If you are in the business of manufacturing or metal forming, having the proper lubricants will prove essential. Having these lubricants will ensure the process not only goes smoothly but continues without loss of production or error. To make this a bit easier, here is a basic breakdown of cutting fluids and how to use them correctly.
What Are Cutting Fluids?
Metalworking and cutting fluids are applied when the cutting, or machining, is taking place. While they are sometimes referred to as a coolant, they technically aren't. Instead, they work to reduce heat by reducing friction. There are several functions of cutting fluid serves, with a couple of the most significant being:
- Maintain a stable temperature in both the workpiece and tool.
- Reduce overall friction while the metal or machinery is being utilized.
- Protect against rust
- Improve the surface finish of the piece.
- Wash away and remove any chips from the cutting zone
- Prevent BUEs (built-up edges)
All of these functions help to keep metal cool and adequately lubricated throughout the working process.
Applying Cutting Fluid
During the metalworking or manufacturing process, cutting fluid can be applied in a couple of different ways. These include:
- Flooding: This method, as the name suggests, involves the application of cutting fluid at a high volume (and usually in a liquid form).
- Jetting: Jet applications for cutting fluids can be in either liquid or gas form and can be applied at high pressure to the point where it is needed.
- Misting: The misting method utilizes cutting fluid mixed with a gas, after which it's applied as needed. This method combines both flooding and jetting application methods for a steady complete application.
Types of Cutting Fluid
When used in metalworking, cutting fluid can be found in three basic forms. These include mineral oils, mineral oils mixed with additives, and water-based lubricants.
When it comes to utilizing cutting fluids in metalworking and manufacturing, there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind when deciding on which fluid to invest in.
- Types of Metal: Specific types of metal can have specific requirements. Hard metals such as stainless steel require a higher level of performance from cutting fluids than softer metals such as aluminum and brass. For instance, specific metals may require a fluid that is additized to help with pressure and anti-welding, while others may require cutting fluid with specialized lubricity additives to better prevent friction and heat.
- Machine Specifics: The specific operations of your machine need to be considered as well. A higher operating speed can require higher cooling capabilities and oil with active sulfur and chlorine to help aid in friction reduction and overall protection. Knowing what you are running, and what your particular needs are, is one of the most important steps in finding the right oil for you.
- Tooling: Take a look at the types of tools you are using and note their specific coatings or abrasions. Some types of oil won’t work as required with specific coatings, while the wrong oil additives can cause issues with grinding and contribute to issues such as wheel grinding.
In 2016, it was estimated that the metalworking fluids market would reach $9.74 billion by 2020. However, the market was already valued at $10.75 billion in 2019 with a projected increase to $14.54 bilion by 2025. This boom means greater access to quality metalworking and cutting fluids for industries who need it.
If you are in the metalworking, machining, or manufacturing industries, there has never been a better time to find the cutting fluids that you need to optimize your business. If you have any questions, reach out to your supplier and see what they can do for your industry today.