Equipment doesn’t last forever, machinery fails and parts break – this is inevitable. Although equipment failure may not be avoidable, we are able to prolong it and try to get the most life possible with the right procedures. Applicator preventative maintenance is key to ensuring your equipment last as long as possible. So what should you use? When should you use it? We’ll cover everything you need to know in order to make sure your applicator last as long as possible.
Before beginning operations, careful consideration needs to be made when handling the applicator. Allowing the main ram to fall, and the crimp plates and crimp anvils to contact each other may result in damaged tooling. The red safety collar provided should be used any time that the applicator is not in use. Before production the ram, roller pin, the cam, as well as the inside of the cast body should be lightly coated with white lithium grease. The main ram and down inside the cast body are the most important areas to grease and maintain a light coat of grease throughout production. You can remove the ram from the body but be sure to leave the red safety collar, provided with each applicator, on the ram when re-inserting it into the body.
After you’ve had the applicator in production it should be wiped down and debris cleaned off. Air is not recommended as it can blow debris into critical places that it would not normally get. We don’t have a universal number of cycles, hours or any specific number that requires maintenance. If we say “X” hours, “X” days or “X” weeks, then there would be the question of if they are used in an automatic machine or bench top. Running on an automatic machine at 3500 cycles per hour is different than 500 per hour on a bench top press. Our best way to gauge when to perform preventative maintenance would probably be based off of number of cycles. Along with considering the environment, type of terminal (some leave debris), and size of wire. So each manufacturer will need to evaluate their production floor individually. There are many variables that may increase, or decrease the life of your equipment.
There are several rules of thumb to keep your equipment in good running order. If the applicator appears to be dirty, remove any debris. If the applicator appears to be dry, apply white lithium grease. If there was an incident, a miss feed, a double feed, stop production. Remove the applicator from the press, and the ram from the applicator body inspect and evaluate to ensure no damage has occurred to crimp tools. Replace any necessary damaged parts, re-aligning the tooling if necessary utilizing plastic paper to ensure crimp plates and anvils do not come in contact with each other.
Considerations to make to increase life of equipment:
- Environment – Corrosive atmospheres can produce rust
- Preventative Maintenance – Lack of cleaning and greasing will increase wear
- Storage – Non-climate controlled areas can have humidity producing rust
- Press condition – Worn out guides and bearings on a press can have play in the motion causing excessive wear on the casting and ram of the applicator.
- Operator Handling – Dropping, neglecting, not using the red safety collar that is provided with each applicator when it is out of the press.
When the applicator is not in use, it should be carefully removed from the press and moved to where it will be stored. Ensuring that the red safety collar is on the ram (to prevent crimp plates and anvils from contacting each other). Applicators should be stored in a non-corrosive environment (ex: cabinet, drawer, and clean/dry room preferably climate controlled). This can also help increase the life of the applicator.
For more in depth knowledge on applicator maintenance and troubleshooting, find out more about our Applicator Training Course we offer!