Servo Motors and Factory Downtime: What’s the Connection?
When machines are running, manufacturers are manufacturing. But when shop equipment is taken offline for unscheduled repairs, the results are unnecessary factory downtime. And that translates into lost revenue, unsatisfied customers, and frustrated employees.
Over the past decade, technology in the form of robots, cobots, CNC cutting machines, autonomous vehicles, and other forms of automation have increasingly found their way onto the manufacturing floor. Despite supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and other challenges, these machines allow manufacturers to meet the rising expectations of customers and shareholders alike.
As the use of these machines grows, so does the reliance on servo motors. Providing power and precision, servo motors are the controlling force behind much of this equipment. Because of the industry’s growing reliance on servo motors, the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and repair of this equipment is critical in reducing factory downtime.
Manufacturers can maximize the performance of servo motors and extend their life by following some basic steps:
- Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.
- Pay attention to the surroundings.
- Eliminate trial and error guesswork.
There are no secrets or silver bullets. As with all equipment, it all boils down to taking the time to do the little things and having the proper equipment on hand to dive deeper into any potential issues.
Servo Motor Preventive Maintenance
All equipment has a finite lifespan and requires maintenance at some point. Preventive maintenance in the form of regular inspections keeps equipment operating efficiently, increases the safety of your employees, and prevents small problems from becoming large and costly repairs.
Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for your equipment and implementing a regimented preventive maintenance program will extend equipment life and boost production.
And this is especially true for servo motors. Here are some checks that you should perform as a part of your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly servo motor maintenance:
- Check the housing for cracks or other damage.
- Look for loose or detached connections.
- For fan-cooled motors clean the fan unit so that it’s free of any dust or dirt.
- For liquid-cooled motors check to ensure the correct liquid is being used and the piping is not clogged.
- Check the belts and pulleys for wear or loose tension.
- Make sure the mounting is stable, look for any broken welds.
- Stop the motor if you hear any unusual noises. Bearing failure or encoder problems can be an expensive repair.
Know Your Surroundings
For most industrial equipment, dirt, grease, limited airflow, and excessive temperatures are a part of daily operation. But these factors together with harsh operating conditions will take a toll on that equipment. And servo motors are especially vulnerable.
While performing your visual inspection ensure that servo motors are well ventilated and away from any excessive heat sources. Make sure gearboxes are filled to recommended levels and not overfilled to protect the motors from being sprayed with contaminates.
Make sure your servo is designed to operate in your plant’s conditions. The IP Classification code located on the nameplate is the best place to start.
Eliminate the Guesswork
So, you believe that you have a faulty servo motor. Now what? In the past, manufacturers would nearly always remove the servo and return it to the manufacturer for repair – essentially shutting down the machine or production line.
Today, however, many manufacturers are taking a proactive approach to servo motor inspection and repair. The ability to perform a diagnosis in-house determines if the problem lies with the servo and pinpoints the exact location. This eliminates guesswork and allows repairs to be focused on what needs repaired. It’s Now Easier than Ever to Bring Servo Motor Repair In-house.
Servo Motor Testers and Repair
In the past, manufacturing equipment repair was often a prolonged series of manual trial-and-error fixes. And when servo motors were discovered to be the issue, servo and encoder repair meant removing the motor, shipping it off for repairs, and waiting for an extended period pf time for that servo to be returned and reinstalled. Often only to discover that the problem wasn’t corrected.
Mitchell Electronics Inc. is changing the game for manufacturers. The company’s products eliminate the guesswork and simplify the maintenance of servo motor driven automated equipment. The company’s servo motor inspection tools are used by repair shops and a growing number of manufacturers to diagnose servo problems. Now the manufacturer can quickly diagnose servo motors on the spot to accurately pinpoint any issues. This slashes factory downtime by allowing repairs to be focused on the issue. Moreover, manufacturers can now validate repaired servos prior to reinstallation.
For companies that need a little help, Mitchell Electronics offers personalized product support and servo motor training to ensure their customers meet all servo motor test and repair needs.
Contact Mitchell Electronics here to learn more about the company’s servo motor and encoder testing products and services.