Ever wondered, “Does my machine need an oil change?” Some FoodTools machines use human lever power, some need compressed air, others operate with advanced servo drives and computer systems, and some are run on air over oil hydraulics. If you have a hydraulic powered machine, periodically the air compressor needs to be drained to keep condensation out of the pneumatic system (read more about that here), but what about the oil? If you’ve ever wondered “when does my machine need an oil change?”, read on to find out.
DOES MY MACHINE NEED AN OIL CHANGE?
Here are the two most common indicators that your machine needs an oil change.
1. The platform of the machine is moving sporadically, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes slamming into position. The inconsistent movements mean that its possible that the oil system is compromised. Watch and listen for differences in speed, and note any uneven portions, they could be caused by a faulty oil system.
2. If you can see any air bubbles in the oil lines or in the oil canisters on the side of the machine, this could mean that the oil system has been compromised and that air bubbles are stuck in the lines and in the hydraulic cylinder. Bubbles will create inconsistencies in the pressure system, resulting in the movements and mis-cuts mentioned above.
So what do we do to fix a problematic oil system?
- Remove the air bubbles and readjust the oil level
- Change the oil completely
Special Note: Refer to the machine manual for step by step instructions for all maintenance procedures. Maintenance should only be done by a qualified professional on your staff, or by a trained equipment technical from a reputable service company.
The first step is to remove the oil over and canister caps. With the machine unplugged move the table from the front to the rear and back. This should allow any air bubbles stuck in the system to make their way up through the canisters and out. Continue to do this until the air bubbles are gone. Make sure to refill the oil system without overfilling it, check the machine manual for proper oil levels for your machine model.
If that doesn’t solve the problem you can change the oil completely. Remove the quick connects from the main cylinder and drain all of the oil. Order the correct mineral oil for the machine from FoodTools and fill the system with the new oil. Before closing the caps and operating the machine move the table back and forth to remove air bubbles from the system.
Special Note: Be sure to use the manufacturers recommended oil in your machine. FoodTools stocks the food grade mineral oil that we use in all of our equipment and can reference your machine’s serial number to confirm the oil and quantity and ship it to you for preventative maintenance, or overnight for emergencies. Do not risk using another kind of oil in the system, it could create more damage and result in an extended offline machine in your production line!
In addition to troubleshooting a machine malfunction, adding a check of the oil levels and system integrity to your preventative maintenance schedule should help avoid downtown due to equipment failure. Read more about the importance of preventative maintenance programs here. If your FoodTools machine doesn’t have an air and oil system, it will still benefit from being included in your preventative maintenance schedule. Consult your machine manual for our recommended maintenance checkups.
So, “when does my machine need an oil change?” If you’re still not sure, or need technical assistance, contact one of our support reps today!
For other how to and FAQ topics regarding various FoodTools machines, visit our support page here.