In our world of predictive maintenance, there are very few specific documents concerning CNC assets.  First of all, any CNC machine is a complicated system consisting of multiple motors, gear drives, bearings, hydraulic and pneumatic systems that provides feedback to the main controller in order for it to orchestrate the work output precisely.  Needless to say, any mechanical parts mentioned above when not in good condition can affect the overall performance of the CNC machine.

No manufacturer wants downtime or manufacturing of bad parts. Most CNC machines are very well designed and durable.  They are manufactured to take a beating and keep on ticking.  That is where Ballbar can come into play and help save the companies time and money. Ballbar is another type of preventive maintenance that can be used in the commercial industry to prevent breakdowns and allows a company to optimize a machine’s full potential. Ballbar tests CNC machines to see if they are operating within the OEM specifications. This is typically used on machines that are producing parts using the same motion repeatedly such as mils or grinders. This will allow the operator to see if the machine can continue to produce parts within the tolerances specified.

If a machine were performing perfectly, it would move in a circular path that would match perfectly with the program. This rarely is the case with most machines. There can be many determinations that will cause this issue, including machine structure, backlash, reversal spikes, wear in the components, capacity in the control system, and a few more. These are just a few of the most common causes that could occur to take the machine off the path from performing perfectly.

We are always ready to help with any technology to try to get your machinery back to working at its maximum capacity. Stay tuned for Ballbar Part 2 and remember for any Ballbar testing or information you may need, please feel free to contact ATS; we are always more than willing to help.