Maintain your Machine Tool Sumps

Aug 8, 2019

Bill Shaver, founder of Fluid Management Inc., remembers visiting a small machine shop in Iowa about 15 years ago. During visits like this, Bill and his team often took a moment to briefly inspect the machines in the shop, including sticking their hands in the machine sumps to do a quick check for sludge.
“The one I checked during this particular visit was filled with sludge,” he said. “It had to be 110 gallons of sludge in a 150 gallon tank. We dropped by to visit with the owner in his office. Now, this guy had about $300,000 vertical machining center in his shop and lots of state of the art equipment.
“I told the guy that he should probably clean this out because you’re picking up all that sludge and putting it against your work pieces, and your tools are wearing out prematurely. Your surface finishes are affected. And all of this stuff is wearing out prematurely.”
The machine shop owner wasn’t very receptive to Shaver’s suggestion. “He said he didn’t need to do that,” Shaver said. “He said he’d been running the machine for five years like that and it’s doing just fine.”
Then the discussion got a bit personal. “I told him that he’s driving a $30,000 Cadillac that’s parked out front,” Shaver says. “You spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars getting oil changes and tune-ups on a machine that doesn’t make you any money, but then the machine that makes you money and brings in revenue for you, you don’t take care of that like you take care of your Cadillac.”
Needless to say, Shaver added, he didn’t end up doing business with him.

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