The metal industry is defined by heavy industrial processes which typically generate a lot of heat. The nature of the metalwork industry demands the use of a wide range of machinery,which have varying operating temperatures. In order to run this machinery efficiently, there needs to be continuoustemperature regulation both in and around the equipment.Since the temperatures go way beyond the capacity of ordinary water and air cooling systems, additives such as corrosion inhibitors and Anti-freeze are used with the water to make it a more versatile in temperature regulator when necessary.
What are Coolants?
A coolant is a liquid or gaseous fluid that is used to control the temperature of a mechanized system. Coolants are mostly used to lower temperatures but in some cases, they are used to reduce the rate at which the temperatures rise. They are also referred to as heat transfer fluids in cases where they can be used to move heat from one system to another such as in an industrial multi-process facility. When a coolant is used to achieve temperatures lower than the surrounding ambient temperature, it is referred to as a refrigerant.
Characteristics Of A Good Coolant
There areseveral factors that influence the choice of coolant from one industry to another. In the metal industry, coolants of the highest standards are necessary because of the dangers involved in an operation.To ensure the longevity and efficiency of the equipment, each machine involved must not exceed its optimal temperature for the entire duration of operations.
Well cooled machinery can run for hours without having a problem but, once the system begins to overheat, the efficiency drops rapidly and in many cases, expensive equipment is damaged. The consequent downtime involved as well as replacement of expensive parts can run you into heavy losses. The use of efficient coolants is an affordable way to keep the show on the road.
Thermal Capacity: A good coolant has a high thermal or heat capacity and can withstand a wide range of heat applications. In simple terms, the thermal capacity of a substance is the amount of heat that can be added or reduced from a substance before its temperature changes.
Low Viscosity: Viscosity is a parameter used to measure a fluid’s resistance to flow or deformation. It can also be used to define the thickness of a fluid where highly viscous substances are thick and move very slowly. Low viscosity is useful for coolant because it takes the heat away from the source location very quickly. Highly viscous fluids would make for lousy coolants.
Non-Corrosive: Several coolant fluids can have corrosive reactions to different types of metals. Most machining systems are not made up of only one metal. It is necessary to find out whether your coolant of choice will corrode any part of the machine before you use it. The easiest way to prevent corrosion is to add corrosion inhibitors to the fluid before using it in temperature control operations. Another way to prevent corrosion is to use a chemically inert liquid or gas like hydrogen.
Cleaning the coolant increases your equipment’s lifespan
It is important to the health of your machinery to make sure that your coolant is in good condition at all times. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to secure the health of your mechanical systems is to regularly filter your coolant.
The true value of any machine is heavily nested in its lifespan. Evaluators recommend the acquisition of expensive equipment based on their payback period, which is mainly calculated in relation to the machine’s lifespan. This lifespan can be cut in half if you operate it in a dirty environment, rendering the equipment uneconomical.
A large number of particles, fine and course, are produced during even the simplest metalwork operation. It is easy to deal with the visible metal filings that chip away at your workstation and most facilities has staff dedicated to keeping the work areas clean. However, the finer particles and grit often go unnoticed. When the coolant makes its rounds through the cogs and gears of your system, it is likely to collect fine metallic dust along the way. If it is not filtered frequently, the coolant carries these particles as it works its way through tight spaces such as around the seals, bushings, and ball screws among others. With time, the particles could build up and cause damage to critical components of the machine.
The use of coolants is essential in metalwork production as they not only protect the machinery from damage but they increase the quality of the final product. The coolants ensure that the machinery operates at optimal levels, consistently delivering peak performance and reliable results. Taking good care coolants will always give you an excellent return on your investment.