Metalworking Fluid Selection
(See Also "Selecting the Perfect Metalworking Fluid - by Jerry Byers [MFM])
Attached below is a protocol that serves the purpose of providing a base point of reason and logic for the decision-making process regarding testing and replacement of metalworking fluids in a manufacturing facility. Most individuals with this responsibility are besieged by workers and supervisors complaining about the coolant and wanting to replace it with the "Super Euro-Something" from the salesman who gave him the complicated pocket weapon.
Everybody has a solution, nobody has any facts, you have limited means of acquiring any facts, and:
WITHOUT A PROTOCOL, YOUR PROBLEMS WILL NEVER GO AWAY.
Carve it in stone. While only large manufacturing facilities will have laboratory testing capability, there are outside labs and magazines such as this one to help fill in. But don't underestimate the need for lab analysis. If you don't believe anything else you ever read in this EMag, you better believe this: You CANNOT intelligently select the best metalworking fluid by "trying it out on a machine". Forget about it. There are far too many variables between fluids, machines, and operations and you will be wasting time and money. You are not likely to learn anything, and anything you do learn will apply to that machine alone. Worse, you have established precedence on a procedure that doesn't work.
The Coolant salesman (see picture) will want you to do it this way. He will offer to watch the coolant during the test period, which guarantees the results will be screwed up from the beginning. First, he will clean out your machine with dental tools. Second, he will "keep an eye on it" by strapping a refractometer to his skull and smuggling miniature electronic monitoring equipment into your plant. Third, he will pay-off the machinist with a daily supply of sales aids so that he will smile and appear happy while frequently bragging about the product. Fourth, he will "drug" your machine with enough biocides, herbicides, and pesticides to sterilize both the machine and the operator.
Even if you decide that I might be exaggerating (and I am), and you're just a field test kinda guy, you will have established a destiny of repetition, where you are constantly asked to just..."try another one out on this other machine". There is always the shop Einstein that goes around saying "Just cause it werks in the lab don't mean it'll werk out here". Well Albert, odds are that as a matter of fact, it will.
It our opinion, field tests are necessary - but only after lab testing in the hierarchy of a proper protocol.
In upcoming issues, we will detail some low and medium budget lab testing that anybody can do to help bring sense to the nonsense of the metalworking fluid selection process.
If, on the other hand, the budget is no object, your boss has a pure science approach, and you have some serious lab time to kill, see the Literature section of this publication for some hard core options. If this is you, please write to us and tell us what planet you work on.
Model Metalworking Fluid Recommendation, Testing, and Selection Protocol
The purpose of this policy is to:
1. ensure the integrity of the MWF selection and testing process;
2. conserve resources required for testing and approval;
3. protect the health and safety of employees and the environment;
4. add stability to manufacturing and purchasing practices;
5. incorporate scientific procedures in the decision-making process;
6. make the best decision possible.
No new MWF will be "Approved for General Use" until an existing MWF is removed from service and from the Approved Chemical Database.
To qualify for testing, a request must originate from one of three Department Managers:
The requirement criteria that each manager uses should be individually associated with the expertise of the Manager.
Example recommended criteria:
1. Plant Manager / Manager of Manufacturing Engineering
There is substantial evidence that the recommended MWF may provide a significant improvement in performance [tool life, part quality, machinability, machine life, etc].
2. EHS Manager
There is substantial evidence that the recommended MWF is significantly safer for employees and/or the environment [misting, bacterial resistance, disposability, etc.].
3. Manager of Purchasing
There is substantial evidence that the recommended MWF will provide an equivalent performance and safety at a significantly reduced cost [MWF life cycle, disposal cost, recommended concentrations, purchase cost, etc.].
Department Managers should understand that the Substantial Evidence criteria is intended to limit testing to products for which there is a quantity of tangible, discernible evidence which demonstrates the potential of the MWF to produce the required "significant" results. Examples of such substantial evidence include:
Department Managers should understand that the Significant Results criteria is intended to limit testing to products for which there is substantial evidence available to demonstrate the potential of the MWF to produce results that are consequential, material, or significant in nature. Examples of such results include:
Laboratory testing should be required to distinguish the performance differences between metalworking fluids, particularly when an issue with the exsiting MWF has been indentified. Manufacturing employees are constantly tempted to test a new product on a machine. Quantification and qualification of performance differences in metalworking fluids cannot normally be accomplished on machines alone, as discernable by machine operators. There are simply too many variables in operation and environment. Controlled laboratory testing and respect for the scientific method can save tens of thousands of dollars. Laboratory testing can include many things, such as:
After successful laboratory testing, a proposed metalworking fluid should be tested in the manufacturing environment. This is necessary to qualify the performance of the metalworking fluid under application conditions.
Approval to add the new MWF to the Approved Chemical Database by all Responsible Parties: [EHS, Manufacturing, and Purchasing] and agreement as the the MWF to be removed from the Approved Chemical Database.