2020.10.21 Trends, Maintenance

Is your workshop still in the stone age?

The workshop where you work or have responsibility for have undergone huge improvements over the last 50 years. Just as society has as a whole. But the workshop is probably still in the stone age when it comes to one area in particular.

Cutting is by far the most common form of processing in the metalworking industry. The research and development within cutting technology has improved production security and metal cutting performance, thereby giving substantially improved quality and reduced processing time, interference and processing costs. Production efficiency has improved a hundredfold!

The evolution has led to the development of new CNC machines, that are often running completely unmanned with incredible cutting speeds and tool changes are done lightning fast. Everything is measured and registered down to the smallest detail to enable further optimisation and save milliseconds, all according to Industry 4.0. Well, this certainly looks good, one might think. And it does. But the truth in a lot of companies is much closer to the stone age if you study the production process a bit closer...

Does the stone age still reign in your workshop?

What I mean by the stone age is the time that staff spend on handling the coolant in the machines. Or the time that they DON’T spend on this so important but often forgotten production parameter.

The formulations of metalworking fluids have been modernised, presenting fewer health hazards and becoming more environmentally friendly, but at the same time becoming more sensitive and short lived with higher demands on maintenance. The fluid handling however, has not kept up with this development, looking basically the same as it did 50 years ago. Handling, measurement and documentation is mostly done manually and the control parameters are often roughly set. The methods used for control and measurement that everyone thinks work, doesn’t work in practice.

The result is that the major part of the time saved in seconds and milliseconds per part by the new fancy and expensive time saving machine is simply eaten up by in-effective fluid handling. For example, it takes 28 800 000 milliseconds to do a coolant change-out in the machine.

What do we often see in workshops where they think they have good control on the coolant?

What goes wrong?     



Varying coolant quality over time

Varying contamination levels,
temperature and volume in the tank

Scrap due to quality issues on produced components 

Wrong concentration in machines - Despite logs being filled in.

Logs are filled in only after concentration has been corrected. Measurement and adjustment is done too infrequently.

Problems with bacteria and change-outs 

Too low fluid level in tank

Fluid is not topped up often enough

Wrong temperature, foaming, varying contamination levels and in the long run: quality issues

Flooding when filling up water and concentrate manually

Human factor

Cost of sanitation, increase costs of chemicals

Filling up with water only when topping up

Human factor

Low concentration stresses the fluid and opens it up for microorganisms, corrosion and tool wear

Overdosing coolant concentrate

An attempt to compensate inadequate top-ups

High concentrate consumption, high costs and work environmental problems


Read more

We have developed a checklist where you can clearly see what works well in your workplace - and where there are gaps that must be addressed.

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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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