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Coolant reclamation saves liquid assets.

It's not surprising that, as environmental regulations continue to tighten, more and more companies are reclaiming and reusing or recycling metalworking fluids. What may be more surprising is that recycling is proving to be an effective way to cut costs.

One plant that managed to do just that is Dana Corp Spicer Heavy Axle Div, Morganton, NC. In the mid-1980s, the plant replaced its oil emulsion cutting fluids with synthetics. Costs improved, but the instability of the synthetic product required the addition of biocides to keep bacteria in check. With the biocide additions, the fluid no longer complied with local standards. Sump life and tool life decreased while the incidence of dermatitis among the workforce jumped.

Dana plant manager Chuck Jordan went looking for an alternative and found Blaser Universal 2000 from Blaser Swisslube Inc, Goshen, NY. The water-soluble fluid is designed to maintain bacteriological, chemical, and physical stability without biocides, corrosion inhibitors, or other additives. Tramp oil is rejected for easy removal by skimming.

After testing on selected operations, Mr Jordan opted to use the product throughout the plant, including two transfer lines that use a central coolant system totaling 24,000 gal. The coolant in this system is now four years old, with only make-up fluid added.

Individual machines are supplied through a plant-wide distribution system providing a mixture of recycled and new fluids. Sumps are pumped on a regular basis, and coolant is returned to a processing area where the fluid is filtered and decanted. Tramp oils and swarf are removed by skimming.

The result has been a sharp decrease in coolant management costs from $436,000 in 1984 to $237,000 in 1990. Liquid disposal costs plummeted from $160,000 to less than $8000 in the same time period. These reductions occurred at a time when the Dana plant was undergoing expansion, and coolant capacity in the plant actually increased from 15,000 gal in 1984 to 41,000 gal in 1990.

For more information from Blaser Swisslube Inc, Goshen, NY, circle 340.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Manufacturing Solutions; Dana Corp. Spicer Heavy Axle Division recycles metalworking fluids
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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