Saving Money by Cleaning Machine Tool Sumps

Aug 8, 2019

“The formula for how much money a customer can save is even more valid now than it was 20 years ago,” says coolant industry veteran Bill Shaver. Bill says there are three main reasons for this:

  • The cost of disposal has increased greatly.
  • The price of good coolants has gone up significantly.
  • The cost of downtime is higher.

Still, it always comes down to the customer. “I would say this,” Shaver says. “I have two types of customers these days and I’ve had two types of customers since we started in business back in 1992. We have customers that know what we do can save some significant amounts of money. And then, I have other customers that think they are just off-loading a crummy job to me. When times get tight, people who know we are saving them a lot of money keep us on. People who think they’re off-loading a dirty job get rid of us.” “In all fairness,” Shaver adds, “I pretty much try and avoid those kind but when you have a small business, a lot of times have to take what you can!”

Here are two examples of how it worked for two Fluid Management customers:

Coolant Management Case Study 1

      The site where this coolant management program was incorporated is a Southeast manufacturer of machined metal components. This company uses both CNC and manual mills, lathes, grinders, and saws. Their annual expenditure for coolant was $150,000; disposal cost for spent coolant was $70,000. Approximately twelve hours a week were spent removing spoiled coolant and putting in new coolant. This activity was conducted on an as needed basis during regular production hours resulting in about 630 hours of lost production time annually. Machine cleaning was minimal to reduce lost production time.

      Fluid Management was contracted to manage the coolant at this facility to enable the customer to focus on their core competency. The Fluid Management program consisted of monitoring the coolant conditions at sump side and determining a machine cleanout schedule based on chemical analysis of individual machines. When coolant conditions warranted it the coolant was removed from the system and recycled. While the recycling was taking place the machine sump system had the chips removed and was then cleaned using a coolant friendly detergent. This process cleaned the tank, pumps, screens, and conveyor. Upon completion of the cleaning the recycled coolant was mixed with fresh coolant and brought to the correct mixture level for this machine. Machine sump maintenance was conducted during non-production time thereby eliminating lost production time.

      The first year results were a reduction in coolant purchases from $150,000 to $50,000. The $70,000 disposal cost was eliminated, as all coolant was recycled, including coolant from the chips. The 630 hours of lost production was also eliminated as all machine maintenance was conducted during non-production hours. With machine time at $150 per hour an annual savings of $95,000 was achieved. Savings from scrap and rework were estimated at $500,000. Reduced tooling purchases were estimated at $150,000. For a total savings of $770,000 annually.

      Savings summary

    • $ 70,000 Haul away of used coolant eliminated
    • $100,000 Reduced coolant purchases
    • $ 95,000 Machine cleanouts during non-production
    • $500,000 Reduction in scrap and rework
    • $150,000 Reduced tooling costs
    • $915,000 Total eliminated costs
    • $145,000 FMI Program costs (subtract)

Case Study 2

      A manufacturer in the upstate of SC has approximately sixteen machines and was using operators and maintenance personnel to clean them during normal production hours. Due to cost and storage of the spent coolant they were only cleaning their machines twice a year and disposing of the coolant. They were also disposing of run-off coolant from the chip hoppers every other month. According to their own numbers, it was costing them about twenty thousand dollars in down time, disposal costs, and coolant purchases.

      We implemented an on-site coolant recycling and machine cleaning program for this facility, servicing the machines twice as often, at a savings of about eight thousand dollars. The screw machines presented a unique challenge. Previously they had to clean these machines out annually and pay for disposal. Regulations required them to wait for delivery of the new oil until the old oil was disposed of. As a result, the machines were out of service for a week. The down time was costly and as a result the customer only cleaned these machines once a year. With our program we were able to clean all three screw machines and recycle the oil in one day. Because of the reduced down time the customer was able to increase the cleaning frequency to three times per year. The increased frequency resulted in decreased tool usage and improved surface finishes.

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