Common Causes of Spindle Failure

Some common causes of spindle failure include damage, contamination, mishandling, improper installation and overload. Understanding common spindle failure causes can help you identify repair needs and prevent future spindle failures. Seeking professional repair services is crucial when spindle failure occurs, as a qualified technician can restore a spindle to proper working condition and prevent further damage.

Spindles can fail for several reasons, and understanding why a spindle fails is the first step to repairing it. Consider the following most common causes of spindle failure:

1. Contamination

Contamination can have a significant impact on a spindle. Contaminated lubricant, coolant or air supply can damage a spindle’s inner components, leading to failure:

  • Lubricant: Contaminated lubricant can cause bearings to seize and fail. If your spindle stops working or operates ineffectively, it may be due to dirty lubricant. Applying the wrong type of lubricant can also cause failure.
  • Coolant: Unclean coolant can also cause spindle failure. Machine operators should clean coolant regularly to prevent bearings from seizing and failing. Any coolant contamination can lead to spindle failure, so it’s important to ensure the coolant is always clean.
  • Air supply: Contamination can also affect a spindle’s air supply. Contaminants can enter a spindle’s air supply when improper air hose usage occurs, so you should avoid applying too much air pressure during cleaning.

2. Improper Installation or Handling

Spindles require specific installation and handling. Failure may occur when an individual improperly installs a spindle or handles it incorrectly. Consider the following handling actions that can cause a spindle to fail:

  • Mishandling: Machine operators should always handle spindles with care and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Any mishandling, such as a drop or strong force, can potentially damage a spindle. Exposure to too much vibration can also lead to spindle failure. Placing a spindle in a machine with worn bearings, loose bolts or imbalanced components may expose a spindle to too much vibration and prevent it from working properly.
  • Poor storage: If a spindle fails, it may be due to poor storage. Spindles can corrode or rust if they are exposed to humidity or significant temperature fluctuations. Storing spindles in a dry, temperature-controlled space is important, and the storage temperature should always be between 65 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Incorrect installation: Proper installation is essential for effective spindle operation. If a spindle fails, it may be due to an installation error. Incorrect installation can damage a spindle’s components, such as the shaft or bearings.
  • Incorrect removal: Similar to installation, proper removal is also essential. Removing a spindle from a machine without care can cause it to fail during its next operation. If you notice a spindle failure, its inner components may be damaged due to improper removal from its previous machine.
  • Improper lubrication application: Applying excessive or too little lubricant can cause spindle failure. Improper lubrication can also lead to overheating and eventual damage. Too little lubricant may cause bearings to seize up, and too much lubrication can cause a spindle to overheat.

3. Improper Warm-Up or Cool-Down Procedure

High-precision spindle parts undergo thermal expansion. Machine operators must follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and maintain the proper operating temperature to ensure components expand to the correct size. This prevents the spindle from becoming loose.

Machine operators must also avoid cooling a machine down too quickly because it can cause internal condensation, leading to rust. If a spindle fails, it may be due to a machine warming up or cooling down too rapidly.

4. Wrong Tooling Type or Rating

Using the right type of tooling for a spindle is essential for effective operation. Without the right tooling, a spindle can wear out prematurely or take on damage. If a spindle fails to work, the tooling may be the issue.

Spindle failure can also occur due to overload. Each spindle has a specific rating that determines the workpiece weight it can bear. Using a spindle with the wrong rating for a workpiece can overload the spindle and lead to operational failure.

5. Fast Operation

A machine’s feed rate should match a spindle’s rating for the material it works with. Forcing a machine to operate too rapidly can cause failure. It’s also important to consider a spindle’s rpm and the cutting tool size. A spindle’s operating speed should decrease as a cutting tool’s length and diameter increase. An rpm that’s too fast for the cutting tool can damage a spindle and cause it to fail.

6. Damaging Work Material

Work material that is too hard or changes direction can negatively impact a spindle. If a machine’s work material is too hard or moves in the wrong direction, it can damage a spindle’s components and cause failure when it comes in contact with the spindle.

How to Repair a Spindle

You can repair a spindle if it’s not too damaged, but a significantly damaged spindle requires a rebuild. Contacting a professional is the best way to resolve spindle failure because an experienced technician has the knowledge and skills to repair spindles properly. A professional performs spindle repairs in the following steps:

  • Inspection: A technician inspects a failed spindle for chips, cracks and general wear. This helps to determine what caused the spindle to fail.
  • Disassembly: Technicians also disassemble spindles when a failure occurs. They check components such as the shaft and the bearings, examining each part closely to check for damage.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning removes debris and contaminants from each of a spindle’s components. A technician may also machine or grind the spindle if the manufacturer’s specifications indicate this step is necessary.
  • Repair: Once a technician determines the cause of a spindle failure, they can repair or rebuild it. A technician repairs or replaces spindle components using special equipment so they can grind or machine spindles and clean each part.
  • Balance and reassembly: After repairing or rebuilding a spindle, a technician ensures it is balanced, removing or adding weight if necessary to prevent vibration. They then reassemble the spindle.
  • Testing: Once a technician reassembles a spindle, they will operate the spindle under various loads to ensure it works properly. The technicians pay close attention to temperature, vibration and speed to ensure the spindle remains in good condition during operation. They also perform a quality assurance check.

Contact Setco for Spindle Repair Services

Factors such as damage, mishandling, rapid machine operation, poor lubrication, improper installation and excessive vibration can cause spindle failure. No matter what causes your spindle to fail, Setco can repair or rebuild it for optimal performance. We repair broken spindles and offer spindle rebuild services to help machine owners and operators maintain proper operation.

Setco is a technical leader in spindle design, manufacturing and servicing. Contact us to learn more about our spindle repair and rebuild services.


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