2017.04.27 Bacteria and endotoxines, Maintenance

Don’t let waste stop production

It was a mystery: despite good conditions for a functional metalworking fluid, it contained 10 million bacteria per ml. The problem was a bad habit.

At an earlier workplace, we conducted a long-term test in machines at major companies to evaluate a new process fluid. The tests went well except for one machine. Bacteria came back time after time, and only in this particular machine with good conditions. The bacteria level sometimes reached 10,000,000 bacteria per ml of cutting fluid! A benchmark for a healthy process fluid is maximum 1,000 bacteria per ml.

It turned out that the operator who handled the machine was a notorious spitter. He spat very, very often and he did it in the same place into the machine when the doors were opened. Once the problem had been identified, we could stop the spitting and the bacterial problems disappeared in this machine.

A living tool

Process fluid is the only tool in production that literally lives. It changes from the first day it mixes into the tank as it reacts with the air in the room and catchy pollutants. In most cases it contains some microorganisms which in moderate amounts are relatively harmless and do not harm either the fluid or humans.

We are all bacterial colonies

Sometimes we forget that we ourselves can be the cause of bacteria in the fluid. The human body contains 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells, and bacteria account for about 2 kg of our body weight.

The mucous membranes of the mouth and nose are the places where we carry most bacteria. A chewing gum can contain many billions of bacteria that will multiply and thrive if it’s thrown in the process fluid. Companies that have tightened the rules for throwing organic junk in the sumps, experience a greatly improved environment around the machines and better quality of the process fluid.

Bacteria impact on production

Here are some effects of bacteria in process fluid (read more in the blog post Bacterial outbreaks: Serious damage by bacteria in metalworking fluids):

  • Instability
  • PH reduction
  • Color change
  • Bad smell
  • Corrosion
  • Degraded function (lubrication)
  • Potential health risk
  • Lower filtering
  • Shabby in machine
  • Higher consumption of cutting fluid

Particularly vulnerable

Small sumps and sumps to single machines are extra sensitive to contaminants in the process fluid. We write more about how to best handle a small sump in our e-book.


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Hans Ahlgren
Hans Ahlgren

Hans introducerade processvätskerening inom Wallenius Water 2011 efter ett flertal lyckade fältinstallationer. Processvätskerening är idag ett av Wallenius Waters fokusområden. I dag arbetar Hans med strategisk partnerutveckling inom affärsområdet.

+46 8 120 138 37
Hans introduced process fluid purification within Wallenius Water in 2011 after several successful field installations. Today purification of process fluid is one of Wallenius Water's focus areas.

+46 8 120 138 37
Hans führte die Reinigung von Prozessflüssigkeit innerhalb Wallenius Water im Jahr 2011, nach mehreren erfolgreichen Feldinstallationen, ein. Heute ist die Reinigung von Prozessflüssigkeit eine der Schwerunkte von Wallenius Water.

+46 8 120 138 37


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