What are cutting fluids? Playing a vital role in metalworking processes, cutting fluids serve the critical purposes of lubricating and cooling machinery and work surfaces. In fact, in the metal removal process, between four and 20 liters of fluids are used per minute. Let's explore what you need to know about cutting fluids so your machinery and metalworkers can perform optimally.
Properties of the Best Cutting Fluids
When it comes to metalworking and cutting fluids, it is essential the cutting fluids contain a few properties. First, they must be safe in that bacteria and fungi that naturally grow in cutting fluids don't affect either the machinery or the health of the metalworkers. Secondly, they must prevent the development of rust on machinery. Third, they must efficiently lubricate the machinery to reduce the chances of tip welding. Finally, the best cutting fluids will maintain an efficient and consistent temperature for the machinery.
Functions of Cutting Fluids
What are cutting fluids and their essential functions? The two critical functions of cutting fluids are proper lubrication and cooling. Cutting fluids must serve as a lubricant for metalwork because friction must be prevented when using machinery. Cutting fluids act as a lubricant by oiling the area between the chip and the tool's cutting edge.
Cooling the temperature of both the machinery and the work surface is the other essential function of cutting fluids. High temperatures can lead to ruined or burned metalwork, unsafe chemical reactions, and more. Therefore, the use of cutting fluids is essential to keeping the work surface and the machinery safe and at the proper temperature.
Types of Cutting Fluids
What are cutting fluids and the forms they can take? There are a few types of cutting fluids utilized in the metalworking industry. These include liquids, mists, pastes and gels, coolants, and gases. Liquid cutting fluids take three forms: synthetic, semi-synthetic, and mineral. Synthetic and semi-synthetic cutting fluids are a combination of oil and water, taking the best properties from each to create an ideal lubricant.
For drilling and tapping purposes, cutting fluids that take the form of gels or pastes is best. Coolants and gases such as liquid nitrogen are also utilized for cooling machinery, often when fluids cannot be used efficiently.
Staying Safe and Healthy While Using Cutting Fluids
In 2016, almost 2.5 million metric tons of metalworking fluids were sold throughout the world, according to a Future Market Insights report. With cutting fluids being heavily used in the metalworking industry, you may wonder, what are cutting fluids and the safety concerns they present?
Metalworkers must wear proper safety equipment while operating machinery so they don't breathe in unsafe chemicals. By avoiding external contact, fluid splatter, and directly breathing in mist-based cutting fluids, metalworkers can stay safe and perform optimally.
What are cutting fluids? The ideal cutting fluid will properly cool and lubricate machinery used in metalworking processes. By understanding the ideal properties, functions, and types of cutting fluids and how to keep both workers and machinery safe, your company can perform at its best.