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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 really does seem more reasonable to treat your honing oil and other fluids as consumables rather than durables.  Just keep knocking out parts–even with a high scrap rate–because ‘Production is King’ and it costs too much to shut down that line. It can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour to idle a line. 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: First, there’s money flowing out of the back of the plant (in co-mingled waste oil and other industrial fluids).  On top of that, 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 oil at virgin spec without hurting production.

Degraded vs. Contaminated Honing Oil

Martin Rodriguezacosta points out that very little “bad” oil is actually 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 packages, and so on).  The oil is not degraded beyond production capability; it’s simply contaminated with micro-fines, particles, tramp water–all of which are decreasing its effectiveness and increasing wear on your tools.

“From our perspective, most of the time a fluid is not actually degraded; it’s just contaminated.  We 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.” These strategies might include centrifuges, heaters, vacuum dehydration, polish filtration, and more.

“We made our name with service,” Rodriguezacosta explains. “We are obsessed with keeping your metalworking fluids running smoothly and efficiently.  We investigate your operation, locate the contaminant, sample the system, then apply our vast industry knowledge to provide an unparalleled product and service offering.  This solution maintains the overall health and performance of your systems.”

Can the oil be cleaned like this forever?

No; it does eventually become legitimately degraded. Over time, heat, compression, and oxidation, and other forces conspire to strip vital elements from your oil’s chemistry.  After that, it won’t be able to perform its function.

However, with the right oil management system, you can ensure that every drop of your oil will continue to perform at its maximum potential for its entire lifecycle. Contact an oil purification expert today to begin maximizing the life of your fluids.