Cooling lubricant system

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When machining, the cooling lubricant emulsion fulfils two important functions in a machine tool: It cools the tool (drill, cutter) and supports the chip removal.

The system consists of the components

  • Chip conveyor
  • Chip filter
  • Tank/pump unit

Through evaporation at the tool, through the removal of chips with cooling lubricant on it, and through the carry-over of foreign oils, the level in the cooling lubricant tank and the operating concentration changes.

In larger metalworking companies, an employee is often engaged, full-time, with level control and refilling. In the scope of Industry 4.0, automatic measurement and documentation of the level brings several advantages. In addition to demand-based refilling, consumption is documented and changes (e.g. leaks) are detected. Through the workpiece machining, the cooling lubricant heats up. This heat must be removed through heat exchangers and the limit temperatures (manufacturer specifications) must be strictly observed. A simple limit switch can monitor the maximum temperature, or a resistance thermometer measures the temperature of the emulsion in the tank. Thus, demand-based cooling is possible, which leads to significant energy savings.

TRGS 611 prescribes regular monitoring and documentation of the cooling lubricant:

  • Regulations for the operating concentration, in practice, 4 … 8 % (hand-held refractometer)
  • Checking the pH value (pH test paper)
  • Determination of the nitrite content (test strips)
  • Determination of the temperature
  • Germ count (up to now, without limit or standard value)

The current standard is for on-site measurement and subsequently manual entry into a paper-based table. WIKA is working on an Industry 4.0 solution for the automatic documentation of these measured values. In addition to the removal of manual measurement, a more frequent measurement gives an early indication of any impending “tipping” of the cooling lubricant. It can then be averted and an exchange of the cooling lubricant can be avoided.