Companies who are involved in chip removal processes are every day in
contact with Metalworking Fluids (MWF): these ones have the task of reducing the temperature in the cutting area. Heat is reduced with a lubricant action, which decreases friction between tool and workpiece, and with a cooling action, removing heat generated during processing. The MWF – and its quality – may seem to be a simple commodity, of which, if possible, one avoids the purchase, or reduces its price as much as possible. Moreover, looking at the figures, the percentage of direct costs attributable to the production of a MWF varies between 0.2 and 0.5. In absolute value, this may seem to be an almost negligible value, but it is easy to note that the qualitative elements of the MWF, or its mismanagement, affect many aspects of processing, primarily tool wear, with a factor of 1 to 10. As a matter of fact, the direct costs of the tools, the consumption of which directly affects the MWF, ranges from 3% to 6%. Poor MWF also affect the quality of the workpieces, the machine tools wear, maintenance and waste oils disposal. MWF should therefore be considered in all respects as strategic elements in the processing economy. Data show that this expendable item with so little significant cost incidence affects up to 25-30% total cost of the entire production process.
A continuous innovative process
From this evidence, Reys, a company based in Arcore (MB) and operating in the field of chemical auxiliaries for production, has studied and now offers a range of specific and innovative MWF in the processing of metallic materials. The real question is: given that the sheer purchasing cost for a coolant varies between 0.2-0.6 % of total production leaving expenses, what is the true weight of the emulsion on the economy of mechanical processes in a company? The evaluation should include the increased wear of tools and machines, the resulting downtime, the higher fees in tooling and spare parts, lower quality of the product and the reduced repeatability of processing cycles, as well as environmental and safety issues. At this point, the purchase and management of the MWF ceases to be a commodity. It becomes a matter that involves the whole management of the plant, with the need for a constant and careful control of costs. To meet these needs, REYS has focused on innovation of both product and process. This is how today the Arcore-based company can propose mineral oil-free products, formed only by soluble synthetic fluids, with proper additives; from Series REYS IDRO BM, consisting up to 80% of performance components able to guarantee stability and durability with simultaneous elimination of oil mists and bad smells.
Users do not have evidence of the operational and competitive advantages that result from soluble fluids. Yet the evolution of the formula made by the REYS R&D laboratory should be considered a real revolution in the field of MWF. The paradigmatic jump offered by REYS goes towards the total solubility of metalworking fluids, while to- date products on the market are water emulsifiable fluids. They require special substances (emulsifiers) capable of binding the mineral components of the formulations to water supplied by the customers, in order to obtain stable emulsions over time. Their stability is strongly influenced by water parameters. Typically, in the CNC machine tanks , there is a progressive increase of salinity, with a consequent reduction of organic molecules solubility. The emulsifiers (which are organic molecules), given certain salt concentrations, become no more effective and hence the breaking of the emulsion. The ineffectiveness of the coolant brings to a forced tank exchange, with all the attendant costs in terms of product, labor hours, machine downtime and waste-water disposal. Speaking of soluble products, such as REYS does for few years, means to speak of the most efficient products, with longer intervals for tank exchange, higher stability and lubricating properties.
Emulsions are an ideal crop field for fungi and bacteria: the development of these organisms in the emulsion tank can generate bad smells and masses of organic substances that are harmful to the proper functioning of pumps and filters. For this reason, REYS has focused on solutions able to control the proliferation of microorganisms, without adopting substances that could be harmful for the operators health. REYS solution to these demands consists of substances that, without deleting all bacterial colonies, limit their proliferation, keeping them below the levels which might generate the above-described problems. Moreover, REYS formulations strictly avoid the use of substances, such as formaldehyde, harmful to human health. As for working environments, the use of soluble synthetic fluids in the IDRO-BM REYS range has allowed eliminating other problems such as the formation of fumes and oil mists, which have a high impact on the security of work environments. At the same time it allowed eliminating the smell of mineral oil, typical of companies of chip removal machining, to the great satisfaction of the operators working with CNC and machine tools.
Besides the product, the service
For optimal performance, it is not enough to study product formulation, in fact also a precise emulsion control is required: a service that REYS offers to all its customers. The method for emulsions managing, developed by REYS and applied since the 2000s, allows intervening and controlling emulsions by changing the formula in use, and fill up on the degraded components without imposing any downtime. Furthermore, thanks to REYS service, it is possible to restore and maintain optimal state of the emulsion in use, ensuring performance parameters typical of fresh emulsion and maximizing their lifetime, far beyond usual operational standards.
REYS research for MWF has provided an added value for its customers, as for their income: maximizing the profit margin of the coolant productive factor. This can be declined in many ways, such as compliance with specific production techniques (all parts are within tolerance), increase in productivity and in lead- time reduction, thanks to the increase of processing parameters. Also reduction of downtime thanks to the emulsions constant control; ability, typical of REYS, to optimize the phases following chip removal (in the operational steps of degreasing- washing-protection-surface treatment). This is what they teach in REYS: controlling and maximizing the contribution margin. A whole new way to manage and optimize the Metalworking Fluids, which implies the full satisfaction of several customers, including some big players in the mechanical technology.