Can cutting fluids impact tool life?

With an intent to reduce cost per component, the Production team at an Automotive component manufacturer compares tool life achieved with Berucut SCO 322 HC and other alternative cutting fluids.

Focusing on machining productivity, manufacturers of cutting fluids have been working out special coolant formulations with the right mix of lubricity and anti-wear additives to extend tool life.

The Customer having conducted trials with multiple products, was pleasantly surprised with the results. The study proved a tool life increase of over 40% with Berucut SCO 322 HC when compared to the existing product as well as an alternative product, popular in the market.

The study proved a tool life increase of over 40% with Berucut SCO 322 HC when compared to the existing product as well as an alternative product, popular in the market.

BACKGROUND

The owner led firm had built a reputation as a reliable supplier of high quality components with ability to deliver within deadlines. The company manufactured precision components and catered to the requirements of automotive, marine and bearing industries. With stringent quality processes, the employees imbibed the company philosophy of delivering high quality components consistently at competitive prices. The production team were always on the lookout for initiatives to reduce manufacturing cost by improving process efficiency.

Out of the 60 machines installed, the split was equal between conventional and CNC machines. The standalone machining centres run with neat oils had capability to perform all regular machining processes such as turning, milling, tapping, drilling, grinding, thread cutting etc. Daily operations involved machining of regular steel, special alloy steel, leaded and non leaded materials.

With regular production schedules, the Production team was concerned about ways to improve tool life as it had significant impact on CPC. Right coolant management practices with suitable filtration systems had ensured that the existing coolant, ‘Product I’ performed adequately for the past 6 years.

However the Customer was keen to check if cutting fluids could impact tool life in any way. Given the circumstances, Bechem was provided an opportunity along with another prominent coolant brand to prove performances of their respective products against customer’s existing cutting fluid.

BECHEM’s APPROACH

BECHEM’s ‘go to’ product for the trial was Berucut SCO 322 HC, the non water miscible coolant formulated with lubricity improvers and anti wear additives for superior machining performance and increased tool life. Developed for high speed machining, the Chlorine and heavy metal free coolant has a flash point of over 210 C and resists smoke formation even during intensive machining operations on tough metals. The ‘yellow clear fluid’ is resistant to ageing and provides good corrosion protection to machine and components.

TRIAL RESULT
Take 1 : Comparison for Tool Life

The first trial was conducted for a period of 1 month on two similar machining centers and operations with only the coolant being the varying parameter.

With Berucut SCO 322 HC, the customer observed that the tool life almost increased by 50% compared to the existing coolant. There was marked improvement in surface finish of the component as well as cleanliness of the machines. The Customer was surprised with the results and wanted a confirmation on repeatability.

Machine make : Automated sliding head by leading Japanese machine tool brand
Type of operations : Turning, Parting, Grooving
Material : Steel and Special Alloy Steel

TRIAL RESULT
Take 2 : Reduction in cycle time

While a trial for repeatability was being scheduled, the BECHEM team proposed to increase machining speed with an intention to reduce cycle time and subsequently compare the results. At this point in time, the other prominent player in the market also pitched in with their offering, ‘Product B’. A second trial was conducted with change in machining speeds.

Tool Life Comparison Chart
Measured in no. of machined components

SL no
Tools
Berucut SCO- 322HC
Product I
Product B
1Insert V (Parting)500036003700
2Insert D5 (OD Turning)520036003800
3Insert D00 (OD Finish)300016001600
4Insert V725 (Grooving)800060006000
5Insert VB725 (Back Turn)150010001200
68 mm Endmill400028002800

The result was no different from trial 1, Berucut SCO 322 HC beat both the products in tool life, machine cleanliness and component finish.

The Customer was able to experience increased tool life with Berucut SCO 322 HC by over 50% with existing coolant and over 40% with the other popular brand in the market.

With increase in tool life and reduction in CPC established, the Customer changed over from his earlier product to Berucut SCO 322 HC.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Coolant with good lubricity and anti wear additives can increase tool life by reducing friction between tool and job hotspot. Anti wear additives prevent built up edges by forming protective coating over the tool
  • Berucut SCO 322 HC by BECHEM is a high performance neat cutting oil that can increase tool life in regular as well as intensive machining processes