Advances in modern CNC machines have increased productivity and increased the need for better lubrication in order to keep up with the faster spindle speeds and demands of today’s machine tools. These advances have also led to an increase in metalworking fluids being generated and emitted into the air. Without an efficient extraction system, such as those produced by AR Filtrazioni, these airborne metalworking fluids can pose a potential health threat to the employees and cause environmental concerns.
Exclusively represented in the UK and Eire by YMT Technologies Tooling Division, AR Filtrazioni designs, develops and manufactures its industry-leading products at a 3,500 m2 state-of-the-art facility in Bergamo, Italy. With over 30 years’ experience of producing oil and mist extracting systems, the company is at the forefront of research and development within the air purification industry. With health and safety being a major influence in many workplaces and with growing public interest regarding climate change, AR Filtrazioni has developed products to address these important issues.
Metalworking fluids (MWFs) provide many positive attributes. However, operators can be exposed to MWFs by inhaling aerosols (mists). The amount of mist generated and resulting level of exposure depends on many factors, such as the type of fluid and its application process; the temperature of the fluid; the specific machining or grinding operation; the presence of splash guarding; and the effectiveness of the extraction system in capturing and removing the mist.
Suitable for ‘at source’ extraction, as a one-to-one, multiple extract or ‘free-hanging’ application, AR Filtrazioni’s wide range of air filtration systems efficiently remove airborne contaminants such as coolant mist, oil mist and smoke generated by lathes, grinding machines, milling machines, 3-, 4- and 5-axis machining centres, and so on.
These products guarantee a healthy working environment with clean air, in compliance with all Health and Safety Regulations in force in every country across the globe. With low running costs and maintenance requirements the efficient operation of the extraction system can extend the lifespan of the machine tool and increase precision in the machining process. Every system has to pass strict quality and inspection tests so the reasonable investment required can be recouped in a very short timeframe.
Designed as modular units for versatility the company offers a series of products for the removal of oil mist, smoke, dust and odours produced during the manufacturing process. Two of the most popular ranges are the Arno Series and the Eco Series.
For use on machine tools carrying out heavy duty production over multiple shifts, the Arno Series has substantially constructed elements to provide reliable around-the-clock operation. Up to five filter stages, which can be specified according to the type of pollutant and kind of machining process, reduces the residual concentration of pollutant in the air at the exhaust to less than 0.1 mg/m3. Suitable for all machine tools, including machining centres, lathes, grinding machines, boring machines, shaping machines, laser cutting and electro discharge machines (EDM), the Arno Series provides an airflow rate of between 1,000 and 4,000 m3 per hour to extract oil mist, smoke and micro-dust.
With an airflow rate of between 500 and 730 m3 per hour, the Eco Series of air cleaners are designed for direct attachment to most machine tools – removing airborne particulate from the machining enclosure and protecting operators, computers, machinery, and supporting plant. A high quality, compact solution the Eco Series is suitable for suction and purification of oil mist, micro-dust and smoke produced during wet or dry machining processes. The filtration unit is equipped with a drainage system for the recovery of re-condensed coolant liquid.
These industrial systems are designed to be ducted or mounted directly to machine tools, and feature variable speed controllers for precise management of airflow and subsequent negative pressure within the machine tool enclosure. Compact and highly efficient, these extraction units feature high efficiency motors for near silent operation and reduced operation energy consumption.
“Efficient extraction will not only reduce the exposure levels of machine operators and other staff to MWF aerosols, but also improve the working environment because coolant vapour will not be condensed on the walls and ceilings,” explains Luke Puplett, YMT Technologies’ Tooling and Equipment Manager.
The severity of any MWF aerosols generated and subsequent exposure depends on a wide variety of factors. In general, the exposure will be higher if the operator is in close proximity to the machine, the operation involves high tool speeds and deep cuts, if the machine is not enclosed, or if extraction equipment was improperly selected or poorly maintained. Additionally, high-pressure and/or excessive fluid application, contamination of the fluid with tramp oils, and improper fluid selection and maintenance will tend to result in higher exposures.
Luke Puplett concludes: “To minimise the potential health risks associated with occupational exposures to metalworking fluids manufacturers need a fluid care plan and a correctly specified extraction system. Choosing the most appropriate filter to meet your needs is simply a matter of contacting YMT, our technicians are available to evaluate the application for free, make the appropriate recommendations and quote the best solution.”