Sustainability and the environment often go hand-in-hand. However, while the environment is a huge part of sustainability, other factors such as efficiency, waste and production are also key metrics that factor into sustainability. Fluids and fluid performance play a key role in all of these factors, and fluid choice is critical to making your shop more sustainable.
Above all else, the health and safety of your workers is the most important priority in the shop. In metalworking, microparticles can cause dermatitis, causing irritation and rash. Metalworking fluids are typically about 93% water and 7% oil, neither of which will bother your skin. It's the metallic particles, along with the bacteria and fungus that live on those particles, that result from the machining action that can get into your skin and cause problems.
STLE (Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers), one of the largest professional societies in the field of machine lubrication, serves 15,000 industry professionals worldwide. This past Spring, STLE launched a chapter right here in Minnesota. Led by Lube-Tech Industrial and Distribution Product Development Michelle Brakke and Formulation Chemist Michael Quigley, the chapter fosters idea sharing and lubrication education by providing educational seminars and hosting social and networking events (among other things).
Precise manufacturing is the result of well-running, precision-built machinery, and grease plays a major role in keeping that machinery operating at peak levels. However, grease is often misunderstood and, worse, misapplied.
Grease is a solid to semi-fluid substance consisting of a thickening agent combined with a liquid lubricant. Grease is typically characterized by its thickening agent. Soap-thickened greases include lithium, lithium complex, aluminum complex, calcium, calcium complex, calcium sulfonate, sodium and barium. Non-soap greases include organo-clay, polyuria and silica. Thickeners make up 3-30-percent of a grease compound.
More than half of bearing failures are the result of improper lubrication. Shops know that bearing replacement can be costly, and lost production time can multiply those costs. The majority of bearings are lubricated manually, which typically means the machine is stopped and a worker is physically applying grease, resulting in machine down time and often less than ideal lubrication application. Automated lubrication systems can take the guesswork out of machine maintenance, decreasing down time and increasing a shop’s bottom line.
Chlorinated Paraffins (CPs) are chemical compounds found in plastics, rubber, paints, adhesives, and miscellaneous other substances. However, they are perhaps most effectively used as an additive in cutting oils and machining fluids where they function as a superb extreme pressure agent.
If the physical lubrication film breaks down due to heat, pressure, or both, the chlorine in the compound reacts with iron to form ferrous chloride which creates a chemical lubrication film. While there’s no debate over the effectiveness of chlorinated paraffins as a machining fluid, there is debate over its safety from both an environmental and health standpoint, perhaps affecting the future of these substances and the industries they serve.
The risk of fire in a manufacturing workplace is always a reality. Taking measures to prevent fires is part of safety and compliance, but in some areas of manufacturing, businesses sometimes need to look further into the risk of fire. Industrial manufacturers who rely on a high-heat environment such as foundries, die casting, forging and heat treating operations must not only consider if there will be a fire, but be prepared when there is a fire.
The term metal forming includes a diverse variety of manufacturing processes and applications. This can include the use of one ton mechanical presses down to wire drawing processes. All of these come down to moving metal into a desired geometry. Metal is plastically deformed through force applied that will exceed the yield strength of the metal itself. During this deformation process, friction and heat are generated.
The term “neat” describes a cutting oil that is not mixed with water. Cutting oils mixed with water, better known as “water extendible” fluids, are designed to provide better cooling during the machining process, especially high-speed processes.
In an emulsion, water provides cooling and oil provides lubrication. While neat oils have traditionally been used in low-temperature applications such as slow-speed machining, they are becoming used more and more in higher speed applications, edging out water extendible fluids, for a variety of reasons:
Food producing and packaging machinery needs effective lubrication in order to function properly. However, lubricants used in food production must also meet strict sets of standards set by organizations such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), DIN (German Institute for Standardization), ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and NSF (National Sanitary Foundation).
Meeting these standards while providing superior lubrication qualities is key to success in the food and beverage packaging world and synthetic lubricants are the most effective way to reach that goal.