Emily Probst is the associate editor for Modern Machine Shop. She joined the staff in the summer of 2006 as the editorial intern editing product releases for the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). Hired full-time in 2007 after graduating with a B.S.J. from Ohio University, she edited product releases and columns until 2012, when she moved to her current role of writing and editing case studies for both print and online media channels. In this role, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world as well as visit some interesting shops and trade shows in the United States. She also administers Modern’s blog as well as its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
Minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) has great potential for assisting in machining a wide spectrum of materials. As manufacturers continuously seek to reduce manufacturing costs, waste and improve health and safety profiles, this technology can help in the drive to get there.
So says Optis, a joint venture between TechSolve and Castrol. According to Optis, flood coolant uses as much as 60,000 ml of fluid per hour, while MQL typically uses less than 500 ml per hour. This is due to the coating of the interface between the tool and the material being cut with a thin film of lubricant, preventing heat build-up caused by friction. This significantly reduces the amount of fluid that needs to be procured, maintained and disposed of, saving money, manpower, and health and safety issues associated with residual fluid and contaminated chips.
When properly applied, whether externally or through the tool, MQL can lead to improved surface finish and increased tool life. It also has a positive impact on emissions and waste, boosting a facility’s overall health, safety and environmental profile.
According to Optis, the cumulative cost of cutting fluid can total as much as 15 percent of a part’s total production cost. Therefore, minimizing its use has major cost-efficiency implications for manufacturers. Also, there are many routes to doing so with many cutting operations primed to benefit from MQL, including turning, milling, drilling, circular and band sawing, reaming, tapping, routing and broaching.
However, despite the opportunities and benefits MQL machining can offer, there are still challenges to overcome and some key considerations in implementation:
MQL does not have comparable chip evacuation abilities to those of wet machining.
MQL is still not well suited for deep-hole drilling, energy-intensive processes such as grinding, special operations like honing and small-hole drilling, or for difficult-to-machine materials such as titanium and nickel-based alloys.
MQL still produces a very fine mist, which can be more difficult to filter.
MQL implementation may require changes to the machine tool and processing strategy.
Despite these challenges, Optis says MQL provides a cleaner, greener alternative to classic fluid supply, on which could take manufacturers forward in embracing sustainability initiatives and implementing “Factory of the Future” capabilities. However, industry update has been relatively low so far. This reticence may be due to how counterintuitive it seems that using less fluid will yield the same cooling and lubricating properties as traditional flood or high-pressure systems. The fluid itself must be carefully selected based on the material that’s being cut, and its application must be carefully considered based on tooling , type of operation, cutting parameters and machine tool being used, the company says.
Read the June digital edition by clicking on the photo above.
By giving its personnel room to experiment, ADEX Machining’s R&D program has resulted in enhanced toolpath generation, cutting cycle times by boosting metal-removal rates on the order of 20 to 40 percent. Read the full story on page 76.
Also in this issue:
How a new twist on tombstone workholding enabled one shop’s HMC to perform 3+2 machining to reduce scrap while supporting higher-volume customer needs;
How reduced machine downtimes and higher throughput have laid to rest any initial reservation one shop had about ramping up on-machine probing technology;
How investing in a new HMC with a two-axis head and six-station pallet pool enabled a company to make telescopic boom components in one setup, lights-out.
Students at Northern Maine Community College's Precision Machining Program receive valuable real-world CNC experience and other manufacturing training.
Given the opportunity, manufacturers can greatly benefit from working with nearby community colleges. Companies both large and small can work closely with schools to determine the manufacturing industry’s foremost training needs and the schools can help recruit new talent. In addition, some schools, like Northern Maine Community College, produce lot sizes of 100 pieces or fewer for customers from all over the country; customers pay tooling, materials and shipping costs in return for labor at no charge. What benefits have you found working with community colleges?
Jerry Rex has been appointed COO of Methods Machine Tools Inc.
Methods Machine Tools, Inc.. (Sudbury, Massachusetts) has appointed Jerry Rex Chief Operating Officer of all Methods operations. Spanning 40 years, Mr. Rex’s manufacturing career began with a machinist position at GE Locomotive. He steadily rose from roles in engineering and applications to production, sales management and executive positions at manufacturers and machine tool organizations. Most recently he served as executive vice president of Concept Machine Tools (Minneapolis, Minnesota). Prior to Concept Machine Tools, Mr. Rex was President of Hegman Machinery LLC, a Morris Group Company from 2013 to 2015. For the 20 years prior, his roles included President of Morris South (Charlotte, North Carolina), Vice President of Gosiger Inc. (Dayton, Ohio) and Regional Manager of J&H Machine Tools (Richmond, Virginia). Mr. Rex also served as chairman of AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, where he continues to serve on the board of directors.