Way cover repairs get Eaton back to work in short order.

Position:Production strategies

As the old saying goes, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. At Bruckner Supply, the integrated supplier at Eaton Hydraulics in Shawnee, OK, the manufacturer of hydraulic motors keeps an eye on all the little things. Critical to the machining operations are dozens of Okuma and Mazak machining centers that run 24/7, according to maintenance coordinator Larry Parris.

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"Since costly downtime must be avoided as much as possible, we need to keep the machines running all the time, except for planned maintenance," Parris notes. "When even a seemingly small thing like a damaged way cover on one of these machine tools shuts it down, the costs ramp up very quickly. So we need a nearby source to service our equipment repair and refurbishing."

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Hennig Inc., Machesney Park, IL, the manufacturer of the telescopic steel way covers on these machines, operates a service center "just up the road a bit." In Oklahoma that's about 30 miles away, in Chandler. There, the way covers for operations such as Eaton are shipped to Hennig, analyzed for damage, quoted, repaired, then shipped back to the company, usually for reinstallation by the customer's maintenance personnel.

Under the watchful eye of Clay Blank, the service center supervisor, the incoming way covers are examined for damage or maintenance needs. Three technicians, all certified welders, effect the repairs and component replacements at the service center or, when needed, onsite at the customer's location. The covers are straightened, cleaned, polished and reassembled, plus repaired and refurbished, as needed.

"We can repair the way covers or replace most of the parts, in very short order, on just about any CNC machine," Blank says, adding that the fast turnaround the operation achieves has been a key factor in getting and especially keeping many customers. Most often, the center services Hennig or Enomoto brands, the latter being the original equipment on some of the Asian-built machine tools used by customers.

Tough treatment

According to Hennig service and repair manager Dave Menke, way covers get worn, dirty, bent, and corroded by the continuous exposure to oil and coolant.

"Wiper lip, rollers, scissor assemblies, wiper casings, sidebrass and guides can all get damaged, even in normal use," he explains. "Then, of course, there are the crashes, from lift trucks...

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