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Improving the way your firm handles cutting fluids

There are many benefits to be gained from streamlining how cutting fluids are handled onsite, including reducing unplanned mechanical stoppages and a longer lifespan for equipment. Read on for some useful points to consider that can increase the likelihood of production remaining at optimum capacity.

Appointing a dedicated Cutting Fluid Manager

To ensure that the proper care and attention is applied to the handling of all cutting fluids onsite, assigning this important responsibility to an individual is key. A Cutting Fluid Manager will make sure all systems have the correct concentration and record pH values and concentration levels in a logbook. They will also take any corrective action necessary to maintain the fluid’s attributes.

Labelling machinery

Sites that use different varieties of cutting fluids for various types of machinery must ensure they label every machine with the specific cutting fluid type it uses. This effectively reduces any risk of mixing fluids, which can compromise their key properties.

Checking concentration

To operate at optimum, a cutting fluid’s concentration must remain at recommended levels. Incorrect concentration can lead to a range of issues. When it is too high, more mess is produced, increasing the chance of skin issues occurring and increasing fluid consumption. When concentration is too low, it can cause fungal and bacterial contamination, weak lubrication and corrosion, reducing the service life of both cutting fluid and tools.

For this reason, it’s vital for the concentration to be measured regularly, ideally on a daily basis, either by titration or by utilising a refractometer. After measurement, the concentration should be adjusted.

Using separators or skimmers to remove tramp oil

Tramp oil will contaminate emulsion and can take the form of corrosion-inhibitor fluids, hydraulic oil, gear oil or slide oil. The boundary layer located between the emulsion and tramp oil is a breeding ground for bacteria. Tramp oil must be cleared daily, as no emulsion can stand up to being swamped by tramp oil for an extended period of time. The easiest method of removing tramp oil is by using either a separator or skimmer.

Removing swarf continually

Metal chips and shavings, known as swarf, and other miniscule particles must be efficiently removed through comprehensive filtration. Any impurities present can decrease the emulsion’s life, as they assist in increasing the growth rate of fungi and bacteria.

Checking pH values

Finally, it’s crucial to keep a watchful eye on the fluid’s pH value. Cutting fluids will typically have a pH value of 9-9.6, but products exist with a lower pH when being used. For most of these specialist fluids, pH values should be 9.0 at minimum. If this value of pH decreases, it means it’s either contaminated by bacteria or its concentration level is too low. The result of these circumstances can be unpleasant odours and corrosion issues.

On a daily basis, assess the pH value if possible, employing either a pH indicator stick or pH metre, and adjust if necessary using a pH booster.

By following the points discussed and streamlining the handling of cutting fluids onsite, enterprises can make the most of numerous advantages.

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