Is Your Grinder's Spindle Close To Failure? How To Tell, And What You Can Do To Prevent It

The spindle is the heart of your grinding equipment. Without the spindle efficiently rotating the tool, any job requiring grinding can fall out of spec. More importantly, a failing spindle can bring your production to a complete halt. Here's what you need to know about caring for your grinder's spindles.

Spindles Consist of a Lot of Important Parts

A spindle isn't just a single piece that turns on command. There are a number of parts that allow it to operate. You don't have to know every part intimately, but you do need to have a basic knowledge of those parts for spindle maintenance and repair. Whether you have a motorized or a belt-driven spindle, they share a few key components.

Front and rear housings – These house the motor and the shaft respectively.

Bearings – The bearing system of your spindle dictates how efficiently your spindle will perform.

Motor – Whether it's a belt or an actual motor, it falls under this category.

Shaft – Arguably, the most important part of the spindle. Many people even consider the shaft to be the spindle itself.

Each of these main components has sub-components as well. If you find you need to troubleshoot issues within these components, it's best to seek a professional service. Each of these components, or their sub-components, can fail. There's a lot you can do to prevent failure of these parts and, therefore, failure of the spindle itself.

Why Your Spindle Might Fail

All of the components of your spindle go through wear and tear just like anything else. If any one component starts to wear, it will lead to other components to not working as they should. You will notice signs of wear just by your grinder's performance.

Signs of Pending Failure

There are many signs of pending spindle failure. Many of these signs are obvious.

  • An increase in grinder vibrations
  • Unfamiliar noises coming from the grinder
  • Fluctuating or out-of-the-ordinary operating temperatures
  • Run-out
  • A general loss of precision
  • Noticeable tool-holder imbalance

Really, if your grinder isn't performing as it should for any reason, there's a chance your spindle and assembly need attention.

What You Can Do to Prevent Spindle Failure

The most important thing you can and should do to prevent spindle failure is to pay attention. Your grinder should go through routine inspections anyway. Ascertaining the viability of the spindle should represent a large part of that inspection. There are a few more things that are fully in your control.

Keep parts properly lubricated – Your spindle and its components need the right lubrication in the right amounts. The process for applying lubricants will vary. It's important to follow manufacturer instructions and specifications for finding the right type of lubricants for your machinery.

Keep parts clean and free of debris – Your spindle should have a tight seal. You should always try to keep foreign substances and contaminants away from it. These things can build up over time and cause failure. That includes things like coolant sprays.

Keep spindles safe – If you're not careful, you can damage the spindle. There are many ways for you to damage your spindle.

  • Mishandling it
  • Not protecting it properly
  • Pushing it beyond its capabilities
  • Letting it operate when you notice obvious signs of problems
  • Failing to maintain it, or failing to hire a professional to maintain it

The good thing about spindles is there are numerous options if you find you are having a problem. You can

  • repair,
  • replace,
  • refurbish,
  • rebuild,
  • or recondition them.

Starting with a reputable manufacturer or distributor of grinding equipment systems can go a long way towards making sure you have spindles that last. When in doubt, contact a professional to see if you're suffering from spindle problems.