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Over the years, metalworking fluids have been one of constant changing chemistries

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Coolants & Lubricants Unfolding chemical process optimisation

Apr 26, 2017

Today, the chemical industry sector is one of the most regulated sectors in terms of health, safety and environmental protection. Simultaneously, users also need cost-effective high performance solutions aligned to their own product technology advancements. The article explains how chemical partners can provide a systematic approach in identifying & developing suitable solutions in tune with today’s quality and environmental responsibilities.

Chemical Process Optimisation is a methodology in which all the interlinking chemical process steps of a plant are optimally coordinated with each other all the way from the design and development to actual implementation. CCPP (Cut Clean Protect & Pack) Solution Engineering is a unique approach which harmonises technologies and expertise to create value. The overall objective of this proposition enables customers to delegate performance ownership of their operations right from raw material stage up to finished product stage to one partner. While they can focus on their core processes without worrying about the chemistries interacting with their parts, a team of experts from the partner works on a module to map, study, suggest & implement optimisations in processes, products and technologies.

The CCPP Solution Programme begins with understanding technical & commercial needs. After in-depth study, chemistry expert team recommends cost-effective process optimisations and value-based product recommendations. A joint action plan is prepared for a Product Benefit Demonstration (PBD) and subsequent steps carried out by dedicated service team under the supervision of chemistry expert team and customer representatives. On completion of the PBD, technical teams manage replication & monitor success even after the PBD and Kaizen or continual improvement process is initiated. Any solution should ensure tangible value benefit in productivity or CPC reduction; integration with existing systems & processes; 100% elimination of performance or quality problems; economic usage of products; HSE & Environmental adherence; ease of application, implementation & usage; meeting the objectives of customer’s customer and synergise qualitative improvements.

Typically in manufacturing, a component journeys through various stages of operations right from raw material to finished goods. The first and foremost common step is actual component manufacturing by metal cutting/removal or forming. Additionally, there can be processes, like hardening, quenching, buffing, plating, painting, etc. Before dispatch to the customer, these components are rust protected and packed. To ensure efficient protection, the components surfaces need to be as clean as possible. All these operations involve usage of chemicals of diverse chemistries and at times several suppliers. Harmony between all these chemicals is crucial but often neglected till the time failures and rejections occur.

Let’s talk about four main stages & how to optimise & harmonise in details:

Cutting

Neat cutting: Neat oil cutting technology embodies usage of Hydro Cracked Group II base oils, which provides the basis of its superior anti-oxidation properties combined with chlorine free extreme pressure & anti-wear additives in one single extraordinary process. Group II base oils are refined using a hydro-processing method known as ‘hydro treating’ that reduces its sulphur content to less than 0.03% and increase its hydrocarbon saturation to levels of 90% and above.

Due to inherent benefits of this, most European machine manufacturers have approved the use of these oils in their machines.

Water soluble cutting: HSE has always been a prime focus in metal working industry. Over the years, metalworking fluids have been one of constant changing chemistries. As new worker-safety rules that limit particulates, chlorinated paraffins, and exposure levels have taken effect, lubricant providers have had to significantly modify formulations. The new age water soluble fluids makes use of advanced surfactant technology, buffer bio-stability technology and chlorine-free ester based EP additives, which are tuned to the different processes and types of metal.

Clean

Intermediate cleaning or parts cleaning is becoming more and more essential to many industrial processes, as a prelude to painting, plating, phosphating, assembly, welding, rust protection & packaging. In recent times with awareness amongst users, mild alkaline cleaners are being preferred over conventional high alkaline cleaners that are generally sodium or potassium hydroxide-based chemicals.

Protect

Several studies over the past 30 years have shown that cost of corrosion to industrial economy is quite high and it is approximately 3.1% to the country’s GDP. Today, as companies seek ways to reduce costs yet maintain quality in all stages of manufacture, storage and shipment, innovative solutions for corrosion control are a need of the hour. Corrosion is inevitable but with modern advanced technology, we can prevent it. Effective & efficient protection products are based on the Contact Corrosion Inhibition Technology (CCI) giving excellent protection in areas of high humidity and temperature. In conventional oils and greases, molecules lack polarity allowing oxidising elements to permeate results in corrosion and rejection. Protection products with polar molecules create a barrier & do not allow any oxidising elements to permeate, which will increase the lifespan of a part, as well as reduce maintenance and replacement costs.

Pack

Export packaging, OEM and JIT packaging, packaging for the replacement market, in process protection, long term preservation require the usage of VCI products. The main benefits of the VCI technology lie in its ability to self-apply and dissipate and are based on the combined principles of polarity and volatility. When metals are in the vicinity of VCI products, the chemicals volatise in the enclosed environment and form a protective molecular layer, which prevents moisture, salt, dirt, oxygen and other materials from depositing on the metals and inhibits corrosion. There are two main product categories — VCI papers and VCI film.

The technology is based on the concept of volatility and polarity, where volatile ‘V’ components are added to corrosion inhibiting ‘CI’ components. The VCI molecules align on the surface of the metal to a depth of 3-5 molecules and form a layer. This layer passivates the surface and creates a barrier that prevents oxidation resulting in corrosion prevention for the required period of time.

Factors affecting the effectiveness of VCI products:

  • Quality of corrosion inhibiting chemicals and their effectiveness on the metals.

  • Water solubility / effectiveness of the corrosion inhibitor in the presence of moisture and/or high humidity.

  • Ratio of chemicals in the formulation or Amount of VCI on the carrier (paper, poly, etc).

  • Carrier (natural neutral kraft paper or polyethylene film) used.

  • The overall packaging design and the conditions expected during packing, shipping and storing.

Conclusion

Chemical industry sector is one of the most regulated (REACH, GHS/CLP, OSHA) as regards health, safety and environmental protection, as well as climate change and energy issues. On the other hand, the users need cost effective high performance solutions which are in tandem with their own product technology advancements. The impetus is on the chemicals partner to provide a systematic approach in identifying & developing suitable solutions in tune with today’s quality and environmental responsibilities. It can be seen in the metal working fluids technologies moving to products based on natural gas, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel which is affordable, available and environmentally acceptable.

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