More on Maintenance
Maintenance-free automation does not exist, no matter how much you spend on your press.
Rick Fuqua, owner of Real Performance Machinery, gives us this preview of the article he's writing for the February/March 2010 edition of Screen Printing magazine:
Does maintenance increase performance while decreasing downtime? Or, is maintenance a unnecessary mystery that is better solved by a factory technician the next time he is in the area—perhaps after you have paid him to make a service call.
One way to look at it is how you maintain your car. Typically, you don't ignore maintaining your car until it breaks down on the highway; instead, you change your fluids on a regular basis: oil, transmission, power steering, and water. You check your tire pressure, treads, brakes, and so on. The more expensive the car, the more attention people tend to give it. Ironically, printing machines costing the same or more money are often ignored. No time is spent understanding how the machine actually works. No one understands how to identify parts and potential wear points. Few even consider reading the manual and buying the supplies needed to do a service.
Maintenance-free automation does not exist, no matter how much you spend on your press. No doubt it is cheaper to solve the mystery of what to do when than to wait until a small problem becomes a big one. When you assume that the issue can wait until you get around to it, the reality check is costly. The correct way to think about taking care of your machinery is to believe that friction and wear do exist and the mission—should you choose to accept it—is to work at slowing down this process by implementing a maintenance plan. Taking care of your press is like taking care of your car. Good maintenance results in longer life, less downtime, and less costly repairs. More importantly, doing so maintains performance.