Coolant (or cutting fluid) has become somewhat of an unsung hero in the machining process. About 20 years ago, coolant only accounted for 3% of the cost of production. Today, manufacturers are taking it for granted even though costs now account for more than 15% of production (Astakhov 4). When there’s a machining issue, you might turn to tool degradation or other machine-related issues before finding fault with the coolant. This is a friendly reminder — maybe it’s time to reexamine the importance of coolant.
What Does Coolant Do for You?
It may seem basic, but let’s take a moment to remember where coolant or cutting fluid actually fits into the big picture of the machining process. Traditionally, coolant has served four key purposes according to Manufacturing Engineering magazine:
At low speeds, coolant fluid lubricates the cutting process for smooth operation.
During high speed processes, the fluid cools the environment for continuous operation.
The fluid is used to flush chips and metal shards out of the cutting environment.
Lubricating and cooling the production environment cuts down on corrosion.
These functions are all essential to efficient machining processes, but it’s easy to let coolant get lost in the mix when trying to improve throughput. Extending tool life and ensuring a high quality surface have been long-time benefits of proper coolant use. In addition, many different types of cutting fluids are currently available for a range of machining applications and materials, so now your coolant is a more important factor than ever.
Coolant Going Beyond Traditional Functions
If you’re like most CNC machine shops, you’re always looking for ways to increase throughput without sacrificing quality. With the advent of coolant-driven high-speed spindle technology, you can take advantage of your coolant investment by using it to drive higher RPMs for small tool applications.
While standard machine methods can reach speeds of 10,000 RPMs, coolant-driven spindles can achieve high quality surfaces at speeds of up to 50,000 RPMs. If you need to meet large production orders in a timely manner, turning to a cost-efficient coolant driven high-speed spindle solution can really help speed up the process.
Don’t lose sight of the importance of your coolant. It’s not as cheap as it used to be. However, now you stand to gain more from it with a coolant-driven spindle speed increaser solution like Colibri’s SPINJET/Typhoon.
Have you lost sight of the importance of coolant in the past? Leave a comment below and let us know how you’re taking care of your coolant investment.
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