Bert Zorn explains how to achieve added value through maintenance in the field of tube bending machinery
In recent years the subject of maintenance has clearly gained significance. This is not surprising; after all, the complexity and degree of automation are increasing continuously with modern processing machines. Forward-looking strategies reduce the risk of malfunction and downtimes, increase the service life of machines and thereby ensure constant production quality.
The tube bending machine manufacturer Schwarze-Robitec offers users a comprehensive service that covers everything from maintenance and inspection to repair and spare parts supply and all the way to modernisation.
If a high-tech processing machine comes to a standstill as a result of a malfunction, it quickly gets expensive. In particular when customer production deadlines cannot be met as a result and if there are contractual penalties. That’s precisely why many companies rate maintenance no longer as a tiresome cost and instead regard it as a central factor of success.
Schwarze-Robitec meets this trend for increased investment safety with a comprehensive service concept. After all, the company’s durable tube bending machines are designed for run times of more than 20 years in continuous operation. So that the machines operate reliably throughout their whole lifecycle, Jürgen Korte, the firm’s plant manager, advises conducting a regular machine check-up that comprises maintenance, inspection and service measures. “A tube bending machine should be serviced at the latest approx. every 5,000 working hours,” says Korte. “Otherwise the risk of undesirable surprises will rise exponentially.” Among other things, the mechanical states and precise positioning of guides, bearings and spindles as well as cables, pumps, valve functions, switching devices and software are all checked.
If it is a hydraulic system, there is also a check for tightness and leakage safety. Software updates, comprehensive weak point analyses, staff training and other customer-individual measures are also possible.
“As bending machines are always custom-built, maintenance should really be carried out by the manufacturer,” emphasizes Korte. “Generalised providers of industrial services often do not have profound experience in bending technology nor the necessary knowledge of the user industries and their manufacturing processes.” This specialised know-how is particularly indispensable – in particular when the machines have already been in operation for some years and need to be made fit for increased or changed demands.
Schwarze-Robitec offers integrated process analyses as well as complete machine overhauls and modernizations, which substitute a new purchase in many cases. On that subject, Korte advises: “Users should not make false economies. Instead, they should think about the optimal utilisation of the service life of their machines and the options for optimizing the system availability.”
Making maintenance a primary component of your operations – rather than an afterthought – brings with it a host of tangible advantages. The reduced risk of malfunctions and failures is the obvious benefit. But alongside this is the ability to use the machine’s full capability and indeed extend its life cycle. Being able to ensure constant quality through consistent mechanical efficiency is another advantage. Improved occupational and environmental protection are also possible via a more proactive approach to maintenance. Optimisation of production runs is even possible – eg, through installation of a new, faster control.
There are also some considerable cost advantages of planning and managing maintenance more efficiently. There are the lower costs associated with things such as the need to use far less lubricant, but there are also a host of potential energy-consumption related savings to be made.
Bert Zorn is with Schwarze-Robitec.
Caption: Schwarze-Robitec offers users a comprehensive After Sales Service to help them improve their maintenance strategies