An Interesting Approach to Metal Cutting Fluid in the Modern Industry
Imagine walking into a factory that has machines clanking. Forget the modern factory. Picture a factory where metal is banging against metal. In such factories, the noise would be unbearable, the cost of maintenance would be high, and it would be difficult to find people to work in such a factory. These difficulties led to the invention of the metal cutting fluid. Through experimentation and some scientific research, F.W. Taylor realized that using water as a coolant in the metal cutting process came along with many benefits.For starters, it increased the lifespan of the metal cutting tools. The friction caused by the cutting action significantly lowered the lifespan of the metal cutting tools. However, he noticed that using water acted as a coolant in the cutting process.
Since this initial observation, there have been different developments in the cutting fluid industry. Most cutting fluids in the modern metal cutting industry are not only coolants, but they also act as lubricants in the metal cutting process. The intention is to speed up the metal cutting process while reducing friction.There are different types of metal cutting fluid. Broadly, we have water based fluids and neat (straight) fluids. Water based fluids involve the mixing of emulsions or chemical solutions in water for use in the cutting process.
Preferably, the mixing process should take place on site of the metal cutting process. For best result, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the mixing ratio. Neat fluids are oil based. They can either be mineral oils, composed oils, multiple use oils etc. Neat fluids are used in metal cutting operations that do not suit the use of water based fluid. For example, processes such as threading high alloy steel or tapping exclusively involve the use of neat fluids.Despite the benefits, metal cutting fluids have their disadvantages. These fluids are very expensive.
Some machine cutter manufacturers insist on the use of a specific type of metal cutting fluid. This is especially expensive considering the overreliance on metal cutting fluids of some machines. Moreover, some metal cutting fluids contain toxic chemicals that have negative health consequences for the factory workers involved in the cutting process. These chemicals also cause negative environmental effects after they are disposed of from factories. Some of these chemicals usually take years to degrade.
With such downsides, experts have developed new ways to make the metal cutting process more cost efficient and healthy. Some countries have passed laws restricting the use of metal cutting fluids. In an effort to go green, the metal cutting industry developed new ways of achieving the same results as the metal cutting fluid while keeping within more environmentally friendly regulations. However, while some companies welcome these changes, not all players are on board with these recommendations.
Some countries are yet to pass legislation on the regulations on the use of metal cutting fluid. This is despite studies supporting more regulation.There are now new environmentally friendly techniques adopted in the metal cutting industry. The most widely used green metal cutting techniques are dry cutting and cutting with a minimum quantity of fluid. Dry cutting, as the term suggests, involves cutting metal without using any cutting fluid. There are now specially designed metal cutters that are used in the dry cutting process. However, dry cutting may not work in older metal cutting machines.
While it may prevent environmental pollution, it may cause noise pollution. Thus, cutting with minimum fluid is the better option. There are now more efficient metal cutting fluids in the market for this process.Hence, while metal cutting fluid is necessary in the cutting process, there are concerns aboutits impact on the environment. It is worth experimenting with dry cutting or cutting with minimum metal fluid. There is a need for further research to develop efficient machines for dry cutting. More funding from governments and the private sector will speed up the possibility of developing more greener techniques in the metal cutting process. Such new developments hold the potential of lowering the costs involved in the metal cutting process. In the meantime, using metal cutting with a minimum quantity of fluid will work in most industries.
Author bio:The writer of article ,Fransic Belly, who has worked several years in many workshops. His experiences in metal cutting technologylead him an expert metal cutting technician. He wants to thanks Unist Australia for giving him tips about the article.