Tackling vibration problems in machine tools

Vibrations in cutting tools can cause excessive chatter if steps aren’t taken to manage it effectively. The problem can have a big impact on the machining operation, reducing productivity and even affecting the quality of the components that are made. The noise generated by the vibrations can be damaging to the operator’s hearing and can also distract other people working in the area. If left untreated for a long time, excessive vibration can also cause higher levels of wear to bearings, resulting in premature failure.

Vibrations can typically be categorised in one of three ways: free (or transient), forced, or self-excited (more commonly referred to as chatter). The first of these is caused by the reversal of the reciprocating masses and when the machine tool touches the material. The second results from periodic forces that occur in the system because of poorly balanced parts. The third occurs when there is instability in the cutting process.

A lot of work has gone into understanding the causes of free and forced vibrations in machine tools. This has led to a number of different solutions to the problem that can remove or reduce the vibration including dynamic balancing.

Self-excited vibrations are trickier to understand and control. They can be caused by a number of factors, including hardness in the material being cut, unstable or under-powered tools, and a poor metal removal rate. Fixing the problem requires closer monitoring of the device and adjustments during the cutting process. Keeping a close eye on the quality of materials and ensuring the machine tools are in the best condition can help too.

We have spent many years investigating the causes of vibrations in machine tools and devising solutions to them. We can conduct vibration analysis on all kinds of equipment, including powerful machines that can rotate up to 30,000 RPM. The investigation will help us to offer advice and dynamic balancing services if they will resolve the issue. If you would like an expert opinion and a first rate service please contact us.