Every minute counts when your machine is down. With the right set of essential machine shop tools, you can perform a basic level of troubleshooting to help your repair specialist investigate the issues. Finding exactly where the issues are can significantly reduce the machine downtime.
We offer you our list of the most essential machine shop tools to have on hand for diagnosing issues and performing preventative maintenance checks.
- Use multimeters to check AC or DC voltages. This is important when measuring drive input voltages or the output voltage from a power supply. You will also use multimeters’ continuity function to find short circuits or to measure small resistances (up to a few tens of MΩ). We recommend Fluke and Hioki multimeters as highly reliable and accurate tools.
- A megohmmeter, also known as a megger, is a device for testing the ground resistance. Use this tool to determine if your motor, plug or cable is bad or beginning to fail. This device measures resistance above 1,000 MΩ and can show any failures or degradation in the motor winding insulation. Make sure that motors have at least 200 MΩ between each phase (U, V, W) and ground.
- A current clamp has a set of “jaws” that clamp around a conductor. A current clamp is great for checking the current balance in 3-phase powered devices. Use current clamps to capture maximum values in current spikes. Current clamps are essential in catching irregularities when starting or stopping a device.
Other Essential Machine Shop Tools:
- Thermal imaging or infrared cameras are widely used for diagnostics and troubleshooting. A thermal camera can show areas that are excessively hot or burned which can be the underlying cause for component failure. Use thermal cameras to identify hot spots in your contactors or motors.
- Use a vibration analyzer to check your motor bearings. This device can identify vibration peaks of motor windings and analyze patterns of the vibration. Vibration analyzers determine the condition of the bearings which allows the users to schedule preventative maintenance or plan for repair.
Follow all proper safety guidelines when taking measurements on machine parts, both with or without power. Voltages used in these devices can be lethal. If you are not familiar with the device’s safe operation guidelines or feel uncomfortable taking these measurements by yourself, seek training or consider hiring a certified technician who can assist you with the on-site measurements and troubleshooting.