Is Your Workshop Prepared for Covid-19 ‘Idle Time’?

Featured Features & Interviews

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has thrown industry into unchartered territory with many machine shops running reduced capacity, idling some machines or completely closing the doors to the business. But what about your machine tools? You wouldn’t leave your car idle for weeks, as you know it isn’t good for the vehicle. So why would you leave an expensive machine-tool? Here, ROCOL gives engineers some tips on what to do from a coolant perspective…

As a world leading authority and manufacturer of fluid solutions, ROCOL has the service, support and performance you can trust with its UK manufactured fluid solutions to get your machine tools running at their optimal level. Ideally, if it is known that a machine is going to be stood idle for a long period of time, it should be fully cleaned out with ULTRAGUARD® SC System Cleaner and left dry. The fixtures should be removed, the machine bed and tooling should be wiped down, then coated with ROCOL MOISTURE GUARD® SPRAY. If this has not been done, engineers can either discuss their options with ROCOL and/or try to follow the below measures:

• Skim all tramp oil from machines as it is a food source for bacteria and large amounts of surface oil will limit the oxygen supply to the fluid, promoting the growth of anaerobic bacteria. You may need to leave the machine stood idle for a few hours to allow any oil remaining on machine surfaces to run into the sump.

• Increase the strength of the fluid in the sump. Do this by turning up the fluid mixer and topping up as much as possible. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to increase the strength to between 40 and 50% above the fresh fill dilution as a minimum. Manufacturers can refer to dilution charts for additional information.

• While topping up the machines add a dose of ULTRAGUARD® BX 2000. This should be added at a ratio of 2000:1. For example, a 300L sump would require a treatment of 150ml. Be sure to circulate the coolant to help mix in the additive.

• Where possible circulate the coolant for an hour each day. Circulating the coolant reduces stagnation and will introduce oxygen and limit the growth of bacteria.

• Where possible fit airlines in sump to oxygenate the fluid.

• If any sumps already require a cleanout, please use ULTRAGUARD® SC, follow the standard cleanout procedure and leave the sump dry until required.

• If a full cleanout is not possible then a full System Cleaner flush potentially at 50:1 should be carried out, followed by removal of the old fluid.

Upon returning to production both preserved and freshly filled sumps should be treated with the relevant additives such as ROCOL ULTRAGUARD® BX 2000 and ULTRAGUARD® FX. For engineers not so familiar with ROCOL products, the ULTRAGUARD® BX 2000 is a biocide additive that can be safely used with all types of water mix metalworking fluids to give long lasting protection against bacterial activity. It effectively prevents the loss of cutting fluid performance caused by bacterial degradation, eliminates objectionable odours due to microbial growth, promotes healthier working conditions, automatically loosens sludge and slime deposits and in the longer term, it reduces fluid disposal and replacement costs.

Like the BX 2000, the ULTRAGUARD® FX is also an additive. This fungicide additive can be used with all types of water mix metalworking fluids as it is formulated to eliminate fungus and prevent the formation of fungal growths that can cause blockages and lead to costly downtime.

Before getting your machine tool up and running again it is advised that the fluid is inspected to ensure there has been no deterioration. If the fluid is in poor condition it is advised that you utilise the ULTRAGUARD® SC System Cleaner. This system cleaner is for use with water-mix cutting and grinding fluids and has been designed for use prior to recharging machine tools with fresh cutting fluid. It is a biocide-based cleanser and slime remover that cleans and disinfects in one operation, reaching into all areas where the cleaner flows through the system, eliminating micro-organisms swiftly and effectively. If you have any machines in your facility that are sitting idle, please contact ROCOL for details on how to optimise and prepare your machine for ramping back up to full production.