Sunday, August 7, 2011

To Skim, or not to Skim?

Dear friends,

Have you ever taken a look at your sump and wonder where all that oil floating on top came from, and better yet what in the world do I do with it now? Well listen up my friends because we’re going to school!

Tramp oil, (as we call it in the industry) is a real problem for metalworking fluids in general. It doesn’t improve the cutting action of the metalworking fluid, it leads to higher mist levels in the shop and it tends to be a readily available food supply for anaerobic bacteria. Facultative Anaerobic bacteria don’t require oxygen to live, but they still require a food source. Way lubes/Hydraulic oils as well as the raw materials in metalworking fluids are excellent food sources for these anaerobic bacteria. These anaerobes excrete hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) a byproduct of metabolizing the sulfur found in most way lubes and hydraulic oils. This in turn, creates the wonderful aroma of the famous Monday morning stink that we are all so fond of. If we choose to ignore this potential problem and not remove (Skim) this tramp oil on a weekly if not daily basis, then eventually it will become part of the coolant.

Now this potential food source is readily available throughout the emulsion itself. Older and even new machines being manufactured today use Way lubes/Hydraulic oils for lubricating the box ways, linear guides and spindle bearings. Unless the lubricating system is sealed, this oil will eventually to find its way into the coolant sump. Metalworking fluid manufactures formulate their coolants to reject out these larger oil agglomerate’s to the top of the emulsion. This foreign oil is to be removed by means of skimming or coolant coalescing equipment. This is done by design, as tramp oil leads to coolant deterioration/contamination and eventual disposal. By implementing simple measures of using coolant skimmers and filtration equipment on a regular basis, a metalworking fluids sump life can be greatly prolonged thus reducing overall fluid cost.

So the answer to the question of, to skim or not to skim is… skim that sump!

Stay tuned for more useful coolant tips, from The Coolant Guy!

Best regards,

Brett Reynolds, CMFS

Brett Reynolds, “The Coolant Guy” works for Blaser Swisslube Inc.
If you would like more useful information regarding metalworking fluids, or would like to find out more information about Blaser metalworking fluid products,
Please contact Brett at 801-722-4095 or via
The Oil Baron Bulletin is not affiliated with Blaser Swisslube Inc. or its subsidiaries