People use cutting fluid in the metal cutting industry to decrease the friction between cutting and drilling equipment and reduce the heat generated in cutting zones. As a result, the overall lifespan of equipment increases, saving money and making the workplace a little safer. However, for you and your equipment to reap the most benefits from the lubricant, you have to learn how to choose the right metal cutting fluid.
What Type of Material Are You Working With?
The material you’re cutting will significantly affect the type of oil you need and the additives that need to be present in them. Soft metals, such as aluminum, call for a water-based cutting fluid and have higher cooling properties. Meanwhile, hard metals, such as titanium, need more oil than water. Additionally, some metals, whether hard or soft, have low machinability. This means the lubricant you choose must stay stable under high pressure and should have anti-welding capabilities.
What Type of Cutting Tools Are You Using?
The material of the tools you’re using and the machining speed will also affect the type of cutting fluid you choose. For example, some tools have special coatings or grinding materials that aren’t suitable or compatible with every cutting fluid. Additionally, implements made of hard metals like tungsten carbide need much stronger cooling properties, as they can be very heat conductive. When reviewing the different types of metal cutting fluid, pay attention to their water-to-oil ratio and cooling ability.
What Is the Speed of Your Application?
In lower-speed applications, lubrication is the most important aspect of cutting fluid, whereas cooling is the most important in high-speed applications. Again, thinner, water-based oils are better at quickly cooling and dispersing heat. However, thicker lubricants don’t tend to dwell in one area and don’t disperse heat as efficiently. Choose the wrong viscosity, and your oil or work interface can end up overheating, smoking, and possibly combusting.
Now that you know how to choose the right cutting fluid for metal work, which one is best for your application? If you’re unsure, speak with your local lubricant wholesaler, or review the OEM instructions. Speaking with a knowledgeable professional and consulting the given handbook are never bad ideas.