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A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Cutting Fluids

A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Cutting Fluids

Jan 18th 2021

When it comes to Castrol oil products for automobiles, there are simple and straightforward online tools to help vehicle owners, mechanics, and technicians choose the right fluids. In fact, according to a Jan. 11 press release, "Castrol has launched its new online Oil Selector tool to streamline the transition from search to purchase, making the whole process simpler, easier, and more effective."

The tool enables drivers or professionals to search by make and model or license plate number. The oil selector recommends the most appropriate oil, including synthetic oils, coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid.

Unfortunately, at this time, choosing the right cutting fluid is not nearly as simple. While a transparent and user-friendly online tool for selecting cutting fluids may be a reality in the future, for now the best way to narrow down the most effective and efficient cutting fluids is to review the guidelines below.

Start With The Basics: All About Fluid Classifications

You can begin narrowing it down by understanding the basic classifications for cutting fluids used in metalworking. These classifications include:

  • Semi-synthetic cutting fluids. "These consist of natural and synthetic emulsifiers, small oil droplets, and clear emulsions," Modern Application News (MAN) writes. Semi-synthetics promote stability and protect against corrosion. They may be used with metals and metal alloys with or without iron.
  • Synthetics. Synthetic cutting fluids do not contain oil. These fluids are best for ferrous materials, high-speed applications, and applications that may use hard water. Synthetics have an impressive shelf-life, although they may stain some metals and equipment.
  • Soluble oils. Soluble oils contain special emulsifiers that make it possible for oil to break down in water. These can generally be used in heavy-duty applications and applications using non-ferrous metals and materials.
  • Specialty fluids. These include cleaners, additives, and special lubricants. Unlike the first three, they are rarely used on their own. Instead, they are used in a mix or used before the cutting process begins.

Select Cutting Fluids By Tooling and Machine Type

The type of cutting fluid you use will depend on the machinery and specific tools in question. For example, light or low viscosity oils are best for deep-hole drilling, gun drills, and grinders. These fluids support high-pressure production and high cooling rates -- both necessary with this particular machinery. Screw machines require special fluids, like mixed or dual-purpose oils, to prevent and/or significantly limit cross-contamination.

Likewise, it is important to use the fluids that are most compatible with the tools you are using. Check to see if these tools have any special coatings, and research what fluids work best with each coating.

Understanding Waste, Disposal, and Recycling

"Every plant has specific chemical restrictions based upon wastewater disposal, corporate environmental policies, employee health and safety, end-user requirements, and other key concerns," Machinery Lubrication reveals. Review applicable company policies and local regulations prior to shelling out any considerable cash on metalworking fluid.

Your company's recycling protocols may heavily come into play as well. Depending on the fluid in question, some sites use filtration or coalescing methods to re-use certain types of cutting fluids. For example, with the right equipment, it is possible to recycle most types of coolant.

Selecting the best type of cutting fluid or metalworking fluid for your industrial application can be a complex process. Review the guidelines above to choose the fluid or fluids most appropriate for the task at hand.