Recycling Coolants in CNC Machines
Metalworking fluids have a great environmental impact, during all stages of the life cycle. The main environmental effort is therefore to prolong the life of the fluid.
Technologies that eliminate waste through specific processes.
Extraction & manufacturing of components
The first step in creating a metalworking fluid involves producing ingredients such as fossil oils, alcohols, fatty acids, and amines. The choice and amount of material used affects the results and energy needed for production.
Manufacturing of concentrate
The production of metalworking fluid concentrate has an environmental impact due to electricity consumption and the use of volatile solvents, classified substances, and large amounts of water. The production process should be reviewed to assess environmental impact, including heating/cooling needs and material utilization. Chemists formulating the concentrate have a responsibility in selecting raw materials to minimize losses.
Transportation of metalworking fluid concentrate, finished formulations, and used fluids has a negative impact on the environment. The impact depends on the mode of transportation, distance, and efficiency. Air transport has a greater impact. Reducing concentrate use reduces the amount of fluid that needs to be transported, from the concentrate to oil fields, and thus helps to reduce the negative impact on the environment.
Use and Handling
When metalworking fluid concentrate reaches the end user, it still has an impact. Energy is consumed in pumping, heating/cooling, filtering, purifying, and maintaining the fluid. The electricity consumed per liter varies between fluids, and service life can be extended with different concentrates. The usage phase can have the largest environmental impact due to high energy consumption and fluid usage, including fluid changes, top-ups, and evaporation-related issues that lead to increased concentrate consumption.
Recycling and Reuse
Reusing metalworking fluid lowers the environmental impact due to reduced material consumption. However, the entire recycling process must be considered, including measures such as pumping, filtering, adding new concentrate, and washing old containers. Evaporation can also be used to recover water and reduce oil and concentrate transport for final treatment. While recycling can reduce material consumption and destruction costs, the overall environmental impact must be considered, and it may not be worth recycling fluids with low environmental impact in other areas.