What was the situation? (Market Segment, Application, Machine/Equipment, Materials, Tooling, Filtration, Services etc.)
A small to medium size engineering company in the North East of England is manufacturing component parts for the Aerospace, Telecommunications, Medical and other market sectors where they have a range of CNC Machining Centres, Turning Centres and Sliding Head Machines machining a wide range of materials from Aluminium to Exotic.
The customer was using a local supplier for all their Water Based Coolant requirements which is fed through a distribution system mixed by a Dosatron unit using town’s main water which is particularly soft i.e. 30 ppm CaCO3. As part of the service the supplier was providing a degree of coolant management with periodic sample analysis.
What was the problem? (Explain the problem and where possible the process in determining the root cause to the problem)
In January 2013 our Area Sales Manager was provided the opportunity to review and audit the applications to determine if improvements could be made to the customer’s current operation. Upon investigation of the coolant sumps it was evident that there was ‘heavy’ fungal contamination within the coolant sump and indeed within the machine including coolant nozzles, door brushes and under the pallet and particularly in the former could cause interrupted coolant supply causing poor tool life and effecting geometrical accuracy of the machined part.
It was of a major surprise that the condition monitoring reports from the supplier were not showing any signs of contamination despite masses being dislodged and floating in the coolant tanks. Indeed on further investigation it was determined that most machines were infected and it is well known that fungal infection with any degree of ‘viable mass’ is extremely difficult to remove usually propagating in areas above the fluid level and in warm, moist conditions where all effected surfaces has to be stripped and sterilised to prevent recurrence of this multi-cell organism.
What was the solution? (Details of our proposal or recommendation)
Henkel Bonderite L-MR 77-4 (formerly known as Multan 77-4) was recommended due to its biological resistance to both Fungus and Bacteria when the concentrations are maintained above 5%. Due to its patented emulsifier chemistry, 77-4 wets surfaces extremely well and evaporative elements will provide bacterial protection in the head space of coolant tanks where Fungus is prevalent. 77-4 also has extremely good lubrication properties and on the Micro-Tap Torque Tapping Test has demonstrated that very few products in the market can compete (tested on Aluminium AlSi1) including high tensile steels, nickel and Titanium alloys.
How was the solution Implemented? (Include what we did as a service to the customer)
A Deckel Maho 70 EVO Machining Centre was selected for trial and was presented with a ‘deep clean’ following the prescribed work instruction for coolant system cleaning. A door brush which was infected with fungus was left to monitor the products performance in determining if infection would continue to grow, remain as left or indeed disappear. After 3 months of trial the infection had completely cleared on the door brushes and moreover no trace of fungus anywhere in the machine or coolant system. The customer at this point made the decision to replace the incumbent product and supplier to Optimum and Bonderite L-MR 77-4 in all machines including machines suffering from the same problem in their sister plant.
How did the Customer benefit? (Quantify savings in OEE, maintenance & repair, people, indirect materials & improvements in HSE etc.)
The customer is delighted with the performance not only of Bonderite L-MR 77-4 but also from the support received from Optimum in obtaining all their machines in a sterile condition, safe in the knowledge that infection will not reappear given the coolant management programme and diligence now in place with greater ownership of the customers tasks but also trust in their supplier to ‘say how it is’.
Bonderite L_MR 77-4 after 12 months of running continues to service these machines and in a condition as it was first trialled with no re-infection whatsoever.
What was the conclusion?
Whilst no measures were put in place to determine tangible monetary benefits in tool life, filter life, product usage and maintenance costs etc. which we have come to expect the customer is confident that a serious problem has been averted on machine availability which is crucial to this customer’s business.
The superior performance of Bonderite L-MR 77-4 has demonstrated beyond doubt that bacterial and fungal infection can become a ‘thing of the past’.