Choosing a coolant can be an arduous process, as many users know. When in the process of researching your coolant performance criteria, it is best to ask the manufacturer or their representative as many questions as possible, so your time and money are not wasted.
The following is a list of coolant performance criteria that should be considered:
- Stable in solution
- Assist in all (or most) of your machining processes, producing good finishes
- Controls rust and corrosion
- Controls foam and mist
- Controls undesirable odors
- Forms no undesirable residues
- Long fluid life, given proper maintenance
- Safer to workers
- Easy disposal
Stable in Solution
Soluble oils are a cost-effective way to reduce friction and improve control in gas with your CNC machine systems. They usually consist of 50%-85% petroleum or mineral oil and emulsifiers with other additives.
The concentration is then mixed with water. When mixed, emulsifiers cause fluids to come together to form a stable emulsion, while improving the body and texture of the standard liquid.
Assist in all (or most) of your machining processes
CNC Coolants eliminate many of your machining processes’ problems, producing good finishes quickly and cost-effectively. The high speed capabilities of metalworking liquids eliminate carbide spurs to maintain consistent feeds and feedsrates. This maximizes tool life and prevents the transfer of heat from the cutting tool to the work piece.
This cooling helps produce finishes more efficiently, and the effects ultimately saves you time and money.
Controls Rust and Corrosion
Another coolant performance criteria is to pay attention to how it interacts with your tools. The fluids protect critical components of your CNC machine parts from rust and corrosion, lengthening the lifetime of the tooling pieces. This lets them cut longer and run faster, keeping your operations running at peak performance.
Controls Foam and Mist
CNC coolant should leave little to no traces in the control of cutting fluid. This prolongs tool life while reducing the costs in comparison to changing or replacing parts. Foam suppressants and lubricants ensure precision and stability in your machine tool and diminish the risk of a catastrophic mistake.
Controls Undesirable Odors
They offer additives that work with the fluids in machines to minimize the possibility of unwanted odors. Controlling odors doesn’t have to mean covering them up. Coolants can be engineered to actually control bacteria which can be a main source of the issue.
Ventilation is helpful especially in an enclosed space. Using odor control tablets in your sump tanks also help lessen bacterial growth.
Forms No Undesirable Residues
Another coolant performance criteria is to make sure your CNC coolant stays within its required operating temperature range. And also preventing the formation of undesirable residues on your equipment.
Not only is there less chance of the spindle burning up and removing an expensive tooling-head, but it also means that you can watch the CNC machine mill or cut your parts and get immediate feedback to help you better direct it how to produce your parts.
Long Fluid Life
You can increase your milling fluid life with proper core maintenance. Your tools will be able to maintain their accuracy for longer. And with reduced milling times, you’ll produce higher quality parts. But make sure to store your fluid correctly.
Improper fluid storage can lead to contamination, prematurely ending total fluid life. With the help of modern software, such as The Dazzle 2, this maintenance is easy to achieve.
Safer to Workers
There are many different ways that employees are exposed to metalworking fluids. Because cutting fluids are designed to stay on the tools being machined, workers must exercise safety and caution around them. They’re filled with a host of chemicals, some of which extended exposure can cause skin irritation or burns. When the are in the air such as with a misting system, they can also cause respiratory issues. Making sure your building’s exhaust is running in an optimal condition is extremely helpful.
It is best to test different options for your machines and see which your employee’s health respond best with. For instance, look for an advanced quality combination of mineral oils and additives like ExcelCut Machining and Grinding Oils.
Keeping your tramp oil clean is an important part of the coolant performance criteria process. Using tools like oil skimmers in your sump tanks greatly cuts down the build-up of unwanted oils and other materials.
When it comes time to completely refresh your coolant, a disposal program is another cost factor to endure. CNC coolant, no matter its quality or cost, will fail at some point. That point can be much sooner than expected if the coolant is not properly maintained. However, if taken care of properly, its longevity will increase and it will perform as it was intended.
Minimizing this process will save on time and money. It is also helpful for the environment. Maintaining your coolant through its lifecycle will extend the time between your disposal process.
Overall, preventing coolant from failing is critical to any plant’s operations and budget.
There are many specific factors to be evaluated with CNC coolant. Some are chemical, some are biological, some are mechanical. Each, however, is just as important as the other, since they all have a hand in affecting its overall performance, which in turn affects your machines, your tools, your parts, your workers, and your bottom line.
Need help in managing your CNC coolant performance?
See some of our solutions for fluid management.
Mysterious Slime Goos Up Coolant Mixing
Complexities of Mixing Coolant
Don of Abrasives and Tools of New Hampshire called because he was using one of our machinist’s mixers, and it was getting a 1/2 inch of concentrate slime all over it. The slime would build up and choke it off so it wouldn’t work.
They could scrape it all off, but it would appear again.
We told him as much as we could about it – galvanized steel stand pipe, stainless steel check valve, machined bronze casting head, etc.
One of the clues was that this unit had been hard-plumbed into their system. Normally this is a good thing, because it means that the mixer won’t move, and will get a good supply of high pressure water, necessary to drive the venturi mixing process.
We asked him to check for stray electrical currents transmitted through that pipe. This is because it is well known that in many plating processes an electrical current passed through a solution will cause the solution to separate.
It is normally a desirable thing, such as when we plate steel with nickel or zinc. By dissolving zinc into water, then putting a metal part inside the tank and passing a current through that part, the zinc leaves the water and ends up coating the part.
Perhaps the same thing was happening to Don.
He said he would check.
Two weeks later, Don leaves a message for us saying that sure enough, when the electricians checked the pipe, they found stray currents!
Seems that when they had wired another machine a while ago in the factory, they had accidentally also connected up some plumbing. This subsequently charged the pipes in the factory!
Needless to say, they corrected this problem so that the pipes are now properly grounded and protected from the electricity.
The mixer and the coolant concentrates are now working without incident, and we have another satisfied customer.
This is also another example of how the complexities of coolant maintenance often act as indicators of other problems within the factory.
Do you have a question about your CNC coolant operation?
We’re happy to chat because in the over 20 years we have been in business, we’ve seen it all!
Click here to contact us.