Sub-contractor Express Engineering has discovered that there is a price not worth paying when it comes to coolant – and it is not talking about the cost of the product.
Dave Fullen, the company's machine shop manager, takes up the story: "We moved from Rocol's products (0113 232 2600) to a competitor supplier, as this product was about 50 per cent of the price of Rocol, and, considering we have 25 CNC machines, this equated to a massive saving. However, we quickly began to experience major problems. Sump life on some machines was down to two weeks and the smell emanating from the machines was terrible. The competitor product was cheaper to buy, but by the time we calculated out the cost of the lost production time, the time to clean the machines out and the disposal costs, we were much worse off. It really was false economy!"
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An engineer from Rocol went back into Express Engineering and began to look after two of the worst running machines with products from the TRI-Logic range, and very soon the products were systematically rolled out to all the machines.
Bacteria and fungi are the enemy of metalworking fluids and cause many of the problems experienced by Express Engineering. Rocol's TRI-Logic system of cutting fluid and slideway lubricant work together to maximise fluid life and performance.
All Rocol's TRI-Logic metalworking fluids have been formulated to resist degradation in the sump. Depending on the machine itself, Express Engineering's machines are filled with either TRI-Logic ML maximum life cutting fluid or TRI-Logic EP maximum life extreme pressure cutting fluid.
The second stage of Express Engineering's system is TRI-Logic VG68 slideway lubricant or the TRI-Logic HO32 hydraulic oil for machine tools. Both products incorporate special additives that prevent the oil being degraded by bacteria and fungi when they drain into the cutting fluid.
"While the investment with Rocol is higher, our return is much greater," highlights Mr Fullen. "Sump life is now in excess of six months, and we have eliminated machine downtime for the cleaning and maintenance of the machines, which we experienced with the other products. Smells have been eliminated and our disposal costs have been reduced significantly."
In addition, Express Engineering took advantage of Rocol's Ultracare programme. This sees Rocol work in partnership with its customers to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Customers on the Ultracare programme receive regular visits from a ROCOL service engineer who monitors the condition of the fluid. In addition, operator training in best practice of metalworking management is offered, and a metalworking fluid folder is provided to record full details of fluid checks and action taken. ROCOL says it is possible for users to save up to 40 per cent in metalworking fluid spend from a reduction in fluid usage, tool wear, downtime, labour costs and disposal, with this approach.
At 21-employee sub-contractor VRS, coolant, in the form of fumes, was the issue. The company installed two Matsuura VMCs in 2008 – a 800VG11 and a 1000VG and was advised by Matsuura (01530 511400) to invest in filtration systems for the machines, suggesting Air Cleaning Systems (ACS) as the supplier (029 2077 6100).
VRS production manager Rod Bradley comments: "The machines fitted straight into our production operation and made an impact. However, it was the filtration systems that made the impact with our staff. As any machinist working on a modern CNC will find, with ever increasing speeds and feeds, combined with through or high pressure coolant, the machine has to be left a minute or two for the fumes to settle before removing the part from the work envelope. The ACS systems immediately changed this."
Following this success, Mr Bradley says that the company has taken steps to put the ACS filtration systems on every CNC machine in the factory. "The components and the tooling coming off the machines now have no oil film that can be detrimental to following processes. Added to this, we have no sticky oil film on the machines, floor, tools or anything else you may find in a busy workshop. It also gives a better impression when showing customers around a clean and odour-free machine shop."
An additional system was installed in April 2008, on its Mori Seiki ZL15SM turning centre, with two further Mori Seiki turning centres having the systems fitted a month later. The company's series of new Doosan Puma and Lynx machine tools soon followed, with two Pumas fitted in May, and a Puma and Lynx fitted with the system in June 2008.
With the second installation phase completed, VRS embarked on phase three in January 2009 with a further Matsuura machining centre and Puma (Mills CNC – 01926 736736) and Mori Seiki turning centres (0844 800 7650), also having the OMF1000 fitted. With a total of 12 systems installed and another three systems to be fitted on its larger CNC machine tools, VRS is close to completing the plant-wide installation of the media filtration units.
First published in Machinery September 2009