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Machine Coolant Filter Units Cut Costs

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Machine Coolant Filter Units Cut Costs

There are four simple steps to cutting costs.  These are proper settings, maintenance of equipment, proper air handling and proper machine coolant management.  Refer back to the Filtration Index for more articles on Filter Units and Machine Coolant. 

1. Make sure the settings are proper.  It is common to find machine coolant nozzles that are pointed in the wrong place.  To compensate for this the stream of machine coolant is increased.  A smaller stream of machine coolant that is aimed properly is more effective than a bigger stream pointed in the wrong direction.  

2. Make sure the air collection equipment you already have is working properly.  Equipment that is not turned on or plugged up does not do you any good.  Some machines are so dirty that you cannot see the air intakes any longer.  Older, dirty machines may have air intakes that are buried under years of crud.  There are several new air handling machines that are portable, inexpensive and easy to use. 

Make sure air and dust collection vents are as close to the work as possible.  Moving a vent four inches away from the work cuts the efficiency of the vent in half.  

The first sign of an expensive operation is the color of the air.  The dirtier the air is the more expensive the operation is.   Haze is a combination of everything that is eating up the equipment. The thicker the haze, the faster the equipment is being destroyed.  This haze is made of consumables such as machine coolant, tool and wheel particles and fumes. 

If there are enough of these to get in the air so you can see them then there are definitely more than enough of these to get into the equipment and cause excessive wear.  Even if the air appears to be clean, there can still be as considerable number of extremely fine particles.  Microphotographic analysis of airborne dust from a machining and grinding operation shows bits of tungsten carbide, diamond, ceramic dust and metals as small as one micron.  These are much too small to see or feel, but they are an excellent size to penetrate seals and damage smooth surface in hydraulics, slides, ways and bearings. 

There should not be any haze, mist or smell in a well-run operation. 

3.  Do your maintenance.  When routine maintenance is done in a good shop the oil and grease that is taken off looks new or almost new.  The outside of the machine just needs a wipe or a gentle scrub at most.  There is no caked material.  Remember we are talking precision machines and very fine abrasive particles.  If you can see any wear then it is too late.  

In the most profitable shops they pretty well filter constantly, wipe the machines down as they go several times a day, wipe the machines down completely daily and clean them well once a week with a rebuild, lubrication and greasing and calibration every month. 

4.  Machine coolant needs to be maintained at the proper level, it needs to be kept at the proper concentration and it needs to be kept clean.  Dirty machine coolant can have as many as 75,000,000 microscopic abrasive particles per cubic centimeter.  These particles turn machine coolant into the same kind of liquid that water jets use to cut through solid steel.   Dirty machine coolant wears out faster, smells worse, does not cool as well, does not lubricate as well and is much more likely to contribute to rework or scrap parts.  

Air and machine coolant quality are as important in a shop as in an automobile engine and for the same reasons.  Cars have air intake filters and oil filters to keep dirt and metal particles from damaging the engine.   Good shops have air cleaners and machine coolant filter systems for the same reasons.  

Overall cleanliness

The first step is overall cleanliness.  This is a larger subject than machine coolant cleanliness.  A big part of dirt in a shop is sprayed machine coolant.  However there can be other sources of dirt such as road dust.  Chips, normal dust and accumulated dirt.  More and more good shops look more like operating rooms than anything else. 

The difference can easily be 7% to 10% a year between a really clean shop and a dirtier shop.  This is $7,000 to $10,000 on $100,000 worth of equipment.   Anyone who has bought new equipment lately knows that $100,000 is not much money anymore.  The additional wear problem compounds over the years.  A machine may have a ten-year life between rebuilds if treated well.  If the shop air is dirty, or if the machine coolant is not filtered constantly, it can rapidly cut the life in half. 

Cleanliness directly tells you how much life you are getting out of your machines.  It indirectly tells you how much waste there is and how good the work is.  

If the dust and machine coolant are getting loose then they are also getting into sensitive areas such as bearings and eating up machines.  It is pretty easy to see how rapidly the machines are wearing out inside by the build-up on the outside.