21 November 2011
Workshop dust and mist problems cleaned up by ACS
Whitehill Spindle Tools has cured dust and coolant mist problems, with the help of Air Cleaning Systems ACS). Machinery reports
Whitehill Spindle Tools has most recently added an ACS OMF1000 unit to a Doosan Puma MX2100ST mill/turn centre, in February last year, but the company, a manufacturer of tooling for the woodworking and plastics industries, taking in HSS and carbide knives and their holders, now has long experience in the use and benefits of ACS systems.
Whitehall SpindleTools' products
With a machine shop densely populated with machine tools; dust and fume extraction equipment was a necessity to protect the health of the shopfloor staff. As Whitehill Spindle Tools' managing director David Hudson recalls: "Back in 2004, we were getting dust from our belt linisher that was in constant use. We needed a solution and when I reviewed the market, ACS delivered the best fit solution with a downdraught bench and a bespoke guarding system. Another attraction for me was the selection of a British manufacturer with a UK support network."
Following this success, company installed an ACS AC1 dust extraction unit on its Jones & Shipman manual surface grinding machine to eradicate an escalating dust problem while polishing blades.
With the move to new, enlarged premises in 2008, expansion brought with it the demand for additional machine tools, but with each machine came an extraction unit. "We had an issue with airborne particulate at our previous facility. Moving to a new factory, I was intent upon maintaining a clean and healthy working environment as well as a clean shop floor that portrays an excellent company image," continues Mr Hudson.
The company expanded further, installing a Mazak Variaxis 500-5X 5-axis vertical machining centre. However, coolant mist and hot fumes generated from high speed machining prevented the operator opening the doors to the work envelope. The solution here was an ACS OMF2500 free-standing media filtration unit with individual enclosed filters to serve each machine.
"With the OMF, we managed to resolve the issue on three machines by linking the OMF2500 to the Variaxis, as well as the two Cincinnati Arrows machining centres alongside," says Mr Hudson. "The OMF had an immediate impact on productivity by enabling operators to access the work envelope as soon as a part is machined. Minutes in lost production could be reclaimed on three machines, not just one. Besides reclaiming lost production times, our new machine shop has remained remarkably clean by resolving the particulate issue on three machines."
This success saw a smaller OMF1000 filtration unit attached to a Cincinnati Hawk turning centre. As Mr Hudson states: "The free-standing unit is designed for direct attachment to most machines and machining centres, so implementing the easy-to-fit system on the Hawk was a no brainer."
The ACS OMF2500 attached to three machines
Whitehill then fitted a 1700dpv electrostatic air cleaner to its Schneeberger Sirius grinding centre. Used for the profile grinding of up to 200 cutting knives a day, the Schneeberger has a high powered pump that sprays neat oil on the machining envelope. The high pressure pump previously caused a visibility and productivity issue with machine access; it also lost a considerable amount of oil into the atmosphere. When this oil escaped from the machine, it left a film on everything in close proximity.
The introduction of the 1700dpv has not only cleaned up the immediate work environment, it has reduced machine downtime and enabled the machine to maintain its oil levels without allowing the costly oil to become airborne in the workshop.
In February 2010, Doosan Puma MX2100ST mill/turn centre was installed for machining cutter bodies and fitted with an OMF1000.
As Mr Hudson concludes: "We are extremely pleased with the ACS systems in place. The company has a solution to fit any machine tool we buy. Each unit is easy to install, easy to maintain and above all, they have improved our immediate working environment measurably. The service and back-up is second to none and when our next Schneeberger machine tool arrives soon, we will be acquiring another acs 1700dpv air cleaning system."
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