Monday, February 23, 2009

Technical knowledge vs. following the book

Even the machine tool industry is prone to what I call the "punch key operator syndrome". I first noticed this in my earlier years of TV Repair calling in for tech support. It was abviuose these people had never worked on a TV before. Then I started no notice it AOL when the I first got the internet, and well I think you can figure out the rest. For the most part it means you cant think out side the box or book for that matter. If its not in the book, they cant help you. But it seems to spill out into the field tech area also.

A customer had called us in for a second opinion on a Weeke BP12 that they had recently moved into their facility that was bought at auction. This machine had a multitude of problems, some of wich they did not want to fix due to high cost to get the correct parts. After replacing a dead CPU board the customer had called in an OEM rep due to the Z-Axis moving erratically. One of the first things the OEM rep did was swap the Y and Z axis modules and control cables because they were not in the positions he was used to seeing them. After doing this the machine would run away and crash, and he told the customer they needed to replace all the boards in the NC rack.
Taking this information the customer gave me, I first looked at the axis drives and their connections to the motors and found these to be incorrect and corrected them. Now with the exception of the Z-axis, X & Y axis now homed smoothly, Z-Axis was erratic and would error out. I found this was caused by a bad contactor. In all it took me 2 hours to fix the problems that the OEM rep could not fix in 2 days.

I spent the next three days figuring out the operation of the machine and training the operator. Most of this time was wasted trying to run procedures that the OEM said had to be done for the machine to work with modifications that the previous owner had made. I found none of those needed to be done and all could be handled by simple options in the conversational programming section.

This was the first time I had ever seen a BP-12 so I had to rely solely on technical knowledge of how machines and control systems work, not what some book full of procedures that cant forsee every situation says to try or do.

No comments:

Post a Comment