Coolant Refresher Helps Precision Machine Shop Reduce Cleanup Costs And Enhance

For this Cleveland-based shop, proper disposal of their coolant was proving to be an even bigger issue than shortened coolant life.

Case Study From: 11/1/2003 Modern Machine Shop

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Gary Ott

Gary Ott, plant manager at Hahn Manufacturing Company, examines the coolant maintenance system that the company recently purchased.

In business since 1917, family-owned Hahn Manufacturing Company (Cleveland, Ohio) supplies precision prototype and production-machined parts for OEMs across the country. Its main facility in Cleveland handles large precision-machined components for different industries, including power generation, power transmission, steel foundries and mining. A separate facility in nearby Newbury, Ohio, is committed to precision machining of the smaller components.

When the Newbury facility began experiencing leakage of tramp oil into its coolant, the company quickly began searching for a solution. In addition to the unpleasant odor that oil-laden coolant produces, the cause of the problem—anaerobic bacteria that forms in the tank—can compromise the work environment. The resulting contaminated coolant can begin to smoke when it comes in contact with the heat from a cutting tool in operation. Moreover, as Hahn Manufacturing plant manager Gary Ott points out, maintenance and disposal costs also can be of great concern.

“We were looking at changing the coolant every 6 months or so, which, in a 50-gallon tank of metalworking fluid, can become very costly very fast,” Mr. Ott says.

Proper disposal of the coolant was proving to be an even bigger issue than shortened coolant life. “Disposal expenses were becoming even greater than the cost of replacing the tank with entirely new fluid,” Mr. Ott acknowledges.

The company turned to Abanaki Corporation for an effective method to reduce these costs. Abanaki has a history of handling oil contaminants, both in the manufacturing industry in general and at Hahn Manufacturing specifically.

According to Mr. Ott, Hahn Manufacturing had purchased a Mighty Mini oil skimmer from Abanaki for one of Hahn’s production lines a few years ago. When approached about the current contaminant problem, Abanaki suggested one of its latest innovations, the Coolescer.

“We were very happy with the performance of the Mighty Mini, but the Coolescer works even better in this particular situation,” Mr. Ott says.

The Coolescer was developed specifically for ergonomic and efficient operation in machine shops, even those with particularly harsh applications—an attribute to which Mr. Ott can attest. “We really put it to the test, with a first run on a particularly tough application that yielded a lot of sediment,” he says. “The Coolescer worked great and ensured the tramp oil was separated from the coolant with no hassle.”

The relatively compact, self-contained system mounts right to the tank. Oil-laden coolant is pumped into a main containment drum, where oxygen is introduced via an aeration pump. The mixture is then pumped through a coalescing cartridge to separate the oil from the coolant.

The separated oil remains at the surface of the drum and is removed through a special oil discharge valve while the cleaned coolant is pumped back to the coolant sump through a separate discharge port.

The unit is designed to extend coolant life, reduce disposal costs, eliminate downtime and improve tool life. Because the system is self-contained and requires no worker interaction, the Coolescer also helps prevent such worker-related problems as dermatitis. Hahn Manufacturing already has seen most of these benefits, experiencing significant savings in recycling and disposal as well as an extended time frame for changing the coolant. “The Coolescer has already paid for itself,” Mr. Ott says.

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