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In the metalworking industry, metalworking fluids (MWF) are used to cool and lubricate the machining activity. The metalworking fluids ensure a reduced friction between the tool and the work piece. In addition they prolong the life of the tool, carry away swarfs and protect the surfaces of the work pieces.
The metalworking fluids are a complex mixture, which may contain mineral and/or synthetic oils, additives such as biocides and rust inhibitors etc. as well as contaminants like metal fines, tramp oil and bacteria. When droplets of these metalworking fluids are airborne, it is called oil mist.
Oil mist is caused by metalworking fluids that come into contact with fast rotating tools (e.g. milling and drilling procedures). The oil mist is then dispersed into the air.
In addition to oil mist, oil smoke may appear. These are smaller droplets than oil mist. Due to the high temperatures of the metal parts during machining (e.g. grinding procedures) the MWFs become excessively hot and start to ”burn” and degrade.
The small droplets in the air, to a diameter of approx. 1 μ, are designated as oil mist. Everything with a smaller diameter is considered to be oil smoke.
During machining, oil mist is produced by the interaction of the fluid with the moving parts. When liquid hits fast moving parts, it is thrown back and dispersed as fine droplets. The gaseous state of any liquid is formed as molecules leave (evaporate from) the surface of the liquid. The evaporation increases with low boiling point of the liquid and increased temperature of the fluid. In water based emulsion the evaporation will increase the humidity in the plant. The generation of mists are mainly depending on:
Due to the different types of MWF’s, the composition of the mist is different in most cases, making it difficult to have a single recommended limit for exposure. Most countries make a difference between oil mist derived from water-miscible and mineral oil-based metalworking fluids.
Every country has its own TLV value that will set the standard of the indoor air quality in the plant. The TLV values in the field of coolant mist/smoke are given in mg/m3. The measurement is always taken in or near the breathing zone of the operator. This means that the TLV value will give information about how much coolant mist/smoke is acceptable for the operator to inhale.
In the USA, the OSHA has set the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for mineral oil at 5,0 mg/m3 (10hr TWA). And the NIOSH has a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for all types of MWF at 0,5 mg/m3 (10hr TWA). In Europe, the IFA (formerly known as BGIA) has set the limit on 10 mg/m3 for water-miscible and non-water-miscible metalworking fluids with a flame point greater than 100°C for Germany. The Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS) in France has one of the lowest recommended exposure limits, being 1 mg/m3 of aerosol. Switzerland has a Permissible Exposure Limit for heavy mineral oils with a boiling point of over 350°C of only 0,2 mg/m3. *
In many countries the legislations are not up to the industrial standard or only recommendations. Therefore many multinational companies are setting their own hygienic limit value in own Global Production Standards. The reason for doing this is to make sure that air quality is kept at the best possible level, making sure that production can follow the quality standards in every country where the company is active.
The STV is an accepted short term exposure to the contaminant. Normally for periods not exceeding 15 minutes and repeated maximum 4 times per day with at least 60 minutes between each exposure. Most countries also have regulations for STV but they are not as well-known as the TLV values.
Many metalworking processes generate oil mist, like milling, turning, grinding and drilling. The metalworking fluids form a mist during these processes, the larger drops can enter the nose and trachea and can be swallowed down. The smaller droplets can deposit in the lungs and also cause considerable irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Oil mist and smoke can even contain metal particles with carcinogenic substances. If the mist settles down on the factory floor there will be an increased risk of slipping.
There are not only possible negative effect on humans, it also has a negative effect on your machinery. If the mist settles on the machines, they might be damaged due to corrosion. The sensitive electronics of the machines can also be affected by the mist. This can lead to high maintenance costs.
If the machines and surroundings are not properly maintained, the settled oil mist might increase not only the risk a fire hazard but also a bacteria and mold growth which will cause hygienic problems. Therefore, effective detection, filtration and elimination of oil mist is so important!
*) Source: https://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr1044.pdf (Chapter 1.2)
An oil mist collector is a device used to capture and filter the oil mist generated by various industrial processes to prevent it from contaminating the air and potentially causing health and safety hazards. It typically consists of a filter element, fan, and collection container. The oil mist is drawn into the collector, where it is separated and captured by the filter, and clean air is then released back into the environment.
Plymovent offers extraction and filtration systems for effective removal of mist from metalworking fluids.
Modular filter systems offer several benefits for CNC machineries:
Overall, the use of modular filter systems in CNC machineries can improve air quality, enhance worker safety, extend the lifespan of machines, and reduce operating costs.
Would you like to know more about oil mist removal systems? Then don’t hesitate to contact us!
Just call +31 (0)72 7504 600, send an email to email@example.com, or fill out the contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
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