Wogaard Coolant saving device recovers neat oil for engineering firm
UK – Neat coolant oil is an expensive commodity. An Isle of Man, UK-based firm of precision engineers shares its experience of a recovery system said to save money and protect the environment.
Manx Engineers was established in 1945 as a family-owned precision engineering company. Since a management buy-out in 2009, the company has operated from a fully refurbished 850 m2 facility in Ramsey on the Isle of Man. Here, it continues to provide engineering services for the subcontract machining and assembly sectors. The firm’s 22 staff members use CNC machine tools on a double-day shift to supply precision manufacturing industries such as aerospace, medical, subsea, fluid power, dental, low volume automotive, telecommunications and piezo-technology.
Local backup and support essential on the island
The new directors remain focused on smaller high precision milled and mill-turned components. Since the buy-out, the firm has invested in three new machine tools: a Citizen A32, a Mazak Hyper Quadrex twin-spindle twin-turret machine and a Mazak Integrex mill-turn. “We tend to invest in Citizen or Mazak because our staff are familiar with them so we can move people around for holiday cover. Here on the Isle of Man it’s also crucial that you get good backup and both these suppliers offer great support,” Ringham says.
The Citizen A32-VII sliding head lathe offers 32 mm diameter machining with a feed rate of 45 m/min and is said to achieve 30 per cent higher productivity than previous machines. The machine is equipped with 5 axes, 6 turning tools, 4 rotary tools for cross-machining, 9 tools for back-end machining and 5 tools for front-end machining giving a total of 23 tools. The maximum cutting length is 320 mm in one chucking.
Wogaard’s newly developed neat oil Coolant Saver is fitted to the Citizen A32. Like many sliding head lathes, it uses low viscosity oil to cool the component and the cutting tools during machining. While the parts conveyor on Citizen A32 takes the machined components away from the working envelope, these tend to be smooth and are easily drained, so the oil returns to the machine’s 220 litre sump without too much loss. However, the swarf conveyor drags the neat oil out with the chips and it is here that the Coolant Saver is said to make its impact.
Extraction of neat oil coolant is critical
Bob Ringham explains: “As a subcontract engineering shop, materials used range from the easy machining brass and copper through to exotics such as Inconel and titanium. Swarf is always segregated, making the extraction of the neat oil coolant even more critical as the number of swarf bins with, say, half a litre of waste coolant would soon become overwhelming. “Added up over a week it is a significant amount of coolant and all the staff have commented on the reduction in the number of sump top-ups required. We would add oil to the machine around three times per week, and now we have reduced this to once per week. So, the handling of the oil is reduced along with the chances of spilling it in transit or while trying to pour it into the machine’s tank,” he says.
Manx Engineers has purchased two new swarf skips with a protective sleeve in the corner to house the Coolant Saver. Bob Ringham points out that the Wogaard device seems to have no problem pulling the neat oil from the skip, with the operator simply turning the unit on or off as required. He concludes: “We are looking to expand the use of the Coolant Saver to the other two Citizen sliding head lathes, as we can see the benefit of the investment, and the installation is very straightforward.”