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Oil skimmer extends coolant life/reuse.

Any problem affecting the Ingersoll Master Center in the Bobst Group's Roseland, NJ, machine shop can affect the productivity of the entire plant. The Master Center machines large components requiring extensive chip removal for the Group's line of paper packaging equipment. Its coolant requirements are large as well. According to Kit Pain, maintenance section manager, the machine relies on an 800-gal coolant sump. When the machine was installed, the initial charge of coolant lasted several months. Thereafter, a charge would last no longer than two months - the coolant started to deteriorate and became gummy, says Mr Pain. The machine began snapping taps at a high rate. The taps were especially vulnerable because the tapping operation requires the coolant to lubricate the tool in addition to dissipating heat.

The first attempt to solve the problem was to replace the coolant, but the downtime (one full day) and replacement and disposal costs were expensive. The Bobst Group then tried using a shop vacuum to suction the layer of oil off the coolant. "We were still using a lot of coolant because you wind up taking out a lot of coolant along with the oil," says Mr Pain. He then installed a Tote-It portable oil skimmer from Abanaki Corp, Chagrin Falls, OH. The skimmer's belt operates on a motor and pulley system attached to a stabilizer bar that is immersed in the coolant.

The Tote-It makes use of the differences in specific gravity and surface tension between the coolant and the oil. These differences allow the belt to attract oil from the surface of the coolant. After traveling over the head pulley, the belt passes through tandem wiper blades which scrape oil off both sides of the belt. The oil is then discharged through a 1 1/4[inches] ID hose into the concentrator which utilizes gravity to separate the oil from the small amount of coolant that is picked up in the skimming process. The concentrator ensures nearly complete oil/water separation, allowing the coolant to be returned to the system.

Since installing the skimmer and making other improvements to the system, Mr Pain reports that a coolant charge lasts at least six months. Coolant replacement and downtime have been reduced as has the cost of replacing taps.

For more information from Abanaki Corp, Chagrin Falls, OH.
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Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Nov 1, 1997
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