Manufacturing Management feature on A&M improving the performance of metal cutting coolant, working in partnership with MSC and Rocol.

How we halved our coolant consumption, saved £17k pa and improved our CNC machining quality.


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Published: 29/06/2020

A&M EDM Ltd is an award-winning engineering solutions company offering precision engineering services to aerospace, F1 and other sectors.

A&M also manufactured ventilator components as suppliers to the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium.

It has 57 CNCs machining a variety of materials including stainless steel, mild steel, aluminium, Inconel, titanium and exotics, and produces highly bespoke, short runs of components for its customers.

MSC Industrial Supply Co. offers A&M EDM best practice engineering support with frequent onsite visits that proactively identify ways to help them optimise their processes and achieve their business goals.

A&M EDM was looking to improve the performance of its metalworking coolant while maintaining high-quality machining. With this in mind, MSC identified ROCOL as the perfect partner to collaborate with alongside its customer.

ROCOL began analysing A&M EDM’s coolant consumption with a review of current materials and applications while taking samples from active machining operations. These were tested in ROCOL’s laboratory and a comprehensive report on the current product, with details such as wear ratio, dilution and usage, was produced.

The analysis concluded that the coolant usage was much higher than it should be and that A&M EDM needed a versatile, high-performance coolant that would deliver consistent usage and quality results on a range of different materials.

MSC and ROCOL presented their findings to A&M EDM. They delivered a proposal for an alternative coolant that was more suitable for their requirements, but also provided evidence that demonstrated a cost saving in volume consumed as well as an extension to tool lifetime.

MSC and ROCOL recommended ULTRACUT EVO 255 Metalworking Coolant, an extreme pressure (EP) soluble oil-water mix cutting fluid to replace the previous coolant.

ULTRACUT EVO 255 is formulated to give a long and predictable sump life and provides extra performance in medium and severe cutting operations on a wide variety of ferrous and non-ferrous materials.

In addition to providing the coolant solution, MSC works with ROCOL to deliver specialist and ongoing maintenance and support to A&M EDM, which covers a range of services and periodic analysis to reduce fluid consumption, extend tool life and reduce downtime. This will help A&M EDM ensure the product continues to perform to its optimum level, no matter what materials are machined.

ROCOL and MSC recommended a product that was not only versatile and suitable for a wide variety of machining applications and materials, but would also deliver a significant saving in the volume of coolant required.

Analysis showed that with the ULTRACUT EVO 255 solution dilution levels improved from 19:1 to 40:1, reducing A&M EDM’s consumption from 41,000 litres per annum to 20,048 litres per annum*. The reduced consumption rate outweighed the increase in cost per unit, resulting in a significant cost saving of £16,900 per year.

The solution has more than halved A&M EDM’s intermediate bulk container (IBC) annual consumption from 10 to 5 containers. Furthermore, it has also improved machining quality, delivering a potential tool spend reduction of around 40%.

A&M EDM is also benefiting from the savings delivered by reducing waste and disposal costs from needing fewer IBCs.

Stuart Talbot, production director at A&M EDM, said: "We are delighted that MSC and ROCOL have come in and analysed our coolant consumption and recommended a solution that will reduce this to half the amount we were using previously.

"They invested time in understanding what our objectives were and demonstrated a commitment and determination to help us achieve them. We look forward to an ongoing relationship where MSC and ROCOL will continue to assess and benchmark our machines regularly, helping us to achieve further efficiency and productivity gains.”