Why Use a Water-Soluble Fluid?
Cutting and grinding fluids help cool and lubricate machine tools and the parts they produce during the grinding process. The fluid also helps flush chips and swarf from the cut zone and provide corrosion protection for both machine tools and the work piece. Most importantly, metalworking fluids increase productivity, improve tool life, and reduce energy requirements.
There are three types of water-based cutting fluids:
Soluble oils – These oils provide good lubrication, tool/grind performance and are safe on all metals. They cool well and have good chip carrying capability. Plus, they are less expensive than neat (straight) oils while offering good rust protection. On the other hand, they can be dirty and less resistant to rancidity than other types of cutting fluids, particularly if you are not careful about maintaining your sump correctly through testing and adequate water quality.
Semi-synthetics – Approximately 10 – 50% oil blended with synthetic lubricants and other additives, semi-synthetic metalworking fluids provide good cooling, rust protection, and filtration. They are cleaner and more tolerant to tramp oil. Semi-synthetics can leave a tacky residue and offer only moderate rancidity resistance, however.
Synthetics – Containing no oil, synthetic cutting fluids offer excellent cleanliness, filtration, and cooling properties with no rancidity. Plus, they reject tramp oil, offer low foam properties and have a long sump life. Their low physical lubricity does not make them ideal for every application, but they are much easier to maintain that soluble oils and semi-synthetics.
The alternative to water-based metalworking fluids is neat cutting oil.
Neat cutting oils are generally blends of mineral oils and other additives. They are used without dilution and are applicable to a wide variety of manufacturing situations, from light machining to heavy-duty operations. They are excellent at reducing frictional heat, providing a good surface finish, and prolong the life of the machine tool. However, use of neat oils makes it harder to clean the workshop. Neat oil is a known fire hazard, and the aerosols produced during the machining process, known as oil smoke, can impact electronics, machinery, surfaces and human health negatively if temperatures become too high. Plus, neat oils might not cool as effectively as a water-soluble fluid.
Is a water-soluble fluid right for you?
The best way to determine which cutting fluid is right for your particular machining application is to take a fluid survey. By understanding the challenges you are facing with your current fluid, reviewing your sump maintenance and product mixing procedures, testing your water, and knowing your productivity goals, the experts at Benz can recommend the right product for your environment based on your needs, rather than trying to find an exact match for what you are currently using. The right fluid can help prevent many manufacturing challenges, increase productivity, and improve tool life. Let us help you find the right fluid for you.