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Maximising opportunities in an evolving machine shop industry

11 Nov 2019, Posted by McPherson Oil in Industry Information

Machine ShopTechnology is reshaping manufacturing – the rise of Industry 4.0 and the exploitation of big data continue to drive productivity by optimizing processes and equipment use. As a result, workflows are fundamentally changing, lead times continue to reduce and the demand for machining accuracy has never been higher. Add regulatory pressures to the mix and it is clear that machine shop owners are facing dramatic transformations on all fronts.

Maintaining an effective operation in the face of all these changes is essential if business objectives are to be met. However, there are major challenges to overcome. Cloud storage is revolutionizing the use and availability of production data, while environmental statutes are tightening the boundaries of what qualifies as acceptable practices and processes. A successful machine shop cannot ignore these changes; new technology and increasing regulation are inescapably reshaping metal fabrication.

Fortunately for machine shop managers, help is available to navigate a way through all these challenges. Customizable, off-the-shelf Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are helping businesses adapt to a digital future without incurring massive IT bills.

However, for forward-thinking companies, it’s not just about spotting the benefits that change presents, it’s also about how to maximize these opportunities. And for that to happen, equipment needs to be operating at its optimum level. One way to ensure this is investing in high performance cutting fluids.

Cutting fluids

Tougher metals, more advanced, severe metal working processes and the ongoing drive to increase productivity and reduce costs have all contributed to cutting fluids rising up the agenda of metalworking operators in recent years. However, with a multitude of factors (including the operating environment, machining application, and machined metal type) all having an impact, no one cutting fluid can provide the lubrication, cooling, and protection required for every operation.

Importantly, the recent European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) legislation on the removal of formaldehyde-releasers, which came into place on 1 December 2018, has resulted in the reformulation of some grades. It is therefore important to reassess cutting fluid selections to ensure that they not only provide the required performance, such as surface finish but that they also comply with the latest health and safety regulations.

As with lubricants, advanced formulations can provide cutting fluids with productivity benefits including extended tool life. This not only improves productivity, but it also reduces human-machine interactions, cutting the risk of accidents. High performance cutting fluids can also provide:

  • Excellent pH stability
  • High resistance to bacterial growth
  • Enhanced washing ability

Machine shop owners should also ensure they select grades that provide protection against corrosion and have low foaming tendencies, even under high-pressure conditions.

Small change, big difference

Consumables, such as cutting fluids and lubricants, represent a fraction of the cost of running machine shop equipment but if selected correctly, the investment offers a number of valuable returns. High-performance oils, for example, can help improve energy efficiency, reduce maintenance costs and also extend oil drain intervals. In turn, that cuts waste lubricant disposal, helping improve a company’s overall environmental credentials.

For cutting fluids, the benefits are no less important. Tool technology has undergone rapid changes in recent years; the use of new materials and changes in equipment design has led to faster machining speeds and higher cutting temperatures to help improve productivity. However, to fully benefit from these advances, machine shops need to invest in the latest cutting fluid formulations – one designed to operate under increasingly harsh conditions.

Given the size of the overall benefits, it is important to choose a consumables partner that not only provides the most suitable products but also backs this up with in-depth technical knowledge and support. A small change can make a big difference, especially when backed up by dedicated industry insights and experience.

About: McPherson Oil has provided the southeast with quality products and services for more than 40 years.  As a proud distributor of ExxonMobil products, we offer these services through our belief in TPM – Total Petroleum Management.  Through our TPM program, McPherson brings a valued-added difference to its customers by meeting all of their petroleum needs. Our commitment to our customers is reflected in our company vision and mission statements. McPherson proudly services Alabama, Arkansas, North and Central Georgia, Mississippi coast, Florida panhandle, Greater Chattanooga Area, the Greater New Orleans Area and Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast.  McPherson Oil is an authorized ExxonMobil distributor.

*Source – Deana Tan with Mobil Industrial