by Kip Hanson
High pressure cutting fluid applied in precisely the right spot provides considerable benefits during turning, milling and drilling operations. Those benefits begin to fade, though, when coolant is dirty, improperly mixed, or ill-maintained. Dean Richmond, a global aerospace sales manager for cutting fluid and lubricant provider Master Fluid Solutions Corp., is someone who knows all about it.
“If you start with a good coolant and do three simple things, 99 per cent of your cutting fluid-related problems go away,” he says. “First off, when you clean your sump, do it right. Use a good machine cleaner. Rinse it well. And make sure you get into every area, getting all that muck and bacteria out of there. If you don’t, you’re just going to cross-contaminate your new coolant.”
second step, he adds, is to keep your concentration in line. For general-purpose machining, eight per cent is about right, but this can vary depending on the application and type of product used. Long story short, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and check the concentration regularly. Finally, and it should go without saying, is to keep stuff out of the coolant that doesn’t belong in the coolant.
“I’ve seen people dump their mop buckets in the sump because they didn’t want to walk over to the sink,” he says. “Then there are the tramp oils and hydraulic fluids that get in there, so if you don’t have a skimmer on the machine, you’re already asking for trouble. So between those three things—regular sump cleanings, keep your concentration right and your contamination levels low—you’ll have virtually no problems with your cutting fluids, and better success machining as a result.” SMT