and repair for all way covers (Hennig and non-Hennig brands), wouldn’t it be better to avoid the whole mess in the first place? In this article, we are going to review some of the steps you can take to ensure that a damaged way cover doesn’t hold up the line and cost you money.
Look Out Below
Way covers are meant to protect the precision rails underneath, and they do that well. But being made of thin pieces of metal, they’re not invulnerable. Usually what happens is that the way cover is quietly doing its job when, WHAM, a tool or workpiece drops right on it. Way covers are meant to be smooth surfaces. Even if it’s not a catastrophic impact, something small dropping and causing a dent means it’s no longer a true surface and the cover can’t do its job properly.
Some customers take great care of their way covers and others, well, their machines look like the sheet metal on a stock car after a pileup in turn two. So, first and foremost, try not to drop heavy stuff on your covers. Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised what we encounter.
Stop. Look. Listen.
Taking a few moments out of your day to inspect way covers is another technique for avoiding downtime and achieving a big long-term performance payoff. A quick visual inspection of the wiping surface is a good way to stop problems before they become critical. If you see streaks or puddles, that’s an indication your wipers are not working properly. Is the cover jerking and not operating smoothly? The geometry is probably not correct, so the cover needs to be removed and straightened out.
If you hear squeaking noises, that means that inside the cover your sliders, guides, or rollers need to be evaluated. If you hear loud noises when the cover retracts or extends, that means your damping elements are not working properly. Those also need to be evaluated and probably replaced.
Machining with coolant will help to lubricate the cover and remove excess chips. If you’re running dry, spray some oil on the covers to reduce the friction and brush or blow off any excess chips after a heavy cycle.
Even if you have covers that are regularly maintained, make sure that they're clean and the wipers are sealed.
Need A Way Cover Repair? You Know Where To Turn.
If anything does go wrong with your way covers, you’ll be glad to know that Hennig has more service centers regionally than anyone else in the country. We have full reverse engineering capabilities, so we can make new or repair what you’ve got. Even if it looks bad, call us before you dump it. We have seen things that arrive trashed beyond what you would believe, but we ship them back in tip-top condition. No outside processes, no need to work with the OEM. It’s all done in-house by us. Request a repair today, and we’ll get right on it.