Metalworking, or metal machining, is a tough job. As well as having the required skills to fulfil the demands of the role, you need to work with the appropriate resources. Here Gareth Mason, [Commercial & Internal Sales Manager] at Univar Speciality Consumables, discusses why using the right metalworking fluids (MWFs) is absolutely vital in metalworking.
MWFs are neat oils or water-based fluids used during the machining and shaping of metals to provide lubrication and cooling. Often, they are referred to as cutting fluids or coolants because they’re typically used by specialist manufacturing employees or engineers in metal machining processes such as cutting, forming or grinding. Metalworking fluids are a necessity in most metal machining applications, as otherwise the friction imparted during the process could damage components, machinery and result in poor performance.
The use of a suitable metalworking fluid combined with a consistently robust maintenance regime can present a wide range of benefits, ranging from increased productivity and a better operator experience to greater sustainability and, critically, less downtime. The fluids required in metalworking or metal machining must function under extreme conditions – they play a vital role in producing the best quality finish possible in the shortest amount of time.
Other than performance issues, another big consideration when choosing the right fluids for metalworking manufacturing comes from a health and safety perspective. This mostly concerns the use of biocide additives in fluid formations; a manufacturer’s objective is to reduce the use of biocides whilst still achieving a high performance and a quality finish. More stringent controls of biocide use have resulted in a move away from traditional biocides in favour of more ‘biostable’ products, that do not pose as much risk to employee health or the wider environment.
The cost of using the wrong fluid is high. Poor quality metalworking fluids can have an impact on every aspect of production, from speed and quality to downtime, efficiency and sustainability. As well as using the right kind of MWFs, their regular maintenance in use is as equally as important to ensure maximum performance and reliability.
Ultimately, you need a dependable fluid that has consistent, stable characteristics and ingredients so that you can meet the requirements of the job and produce the desired effect time and time again. It’s about matching the right fluids to the right metalworking process which, in turn, will help you to work more speedily, generating a greater output and reducing inefficiencies without compromising on quality.
This is why we have strong, well-established partnerships with some of the leading brands in the metalworking fluids space, such as Castrol. Castrol has many years of experience and expertise in MWFs; the brand has conducted in depth research across the industrial sector to develop the best type of fluids for metalworking, with optimum performance and safety in mind. Castrol’s products such as the Castrol Alusol XBB and Castrol Hysol XBB fluids use a dual-action chemical buffer that resists changes in pH. The result is better and longer-lasting machining performance, maintaining quality without compromising on safety, cost and productivity.
In conclusion, it’s imperative to do your research and use the right MWFs – choose wisely and they can help you meet today’s metalworking challenges and provide that holy grail of dependable and stable performance in a safe environment.
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