Is Your "Bad" Oil Really Ready to Dump?
In many industrial manufacturing operations, contaminated or dirty oil has simply gone “Bad”–once you’re breaking tool heads or scraping too many parts, it’s time to dump the tank, recharge the system, and get back to work.
“It seems almost counter-intuitive,” explains Martin Rodriguezacosta, Regional Sales Manager for Trucent’s largest region, “but in most industrial manufacturing operations, it does seem more reasonable to treat your oil and other metalworking fluids as consumables rather than durables. Just keep producing parts–even with a high scrap rate–because ‘Production is King’ and the cost is too great to shut down the line. It can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to idle a line per hour. So, there’s a real incentive to recharge the system and get back to work as quickly as possible.”
But this is an expensive strategy: There’s money flowing out of the back of the plant (in co-mingled waste oil and other industrial fluids), and running contaminated fluid drastically reduces the life of conventional disposable filtration, tool life, part quality, and the environmental health of plant employees.
Fortunately, the right people with the right techniques and technologies can create an oil management system that keeps your system’s oil at virgin spec without negatively impacting production.
Degraded vs. Contaminated Oil
Martin Rodriguezacosta points out that very little “bad” oil is truly degraded beyond its useful industrial lifecycle. If you were to sample and test the fluid in a lab, you’d find that it still has all (or most) of the properties you need (in terms of lubricity, viscosity, additive package, and so on) for continued successful use. The oil is not degraded beyond its production capability, but it is contaminated with micro-fines, particles, tramp water, and other wear items–all of which decrease its effectiveness and increase wear on your production resources.
“From our perspective, most of the time a fluid is not degraded; it’s just contaminated. We at Trucent don’t want you to go and spend money on new virgin fluid when essentially what you already have is dirty virgin fluid in need of a little attention. There’s a certain ingression rate of contaminants–particulates, fines, and so on–that’s coming from the machining process and contaminating that oil. We have so many different strategies for staying ahead of that ingression rate without creating downtime or slowing down your production line.” Some of these strategies utilize centrifuges, heaters, vacuum dehydration, polish filtration, etc.
“We made our name with service,” Rodriguezacosta explains. “We investigate, locate the contaminant, sample the system, and make our recommendation. We apply our vast industry knowledge to provide our customers with an unparalleled product and service offering to maintain the overall health and performance of their systems. We are obsessed with keeping your metalworking fluid running smoothly and efficiently.”
Can the oil be cleaned like this forever?
No, it does eventually become legitimately degraded. Over time, heat, compression, and oxidation, and other forces cause the oil to lose vital elements of its chemistry that were put into the oil package, and it won’t be able to perform its function.
However, with the right oil management system, Trucent can help ensure that every drop of your oil will continue to perform at its maximum potential for its entire lifecycle.
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