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Near-dry approach cuts lube use 94%: switching lubricants and application systems has allowed a Georgia fabricator to reduce its process lubricant usage by about 94%.

Franklin Aluminum Company (Franklin, GA), among the world's largest vehicle roof rack manufacturers, switched to a near-dry lubricant approach for its drilling and punching of aluminum extrusions. For its customers, Franklin manufactures the rack completely, from extrusion through coating.

In the process flow, after extrusion, the aluminum is ready for forming and drilling. Franklin performs these operations on machines it refers to as tables. Because every roof rack is different, Franklin needs to design a dedicated table for each model, explains Mike Traylor, tool manager. Custom fabrication tooling is designed and developed in-house to customer specifications, advises Traylor. He notes that it takes about two months to build a new table for a specific model rack.

For punching and drilling operations, Franklin has gone to near-dry process lubrication. Over the last several years, the company has equipped its production tables with Accu-Lube[R] micro-lubrication systems and lubricants from ITW Fluid Products Group (Glenview, IL).



Installation of the new near-dry systems has resulted in significant improvement of housekeeping, extended tool life, and substantially reduced coolant use. Franklin has been using the ITW system for about three years.

"We always lubricated but not automatically," says Traylor. "We would depend on the operator. That's when we got in a lot of problems. They were hand-spraying and the lubricants would get on their clothes and their hands.

"We were overusing the old product and would be covering the floor and creating housekeeping problems. Today the floor is cleaner and safer," advises Traylor.


Accu-Lube[R] lubrication systems increase the tool life by at least three times, according to the tool manager.

The most significant saving, however, is in the amount of lubricant used. "For the entire plant as we run on average 20 machines per day ... we are now using 7,680 oz. of lubricant per year instead of 120,000 oz. per year," says Traylor.

Today, each table is setup with an individual dispenser that feeds between one and 14 dispensing nozzles. The dispensing units are installed by in-house personnel and require virtually no maintenance, according to the tool manager.

Accu-Lube[R] is a line of "natural-based lubricants" along with specially developed, patented micro-lubrication systems for near dry machining, according to the manufacturer. ITW Fluid Products Group or Circle 202 for more information
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Title Annotation:Coolants/Lubricants/Filters
Publication:Modern Applications News
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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