The machine, tools and – to a lesser extent – the cooling lubricants. Together they define the quality of a workpiece. In order to maintain a perfect emulsion and supply the machines without interruption, MOTOREX has developed an automated fluid management system in cooperation with the CHIRON Group.
Millions of machine tools are used around the world, many of which are operated using water-miscible coolants. In the vast majority of cases, this means operators mixing water and concentrate to form an emulsion and refilling the tank. That's all there is too it. But it’s not that simple. “Water-miscible cooling lubricants only perform well when they are used correctly,” says Adrian Schoch, Head of Application at MOTOREX. For example, if a 900-litre tank still contains 300 litres, then adding 600 litres of fresh, cold emulsion is not particularly smart. “The temperature of the entire emulsion changes abruptly,” explains Pascal Schröder, Digitalisation Development Coordinator at the CHIRON Group. “As a result – and this is physics – every machine tool deforms slightly, which in turn has a negative effect on precision and machining quality.”
Consequences of poor maintenance
Another disadvantage is that heat is generated during the machining process and the water content of the emulsion evaporates faster. The longer the cooling lubricant is used, the higher the concentration and the less stable the process. “Improper coolant maintenance also leads to deposits,” adds Adrian Schoch. “Tools can break as a result, surfaces don’t fit. This is all the more problematic when one tank supplies not just one machine, but many.”
The aim: “digitalising” the fluid
MOTOREX has been working on the development of automated fluid management for many years to create the best conditions when processing different materials. It has been cooperating closely with the CHIRON Group based in Tuttlingen (Germany), which specialises in CNC-controlled vertical milling and mill-turn machining centres as well as turnkey manufacturing solutions. For Pascal Schröder, one thing is clear: “Automated supply, monitoring and maintenance of the metal working fluid is a key factor in ensuring that machining centres deliver perfect results. Particularly with regard to networked manufacturing and Industry 4.0. It doesn’t make much sense to constantly monitor the condition of the machine while leaving surrounding processes out.”
Scalable for all requirements
The smartphone-based Easy Monitoring app from MOTOREX offers an affordable introduction to the automated cooling lubricant maintenance. This makes it possible to create a digital mirror image of the operating fluids, record all relevant parameters within seconds and save them for further analysis and documentation. Deviations can be identified early on and corrected in good time.
All relevant values can be viewed directly
MOTOREX’s automated fluid management system can be easily integrated into the machine control system of the machining centres, as demonstrated by our collaboration with the CHIRON Group. Thanks to ConditionLine automatic condition monitoring from the CHIRON Group SmartLine portfolio, relevant values such as concentration, pH, temperature and fill level can be viewed directly and – with the customer’s consent of course – transferred to MOTOREX and the CHIRON Group. This enables the professionals to provide direct support. The system is capable of intelligent refilling and automated maintenance. When the first shift starts on Monday, the emulsion is perfect. The tank is very well maintained.
Headquartered in Langenthal, MOTOREX AG is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of coolants and cutting fluids for a wide range of applications. More than 40,000 tonnes of lubricants pass through the production's doors every year. The more than 2500 formulations are continuously refined in collaboration with OEMs, industry partners, motor sports teams and universities, and are increasingly optimised with a view to improving sustainability. One of its core segments is industrial lubrication technology – from water-miscible cooling lubricants and cutting fluids to process auxiliaries and spindle operating resources. MOTOREX employs over 400 people across three production sites and five sales offices and is represented in 85 countries with over 130 sales partners.
The CHIRON Group, headquartered in Tuttlingen, Germany, specialises in CNC-controlled vertical milling and mill-turn machining centres as well as turnkey manufacturing solutions. The Group has a global presence with production and development sites, sales and service offices and sales agencies. Around two-thirds of the machines and solutions sold are exported. Major customer sectors include the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, medical and precision engineering, aerospace and tool manufacturing.
Measuring, monitoring, dosing, testing – these are the four factors for ensuring that the high-quality MOTOREX coolants are always in optimum condition. Automation ensures the best workpiece quality and offers numerous advantages – the top six:
1. Up to 15 % less fuel consumption
As the tank is always full with a constantly optimal value and a consistent temperature, the coolant is less stressed and can be used for longer.
2. Lower machine usage costs
Rotating components – such as spindles, pumps and vane pumps – can be used for longer and are better protected against wear thanks to the right concentration and optimum pH of the emulsion.
3. Higher machine availability
The tanks are filled automatically with no machine downtime.
4. Working time saved
Operators no longer have to worry about the machining fluid and can be sure that everything is always set correctly.
5. Increased sustainability
The longer the fluid is used, the less waste is generated and the better the environmental footprint. This reliably prevents 'spoiling' and thus the need to replace the entire contents of the tank.
6. Improved health and safety
Chemical additives are needed to prevent mould and bacteria. This, and adhering to the defined pH and concentration prevents skin allergies and long-term allergic effects.