As a distributor of industrial parts and supplies, you may be searching for a whole new line of products, or you might be doing your best to help a customer who needs a better metalworking fluid (MWF) for their machining operation. Whatever your reason, evaluating an MWF can be a complex task with a lot of moving parts.
The good news? You know the needs of your end users, and modern chemical engineering allows you tailor the product to those needs as never before. Plus, each “moving part” becomes an opportunity to better serve your customer.
Let’s review some facts about MWF use.
What Does the MWF Need to Do?
First, the basics: A properly formulated MWF will provide at least these benefits when your end customer grinds or cuts metals:
- Conduct heat away from the part and tool
- Reduce tool wear
- Wash away chips and swarf
- Prevent corrosion
- Improve surface finish and leave no sticky residues
- Increase productivity
All of the following qualities should be considered in light of how they support those basic tasks.
The Right Basic Type of MWF
Each MWF advantages and disadvantages; for example, straight oils have excellent lubricity and rust control, but can be a fire hazard and tend to mist heavily. But all MWFs will fall into one of the four following categories describing its basic makeup:
- Straight oils
- Soluble oils
When selecting the right MWF for your purposes, here are a few qualities you should be evaluating:
The Right Additives
Each metalworking fluid contains additives that help increase its effectiveness. One of the most significant benefits of the right additives is that they can sometimes make up for deficiencies in a fluid’s basic type. For example, soluble oils tend to be vulnerable to bacterial growth, but the right biocide additive can eliminate that problem.
Another role of additives is to give the MWF crucial capabilities it wouldn’t otherwise have. Some high-speed machining requires special extreme pressure additives to help deal with the immense pressures and temperatures involved.
After evaluating your customer’s situation and needs, you’ll know which basic type will best fit those needs and what additives might be required. That will be more than half the battle, but you still have an opportunity to recommend MWF that is even better for their situation or application.
The Right Engineering
Our goal is to bring customers value by ensuring they benefit from the latest chemical engineering. For example, the NuSol® line of semi-synthetics will give a shop higher lubricity and fewer residues than a soluble oil, but also deliver the biostability and ease of management seen in synthetics. One of the greatest advantages of the NuSol semi-synthetics is very low make-up rates compared to conventional semi-synthetics and soluble oils. Make sure that when you’re choosing a fluid to recommend, that you’re choosing from the most advanced technology, which will allow your customer to produce better products.
The Right Cost
More advanced MWF formulations provide better tool life and longer sump life. This gives you a great opportunity to discuss how better fluids can lower the total cost of doing business and improve their bottom line. At a minimum, a NuSol product or other advanced MWF will reduce rework, require less management, and reduce the occurrence of operator acceptance problems. That means a lower per-unit cost.
Choosing what fluids to carry and recommend is a crucial decision, and one you’ll revisit a number of times as manufacturing changes and chemical engineering advances. We hope you’ll look to Chemtool as a resource for the knowledge you need to provide your customers the best products for their needs.