The holidays are a busy and complicated time of year. More so when you’re a shop owner preparing for a holiday shutdown. There’s a lot of hustle to get work done and a ton of small steps to take from documenting where you are in current work orders to making sure in-process parts don’t rust while you’re away that can be easy to forget during the holiday rush.
To help you keep your head during the holidays, we’ve put together a short list of quick tips on planning for a holiday shutdown and some great tricks to help you get back up and running with minimal downtime.
This one is pretty straightforward. It is simply good maintenance to remove tools from the spindles when not in use to prevent wear and tear. It also means you won’t come back from a relaxing break to find your most important machine has a dry-locked tool and is inoperable.
There’s nothing worse than having to redo a bunch of pristine work because it rusted on you. Arguably the most important step on this list, oiling your work-in-progress parts will prevent them from rusting while you’re away from the shop so when you get back they still look good and are ready to be finished up and shipped out.
Before your machine operators head home for the holidays, make sure they take down detailed notes on their current parts in progress and what process they are one. Not only does this help when everyone gets back to pick up right where they left off, but if you have an operator that’s coming back later than everyone else, you’ll have detailed notes so someone else can pick up where they left off to complete the job and get it shipped.
Turning off your conveyors when they are not in use means less wear and tear. If you use a conveyor to circulate water or coolant, consider going to your local pet store and picking up a simple water bubbler for an aquarium. Drop the bubbler in the coolant, plug it in and let it do its thing. This can save you from spending hundreds or thousands of dollars or replacing coolant that went stagnant or grew bacteria while you were away.
It’s a good idea to backup all CNC programs for your current jobs onto an external hard drive. In the unlikely event of a power outage, computer or machine failure, or other funky happenstance, you’ll have a backup version of your program that you can work from rather than having to start from scratch in case you lose all that hard work.
Make sure all your backup batteries that are attached to your machines are operational in case of a power outage while you’re away. If you don’t have backup batteries for your machines, then consider adding some to your purchasing list for 2021. Power outages due to severe weather events are increasing at an alarming rate. Having a backup battery on your primary machines will mean that even if the rest of your shop goes down, you can finish those vital machining steps.
There are just a few last holiday shutdown tips to keep in mind as you head out the door. Turn off your air compressor and make sure there’s no air in your lines to prevent them from bursting, check your smoke detectors, and, finally, turn down the heat.
With these great tips and tricks, you’ll never have to worry about a holiday shutdown again and you’ll be able to get back up and running in no time. Do you have any great holiday shutdown tips? Be sure to share them with your fellow shop owners and operators in the Xometry Community.