Don’t Underestimate 'Tooling Warm-up': A Quality Check
Machine/tooling ‘warm-up’ should be pinpointed by real-time temperature tracking.
Properly done, tooling warm-up impacts quality, production rate, and maintenance; it’s thus unfortunate that companies aren’t using real temperature measurements to tell if a tooling is actually warmed up.
Existing ‘warm-up’ procedures are passable for what they’re trying to accomplish, but real-time temperature monitoring is a far more effective solution.
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Track Temperature, Pinpoint 'Warm-up Times’
If you can’t tell exactly when your toolings finish warming up, you could run into a host of problems.
Most CNC machines have warm-up routines that get activated before the start of production. As long as factory operators do their jobs, perform warm-ups, check the right processes, don’t cut any corners, etc., companies are more or less content to put ‘warm-up times’ at the back of their minds.
But on their own, these routines don’t tell you when a tool is actually warmed up.
The whole point of ‘warming up’ is to build the heat in a tooling to a stable temperature before production begins -- this should guarantee consistent outputs. Without knowing whether a tooling has reached its stable temp, warm-up routines may as well be guesstimations. Inefficiencies will inevitably follow.
To illustrate: What if, by the time the warm-up routine ends, the tooling hasn’t reached its stable temp? The resulting parts will be of suspect quality. What if the tooling reaches its stable temp before the warm-up routine ends? The unnecessary warm-up duration will just be more downtime.
What Are the Benefits?
Warm-up routines should be complemented by real-time temperature monitoring. Toolings could have sensors installed, transmitting temperature and other tooling data (shot counts, cycle times) into a dashboard. OEMs and facility managers could consult this dashboard, helping them optimize warm-up-related issues.
Some of the direct benefits of this are:
Quality Assurance The dashboard tells you two things: when the tooling levels off to a stable temp, and when the tooling completes shots. If shots were performed during the warm-up process, then the dashboard could flag those shots as suspect-quality parts. OEMs and suppliers could then look through the dashboard’s audit trail to verify and locate these troublesome parts and check their quality. Better visibility over temperature can also help operators maintain tooling temperatures for consistent quality.
Optimizing Production Downtime The dashboard shows exactly when the tooling levels off to a stable temp. Using this info as a benchmark, factory operators can shorten or extend their machines’ warm-up routines to better fit the actual heat levels of their tooling. Operators can thus cut wasteful downtime and optimize their production schedules.
Improved Tooling Health Tooling warm-up is necessary not just for part quality, but also for the tooling’s longevity. Adequate warm-up periods give time for lubricants to spread evenly within the tooling. This reduces friction, wear, and the chance for something to break. The tooling will thus have greater longevity, proactively supporting maintenance and saving downtime and costs in the long run.
It's Time to Get an Edge
Real-time monitoring isn't just limited to temperature. With available technologies, tracking, transmitting, and analyzing all kinds of real-time data has become a simple matter.
Just knowing and seeing this information up-front is enough to give your company an edge for competing in Industry 4.0. Learn how other companies -- Samsung, Amore Pacific, and more -- transformed their business through real-time data tracking.