Coolant fluid is an essential part of any manufacturing process. It keeps machine parts from overheating, which not only allows work to continue uninterrupted, but it also extends the life of the machine. Cooling your equipment eliminates the need to frequently replace parts, and lengthens the cycle between repair sessions.
Coolant can be passed over hot machines, or it can be passed through heated pipes. In the process, it picks up a lot of contaminants. It could be dirt from inside the pipes or debris that accumulates outside the machine in the course of use.
This fluid needs to be cleaned after it has done its work. Some kinds of coolant can be recycled, but others are unfit for reuse, so they need to be discarded. Even if they are headed for disposal, these coolants need to be cleaned so that they don’t spread toxic materials into the disposal chain.
There are two main ways of cleaning coolant fluid. You can skim off the contaminants, or you can treat the fluid to get rid of unwanted material. In the past, skimming was a time consuming manual process that many labourers skipped altogether. Today, it’s a lot easier. Skimmers can be made of synthetic fabric, or they can be made from adhesive metal.
Modern media that is used to skim coolants can be quite fine, and it can catch particles ranging from 5 microns to 150 microns. The filter material can be carefully placed on top of the coolant so that it catches any contaminants and leaves the coolant clean. Other times, coolant is passed through these fibre filters. The filters absorb oil products, retain solid particles, and let the coolant through.
Filtration media is made using many different materials including polyester, nylon, and polypropylene. These constituents are suitable enough to be used in 100% formulations. Other materials are sometimes blended to get the right consistency. Polyester is often combined with viscose. Another common filter material is felt fibre made by fusing polyester and polypropylene.
If your coolant has oil floating in it, you can use a stainless steel oil skimmer to get rid of the contaminant. This type of coolant filtration has a sump that can harvest the oil and keep it for recycling, so it doesn’t all go to waste.
The oil skimmer works by submerging the stainless steel skimmer belt inside the coolant fluid. The oil attaches to this belt, and as the belt moves, it deposits the oil into the sump, leaving the coolant clean and oil-free. This kind of oil skimmer is quite efficient, and it can clean up to 10 litres of oil every minute.
The second kind of coolant filter uses a vacuum chamber to pull the contaminants out of the coolant liquid. The coolant fluid passes through a trough that has a wire conveyor belt lined with filtration fibre. A centrifugal blower powers an exhauster which create a vacuum beneath the trough, and this vacuum sucks clean coolant into a pipe that deposits it in a tank below. The belt then moves the dried cake to separate collection bin.
This coolant cleaner has two types of filtration fabrics. The first cleans the air from the blower before it comes in contact with the coolant, to prevent the air from further contaminating the coolant. The second filter cleans the coolant before it gets sucked into the storage sump. From there, the clean coolant can be pumped to its final destination. The whole system operates through triggers based on pressure changes inside the machine.
The third type of coolant technology is the magnetic drum filter. It specifically separates coolant fluid from metal particles, and it can have up to 8 ceramic magnets inside a rotating drum. At the top of the drum, a scraper collects the metallic particles while the coolant is redirected to another chamber for recycling. Both the drum and the scraper are made of stainless steel. This resists rust and oxidation while amplifying the magnets. The scraper is spring loaded, to help it deliver the ferrous particles to a collection bin.
Coolant filters can be manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic. The automation here refers to the machine chamber cleaning (or not cleaning) itself after use. These different kinds of technology – centrifuges, rotating drums, magnetic plates, conveyor belts, vacuum chambers, and filter media – can work together to render any coolant suitable for reuse or environmentally friendly disposal.