The importance of tramp oil management
Sustaining the caliber of coolant in a machine shop is essential yet frequently disregarded. Though we highlight the chemical and biological features of coolant, we overlook the mechanical element, which is equally crucial.
Mechanics, in this context, pertain to fluid circulation and the elimination of foreign particles such as tramp oils, emulsified oils, and particles resulting from machining, among others, that may accumulate in the sump.
Managing tramp oil is one of the most significant mechanical aspects of coolant maintenance.
This layer seals off the sump’s air supply and provides bacteria nutrients. By keeping oxygen from the coolant, anaerobic bacteria will thrive.
These types of bacteria are more dangerous to the chemical components of the coolant than any other type of contaminant. That’s because the oil acts as a food source. This allows them to combine and form a biofilm, resulting in a thin layer on the surface. Once created, these biofilms are difficult to remove, leading to complete coolant system contamination.
What can I do?
The best way to eliminate oil from surfaces is by using mechanical oil skimmers. These devices attach to the sump, collect the oil layer with a medium like a disk, tube, or belt, and then transfer it to a container.
Some of these devices have mini tanks or diverters to avoid wasting coolant, as they may contain mineral oil. For example, some skimmers manufactured by Zebra Skimmers allow for the mounting of a diverter to separate tramp oil from coolant and return clean coolant to the tank.
Another skimmer type, coalescers, can remove oil from the coolant by employing a collection device that transfers it to a separate tank or drum for separation. The coalescer is strongly suggested as it needs minimal upkeep, eliminates metal chips, and keeps the fluid moving freely. In addition, it is one of the few options available on the market for handling chips.
Utilizing mechanical skimmers to extract tramp oil helps to restore the sump’s air supply, preventing the growth of anaerobic bacteria. This also keeps the coolant clean, ensuring that your machine operates at optimal levels.
Next time you’re considering coolant maintenance, remember that managing tramp oil with mechanical skimmers is one of the most important aspects that keep the chemistry and biology in proper order.
About Zebra Skimmers:
Our mission has always been simple. It is to provide the metal working industry with the oil skimmers and metalworking fluid management systems they need to complete jobs quickly and efficiently. Innovative and affordable solutions have gained us many accolades. Our continued growth is due in no small part to our excellent customer service… Not to mention our satisfaction guarantees and the performance of our tools.
Among our diverse options of oil skimmers and metal working fluid management systems, you can expect to find:
- Coolant management equipment, which includes coolant mixers, proportioning pumps, and coolant automation systems to mix and deliver fluid solutions at the desired concentrations.
- Industrial oil skimmers, including tramp oil belt skimmers, disk skimmers, tube oil skimmers, and individual sump coalescers for the removal of surface and tramp oils from fluids.
- Aeration or circulation equipment and sump odor control tablets to control fluid odor and machine shop smell
- Industrial fluid monitoring equipment, including brix refractometers to verify fluid solution concentrations, pH test strips and water hardness testing sticks.