An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure For Your Press Too
While TCR’s mechanics were performing preventative maintenance inspections on our customer’s presses, they discovered a problem. The total stack-up clearance was excessive on one machine.
Total stack up clearance is a total of all the running clearances of the crank bearings, main bearing, slide adjustment mechanism and the ball or wrist pin connection to the ram. Think of it as a simple test that will either reveal if the machine’s connection clearances are correct, or quickly identify that something is wrong.
They then tested the individual clearances, anticipating one or more was worn. Indicators were used at each point in the connection to measure every bearing or clearance point individually. Surprisingly, it was determined that the clearance in the connecting rod itself were well within specifications.
Instead, they discovered that the fasteners between the adjustment screw mechanism and the ram were loose. Repairs by another company had been done recently, and the bolts were not properly secured upon completion of the work. Vibration from the stamping operation caused the bolts to loosen.
TCR service technicians cleaned and inspected the area and determined no damage had yet occurred. This was a pleasant surprise; the issue could have caused major damage to the machine and even endangered the operators. Our mechanics applied an appropriate thread locking sealant, torqued the bolts to specifications, and applied the tie wires to prevent the bolts from loosening in the future.
The importance of a solid inspection press program cannot be overstated. Besides being required by OSHA (see \1910.217(e)(1) thru \1910.217(e)(3)), it is clearly a great investment for any manufacturer.
Because this customer chose to invest in preventative maintenance, we discovered the problem before the excessive clearance caused severe damage or unplanned downtime. If they were not committed to regular inspections by our mechanics, they would have had an expensive repair, who knows how much down time, and could even have injured a team member.
It is equally important to make sure you have skilled and knowledgeable technicians performing maintenance on your machinery. Are you sure your press vendor’s team are up to the task?