Choosing the Right Coolant for your Industrial Metal Cutting Operation

September 15, 2014 / , , , , , , , ,

For many managers, metalworking fluids are just another line item on a long list of tooling expenses. Similarly, operators often see them as just one more box on their daily PM checklist. This type of mentality often leads manufacturers to question whether or not they really need coolants at all. Do they really offer a true ROI, or are coolants just another necessary evil?

As any metal-cutting expert can attest, metalworking fluids are a critical part of the metal-cutting process. This is especially true if your goal is optimization. As an article from Production Machining states, manufacturers should view coolants as an asset or, better yet, a “liquid tool.”

Here are just a few benefits metalworking fluids bring to the cutting process:

All of these bullet points boil down to two bottom-line implications—quality and cost. As this white paper explains, failure to maintain proper coolant levels can lead to decreased blade life and premature and uneven wear of band wheels. Both of these issues can lead to increased maintenance and tooling costs, unplanned downtime, poor quality, increased scrap and rework, missed delivery dates, unhappy customers, and so on.

In the metal-cutting world, there are several different methods for applying coolants, as well as different coolant types. Flood coolants are the most widely used because, in most cases, they provide the best lubrication and cooling for work pieces. There are also spray, wax stick, and drip applications, but for the purposes of this article, the focus will be on flood coolants.

There are four different types of flood coolants, each have their own unique set of uses, advantages, and disadvantages. Like any other metal-cutting tool, choosing the right coolant plays a key role in achieving efficiency. To help industrial metal-cutting organizations make the right choice for their cutting operations, the LENOX Institute of Technology (LIT) provides the following overview: