Seen in action, a metal cutting “shear” slices through sheet metal sections in a single cut. By comparison, an industrial saw is a less effective fabrication tool, one that takes time to route its cuts. Needless to say, that all-at-once shearing action takes its toll. Clearly, if a high-production metal forming workshop is to sustain machine performance, someone’s going to have to keep the shearing blades in tip-top shape.

Configure the Blades

Be it a rudimentary push-pedal setup or an industrial-grade in-line shearer, complete with semi-automated control panel, the operator won’t be able to apply consistent shear action if the blades are out-of-alignment. This is especially true in a high-production environment. If the blades are misaligned, configure their angle of attack and their clearance settings. Down lower on the equipment, the blade seat needs to be inspected regularly so that the cutting edges won’t end up chipped.

Installing Isolation Cushions

As each shearing stroke drops, vibrational energies propagate along the equipment sections. Shear frame distortion tugs forcefully at the blades as they drop. To dampen these shock energies and blade twisting forces, maintenance technicians should be assigned with this simple task. As a result of this half-hour job, with the isolation pads absorbing shearing noise, an uptick in shearing performance takes place. Better yet, the lifespan of the equipment expands because of the added noise dampeners.

Extend the Blade Alignment Inspection

If the upper and lower blades check out as clearance-configured machine parts, that doesn’t mean the shearing downstroke will cut perfectly. Remember, the machine stroke goes back much further. Isolate the equipment and level it. Realign the shearing gibs by checking the orientation of the ramming mechanism. Use a planned maintenance program to further inspect the fluid delivery system and the various stroke providing actuators. From the central ram to the shearing clutch and brakes, trace the stroke action and identify any and all misalignment errors.

Act on Feedback Data

Planned predictive maintenance programs can be applied in several ways. Used as a proactive fault finding system, months of recorded error information create time-based graphs, from which remedial action can be planned and implemented. That method doesn’t work well on machine shop fabrication gear. If a shearing machine is applying inaccurate strokes on hundreds of sheet metal parts, those shearing defects must be addressed as soon as they’re identified.

Having weighed all of these mechanism-correcting measures, the maintenance approach receives the bulk of a metal fabricator’s available resources. The inspections focus on blade clearances and angles. Lubrication systems are cleaned and filters replaced. The brakes and clutches are next, so they’re inspected to make sure they’re not adversely affecting the shearing stroke. Last of all, to remove frame distortion noise, maintenance techs look at vibration-mitigating provisions, including simple-to-install noise isolation pads.