This powerhouse Motor Manufacturing Company has built and delivered various mobility solutions, since 1903. The company has established an international presence in over 125 countries around the world, with the engine plant situated in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.
During operation, the engine plant utilises machining centres to manufacture the engine blocks and consequently experienced an alarming high number of tool replacements on the machining centres. When a tool breakage occurs, not only is the current engine block discarded, but the machining centre is also placed out of production to allow for a tool replacement – resulting in costly downtime.
It was evident that the cutting tool suffers overheating damage due to the lack of cutting fluid and may cause the extensive number of tool failures. Contaminated cutting fluid, results in a blockage in the narrow cooling fluid canals within the cutting tool, causing the tool to overheat. The primary function of cutting fluid is to cool the tool – primarily at high cutting speeds – by reducing the heat generated during machining and in essence, act as a lubricant at the friction zone to prolong tool life. The machine is at risk of fluid flow blockages caused by the damaging effects of particle contamination. In some cases, the central supply of cutting fluid is distributed to individual machine tools via a pump and piping system. It is therefore of paramount importance that the cutting fluid is passed through a filtering process to remove any contaminants and particulates which may cause fluid flow blockages and premature failures.
It is not uncommon for cutting tool applications to generate heat. It is, however, important to counteract the heat to extend the life of the cutting tool. Without the necessary provisions, heat softens the tool’s cutting edges, resulting in premature breakage – or worse – damage to the machining centre.
The loss of a part or machine due to a tool breakage can significantly impact customer production. As a result, every minute the machine is out of operation, the plant’s productivity and overall bottom-line is sacrificed. Given the strict automotive safety precautions, it makes sense to implement safeguards to protect these assets.
Together with the forward-thinking site manager, FloSolve implemented a fluid filtration trial by installing a high efficiency Pall filter to the machining centre’s cooling fluid supply line.
The objective of the filtration trial was to measure and compare the number of tool replacements and hours of machine downtime over a 30-day period. The same machine data was compared over a similar period prior to the filtration installed.
Prior to the trial, this specific machine averaged alarmingly high tool replacements. After the 30-day trial period, the data concluded a nearly 80% improvement on machine downtime and tool replacements. The machine had significantly less tool replacements, resulting in extended machine uptime, consequently outperforming similar machines in the plant.