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Metal Removal Fluid Management

July 01, 2012
Alan Eckard
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Managing MWF systems requires a multistage program which should be designed to work with the equipment, fluid and work pieces to optimize overall system performance and productivity.  Major objectives that should be part of the management program would include at least the following:

  • Extending the functional life of the MWF;
  • Monitoring fluid condition and trends to anticipate and avoid system failure or poor performance;
  • Identifying maintenance, mechanical and chemical improvements that can be made to the system to improve performance;
  • Using data and trends that are recorded to optimize overall system management procedures;
  • Communicating the data in an understandable format to all stake-holders so that effective action can be taken to manage the system.

A key factor in system management is reduction of and removal, if possible,  of contaminates that can enter which may include tramp oils, water borne minerals, debris and trash and metal fines.  Certain contaminants, particularly water minerals and biomass from uncontrolled microbial growth are virtually impossible to remove and will permanently degrade fluid performance if allowed to accumulate.

The critical tool in managing a fluid system is development of a condition monitoring system which provides sufficient data in a form that allows personnel responsible for managing the system the tools to correctly make adjustments to maintain control of the system condition.  The key aspects can be summarized as:  sufficient data, relevant data and data presented in a way to allow prediction of trends and interpretation of what actions are needed. The two charts below illustrate differences in presentation which can make prediction of trends and effect much easier as in the right chart.

The final key aspect of MWF management is to use the control system, the relevant and complete data and the data presentation format to communicate the trends and system condition to staff who can act on the information to maintain the system.  Comprehensive lines of communication should be in place to insure that maintenance staff, engineering and tooling personnel and very importantly, the operators of the metalworking machines and their supervisors understand the condition of the system, the steps being taken to control it and what all members of the metalworking team can contribute to helping to operate MWF systems in a cost effective and safe manner.

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