Article written by Production Machining’s Senior Editor, Chris Felix
Machining generates heat, and flood coolant is the common method to alleviate this heat. But flood coolant is a brute force solution that raises a host of issues of its own. Large quantities of coolant require specialized equipment to circulate, filter and test, and the purchase, maintenance and operation of this equipment can be expensive. The use of coolant may also cause thermal shock to carbide tools, resulting in microscopic cracks that weaken the tool and can ultimately lead to tool failure. Water-based coolants are also susceptible to bacterial growth. Biocides help with this issue, but who wants to breathe these biocides as they and the coolant are projected into the air during the cutting process? The fluid also often ends up in the wrong places, such as on floors, equipment and machine operators.
What if there was another way? While flooding the cutting zone with coolant may eliminate the symptoms of the problem (the heat), it does not address one of the main causes of the heat: friction.