How To:
Initial Commissioning of a New Machine Tool

You did the research, requested and reviewed multiple quotes from different suppliers, presented the options and arguments to the team, secured budget, submitted the PO, and provided delivery information; now what? During the initial commissioning of a new machine tool there are many steps that can have disastrous results if not completed correctly. Here are common problems, the effects and how to deal with them.  if they are not dealt with properly during initial commissioning of a new machine tool.

Prepping for Arrival: What to do when you’re waiting for the truck

machine tool for Initial Commissioning

If your new machine tool is going to be secured to the floor, prepping the space ahead of time will help. You want to ensure you are up and running as quickly as possible. Correcting any leveling issues and having the anchors ready to be installed will save time. This should be done before the machine arrives to help keep the process moving at an efficient speed.

Before your new machine tool arrives, be sure to ask your supplier for a few a few things. A digital copy of the manual and any rigging information they may have available is what you need. Be sure to check the dimensions and weight of the machine.  This will ensure you have the correct equipment for unloading BEFORE the machine arrives at your production room.

Unloading: How do you get it off the truck and into your facility?

machine crate coming out of truckManuals from reputable suppliers should include information and guidance on moving the machine. Whether for initial commissioning or simply relocating. Use this information to identify pre-designated lifting spots if present, or any other relevant information such as fragile areas or uneven weight balance.

When unloading with a fork lift it is Initial Commissioning fork liftimperative that you have both the weight capacity and the fork length to safely support the new machine. Forks at least 6’, but preferably 8’+ are recommended to ensure the placement of the machine on the delivery vehicle does not interfere with unloading.

unloading machine with craneUsing a crane to unload involves confirming that your straps and slings are both proper capacity and length. Make sure you double check them for damage. Even a small rip on the nylon sleeve of a sling can reduce its capacity by more than half. Damaged slings and straps should be promptly disposed of to avoid being put back into rotation.

For extra large, heavy, or awkwardly large machine tools shaped machine tools, the use of skates may come in handy. Machinery skates can be placed under one end of the new machine while the fork truck supports the other end and pushes the entire thing along. Skates are also helpful when moving long items with short forks. Another option is a pallet jack under one end.

Opening It Up: Removing shipping and packing materials

It is common for machinery to ship secured to a large skid, pallet, or other support. Operating the new machinery with this underneath it will make holding tolerances and creating repeatability impossible. While this base was imperative for safe shipping, it must be removed before the initial commissioning of a new machine tool.

machine tool shipping stopReference the manual to confirm if any other physical stops have been installed for shipping. Also inspect the machinery for pieces of wood and/or metal brackets that may not be mentioned in the machine documentation. These are typically painted red or another contrasting color to ensure they aren’t missed or forgotten.

Be sure to check for smaller parts which may have been removed prior to shipping. It could be possibly they may have been tucked into coolant drawers, electrical cabinets, and other nooks and crannies. Fully open up any and all packaging materials to ensure all parts are unpacked before disposing of the materials.

Christmas Morning: Time to put it together

pouring hydraulic fluid

Once again, refer to your manual for instructions for installing any parts that had been removed for shipping.

Fill fluid reservoirs with the recommended fluids and quantities listed in the manual. It is a good idea to have a bit of extra fluids around to top off the system once it is run and space potentially opens up. If you are located in an area with extreme temperature fluctuations, check out this blog: Prepping Machine Tools for Weather Changes.

Electric

To supply electricity to your machine, bring in a licensed electrician. Use a high quality SO cord and ensure you have adequate length for it to reach from your electrical cabinet to the machine. Having an adequately sized breaker installed to protect your machine from potential surges and other electrical abnormalities is imperative. Confirm amperage with your supplier. Connect the power to the machine as shown in the manual.

For the first time you power up the machine, you will want to have the door to the electrical cabinet open. This is so you can check the phase relay control, if installed on your machine. This device confirms you have your phases installed correctly and indicates such. If your machine does not have a phase relay control, then you will want to check that the main motor rotation matches the arrow on the motor. If your phase relay or motor direction is not correct, start by turning off the machine and breaker. Then swap two of your incoming leads, and re-power the machine. Still experiencing problems? Your electrician should be able to track them down.

In summary, initial commissioning of a new machine tool can be a daunting task but proper preparation can ensure a smooth start up for your investment.

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