Is your cutting fluid operator friendly?

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All cutting fluids have, to a greater or lesser extent, the potential to cause health issues for machine operators. These risks are based on the external (skin) or internal contact involved in machining work; including the touching of parts and tooling, being splashed by the fluid, having mist settle on the skin or via the inhalation of mist.

The key to minimising this risk is the full evaluation of the machining operation; this process starts with the selection of the most suitable cutting fluid.

Considerations when choosing an operator friendly cutting fluid are:

  • Does the fluid contain skin sensitisers?
  • Does the fluid contain formaldehyde release biocides?
  • Is the fluid labelled as a skin irritant?

If the answer was yes to any of the above, you may wish to consider an alternative.

Whilst there are many other factors that affect overall safety, the selection of an operator friendly cutting fluid is a good starting point.

It must be remembered however, that a cutting fluid must be able to cope with the challenges of operating in an environment where micro-biologic contamination is the norm. Operator friendly cutting fluids must therefore be capable of resisting bacterial degradation without the use of biocide release agents. A good operator friendly cutting fluid will be biostable and will not normally require the use of a tank-side biocide addition, therefore further enhancing its operator safety profile.

As indicated above, fluid formulation is just one aspect of creating a safe working environment when using cutting fluid. Consideration must also be given to establishing a regular condition monitoring regime; checking pH, dilution, contamination levels etc. to ensure that the fluid remains in good condition and is operating within the manufacturer’s recommended parameters. For peace of mind you can engage a free lubrication management

To further ensure that that safe working conditions are maintained it is important to remember that even the best maintained system will, at some point, require cleaning. This is due to the presence of dissolved metallic ions and the accumulation of machining debris within the sump.

The ROCOL® ULTRACUT® EVO range of operator friendly cutting fluids contain no skin sensitising agents, no formaldehyde release biocides or nitrites. Due to their very economical dilution range, the concentration of any fluid that contacts an operator’s skin during operation or cleaning is minimised. The range includes a product to suit all material types and machining operations.

There is an increased scrutiny of and confusion over MWFs currently in the market. If you have any questions on what you should or shouldn’t be using in your CNC machines then please get in touch and our expert technicians will gladly assist. Get in touch!

Article updated on 07/09/2021.

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