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Tool Maintenance

Tool maintenance is the systemic care and protection of tools to keep them in a maintainable and operationally safe state. It is a procedure implemented to enhance productivity, increase the reliability of tools, and improve the efficiency of machine-maintenance activities. Mechanical maintenance of tools and equipment can be achieved through various planned and unplanned maintenance strategies. Types of tools that can benefit from maintenance include: power tools, hand tools, machine tools, and equipment tools.

This article will look at the definition, use, process, and types of tool maintenance.

What Is Tool Maintenance?

Tool maintenance is the diligent implementation of processes that ensure continuous efficient operation of tools, securing performance and longevity. In other words, tool maintenance is the systemic care and restoration of tools to keep them in a safe and usable condition to limit breakages and downtime.

What Is the Purpose of Tool Maintenance?

The use of tool maintenance is to extend productive service life. Tool maintenance ensures the safe operation of tools through the mitigation of failure. Tool maintenance ensures that a tool will not fail mid-operation — effectively preventing delays and possible injury.

What Are the Tools and Equipment That Need Regular Tool Maintenance?
Tools and equipment that need regular maintenance usually operate under diverse circumstances. Conditions that generate the buildup of grime and dust cause damage to tools. Power tools are also susceptible to the ingress of dust, debris, and fluids. Poor maintenance causes general malfunction of tools and equipment. Hand tools include: shears, cutters, pliers, wrenches, socket drivers, and screwdrivers. Power tools include: nailers, drills, saws, and sanders.

How Often Should Tool Maintenance Be Conducted?

Tool maintenance should be conducted regularly. Ensure that tools get cleaned after use or shift before being stored in a designated area for extended service life. Use this opportunity to inspect tools for any defects. Tool maintenance will ensure the tool remains in an operational state.

How Does Tool Maintenance Work?

Tool maintenance works by restoring the condition of the tool to a state in which it can carry out its necessary function. Maintainability is the objective of processes and resources under certain conditions to restore tools to functional status. Discussed below are the processes and resources of tool maintenance:

1. Storage
Proper storage ensures that tools are kept safe from moisture, dust, and unnecessary damage. Proper storage organizes your tools for efficient access and saves time when a specific tool is required.

2. Inspection
Regular inspection will allow the signs of deterioration to become evident. Macro faults will be easy to spot during regular inspection. Ensure proper training on visual inspection techniques. Failure to inspect for and identify macro defects can lead to catastrophic failure and injury.

3. Cleaning
Neglecting to clean tools will allow the accumulation of dust, dirt, and grime that may damage the tool and cause failure and injury. Periodically deep clean tools to ensure clean moving surfaces. Do not use harsh chemicals to clean tools. This may cause additional damage to tools. Failure to clean tools may hide damage to tools and cause serious injury when tools fail.

4. Documentation
Documentation regarding tool inventory, service history, store allotment number, and commissioning date serves as a log book and maintenance manual. Proper bookkeeping ensures that tool history is logged and planned maintenance notes adhered to. It also defines the maintenance, repair, and replacement procedures.

5. Calibration
Tool calibration is an important process in ensuring tools deliver consistent, accurate, and reliable measurements. Regular calibration should be scheduled to ensure measurement tools are calibrated before going out of specification. If the measurement tool goes out of specification, the knock-on effect will be witnessed in the end product, leading to unnecessary quality rejection.

6. Lubrication
Lubrication of moving parts and machine tool contact cutting edge reduces friction and in machine tools reduces heat buildup. Lubrication extends the service life of the tool and reduces corrosion. Lack of lubrication causes excess friction, heat buildup, and wear.

7. Sharpening
Regular tool sharpening is important and often neglected. Dull tools require more work to accomplish the same task. This extra effort required creates extra heat generation in tools decreasing the service life of the tool motor and cutting tool. Sharper tools also take longer to clog, creating a safer operating environment.

8. Replacing
Learning when to replace tools is imperative for safe and effective operation. Chipped, cracked, or damaged tools should be replaced immediately. Failure to replace badly damaged tools will likely lead to serious injury. Tools should be replaced when tools are not damaged but reach the end of their useful service life. Useful service life can be defined as that when repair cost is lower than replacement cost. Once this ratio changes, the tool has reached the end of its useful service life.

How Should Tools Be Stored To Avoid Corrosion and Damage
Tools should be treated with a preservative before storage to avoid corrosion and damage. Before storage, proper cleaning techniques should be followed to clean tools. After cleaning tools, use a high-quality general-purpose lubricant such as WD-40® to lubricate moving parts and preserve exposed metal surfaces. Refrain from lubricating tool handles.

How Does Lubrication Affect Tool Performance and Longevity?

Lubrication of moving parts and exposed metal tool parts supports tool performance and extends longevity. Proper lubrication can enhance efficiency by reducing friction, reducing wear, and ultimately extending the service life of the tool. Like the tool, the lubricant used has a useful service life. Remember to replace and reapply new lubricant as required.

Do Proactive Tool Maintenance Strategies Affect Manufacturing Productivity?

Yes, proactive tool maintenance strategies affect manufacturing productivity. Proactive maintenance is an umbrella term for planned maintenance strategies with the objective being to minimize downtime, lower total production costs, and optimize performance.

What Are the Different Types of Tool Maintenance?

Tool maintenance is an important aspect of production and manufacturing efficiency, and maintaining tool uptime is essential. Tool downtime and manufacturing and production disruptions are critical aspects to mitigate. Choosing the correct tool maintenance strategy is key to mitigating downtime and costly disruptions. Below are six maintenance strategies that you can implement depending on your requirements:

1. Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance is a planned maintenance strategy often utilized. Preventive maintenance is the scheduled maintenance that mitigates degradation to an acceptable level to extend useful life. The pros include: reduced downtime, extended life cycle, and operational continuity. The cons include: higher initial costs and higher labor costs. Industries that employ preventive maintenance include: material handling, the HVAC industry, and the aerospace industry.

2. Predictive Maintenance
One of the more advanced strategies of maintenance is predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is data-driven and alerts maintenance crews of impending failure ahead of time. It uses sensors and machine learning algorithms to schedule maintenance tasks. The pros include: decreased catastrophic failures and enhanced equipment performance. The cons include: specialized trained personnel are required to operate scheduling equipment. Industries that employ predictive maintenance include: the oil & gas industry and the manufacturing industry.

3. Corrective Maintenance
Corrective maintenance waits for a problem to occur before maintenance is scheduled. This is an unplanned maintenance strategy and a risky strategy to implement. Usually, run-to-failure corrects and repairs major failures. The pros include: the least amount of planning required, decreased monthly maintenance cost, and the most basic strategy. The cons include: increased downtime cost, higher overtime labor cost, potential secondary damage, and increased replacement cost. Within many industries, all non-critical and low-cost processes may be maintained under a corrective-maintenance strategy.

4. Autonomous Maintenance
Usually, predictive maintenance can be automated with pre-programmed protocols when certain conditions are met. Automation with computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software increases efficiency and ensures maintenance and inspections are executed on time. Initial labor cost coupled with initial setup cost is mitigated by long-term cost savings through decreased major failures, energy savings, and the ability to outsource maintenance tasks through automated prompts.

5. Condition-Based Maintenance
Condition-based maintenance focuses on observations measured through sensors to evaluate conditions and prompt maintenance tasks. Real-time parameters prompt maintenance tasks once the condition falls outside of predetermined safe operational conditions. Condition-based maintenance is at the forefront of equipment maintenance, striking the balance between predictive maintenance and preventive maintenance. The pros include: root cause analysis, increased reliability, focused maintenance, prevention of sudden failures, and reduced overhauls. The cons include: high startup costs. The manufacturing industry relies on condition-based maintenance for increased production output with increased asset life cycles.

6. Proactive Maintenance
Proactive maintenance, also known as reliability-centered maintenance, determines the holistic requirement for total reliable operation. Pros include: efficiency, cost reduction, reduced overhauls, prevention of sudden failures, critical-component maintenance, increased reliability, and root cause analysis. Cons include: equipment may require redesign, higher initial cost, and cost savings take longer than other strategies.

How Does Tool Maintenance Improve Manufacturing Quality Control Accuracy?
Quality control ensures that the final product is within specification and free from defects. The accuracy of the final specification is met consistently with lower defect rates in the final product by maintaining tools. A consistent pass rate of the quality-control process improves the manufacturing quality-control accuracy.

How Does Tool Maintenance Improve Manufacturing Material Handling Safety and Efficiency?
Tool maintenance improves manufacturing material-handling safety and efficiency by mitigating breakdowns and catastrophic failures. Tool maintenance reduces failure mode factors such as: friction, fatigue, and fracture by restoring the state of operability before failure occurs. These potential failure modes affect material-handling efficiency before actual failure because the affected component or tool is operating in an inefficient state.

What Tool Maintenance Is Necessary To Maintain Precision and Tolerance During Production?
One of the proactive strategies for tool maintenance should be considered to maintain precision and tolerance during production and enable a high production rate. With clearly defined standard operating procedures, a precision maintenance strategy leaves little room for deviation from set precision and tolerance standards. Precision maintenance not only defines when tools should be maintained but also defines how they should be maintained, enabling consistent maintenance through multiple maintenance technicians. Precision maintenance is a subcategory of the predictive maintenance strategy.

How Much Does a Tool Maintenance Service Cost?

Tool-maintenance-service costs vary greatly depending on: the amount of tools, industry, and value. A solid guide to budgeting for tool-maintenance-service costs runs between 2% and 5% of total replacement asset value (RAV). This guiding key performance indicator (KPI) is based on total value and spending and should aid in service-cost estimation.

What Are the Best Tool Maintenance Providers?

The best tool maintenance providers verified include:

Ransohoff: Manufacturer of aqueous-based parts cleaning systems.
TCR Inc: Integrator of unique needs of the metal forming industry.
Revolution Machine Tools: Manufacturer of sheet metal fabrication machinery.
Hi-Tek Balancing, Inc: Prototype to production vibration analysis and balancing services.
Re:Build Optimation: Design, fabrication, and installation of automation systems.
How To Choose the Best Tool Maintenance Provider
Downtime and failure affect production and impact cost significantly. Therefore, choosing the best tool maintenance provider is imperative to maintain production efficiency. Here are a few key points to consider when choosing a tool maintenance provider:

Technical Expertise: Original equipment manufacturer.
Services Provided: Additional game-changing services provided.
Flexibility: The provider should be flexible and be able to adapt to your needs.
Availability: Responsiveness, availability, and mobility.
Safeguards: Is the provider able to provide safeguards and protection?
Rates: Competitiveness and ability to keep costs down by internalizing operations.
HSE Commitment: Health, safety, and environmental policies.


XTJ is a leading OEM Manufacturer  that is dedicated to providing one-stop manufacturing solutions of Machining 6061 Aluminum  from prototype to production. We are proud to be an ISO 9001 certified system quality management company and we are determined to create value in every customer relationship. We do that through collaboration, innovation, process improvements, and exceptional workmanship.



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