Coolant, milk, water, sauce, coolant. The common names for cooling lubricant (KSS) are many and varied. Just as diverse is the handling of cooling lubricant. Yet it is an important component in machining and has a central influence on productivity.
Today's status - manual measurements
Today, companies in the machining industry usually measure the concentration of the cooling lubricant weekly with a manual refractometer. The measured values are written down on a sheet of paper behind the machine. Overall, however, very little attention is paid to the cooling lubricant.
Each emulsion has a certain range for optimal machining results. However, these manual measurements are time-consuming and often neglected. The hand refractometer must first be calibrated with water, then the Brix value of the coolant emulsion is measured and if the coolant used has a refractometer factor not equal to 1, the Brix value must be multiplied by this factor. In the end, the reasons for insufficient surface quality, tool wear or machine defects are not assigned to the cooling lubricant because there is too little knowledge about the correlations. In addition, depending on the metal or machining (milling, drilling, grinding), a different concentration is most effective. However, many coolant manufacturers only specify a general range in which the concentration should lie. This means that optimum machining results are not always available.
But it is precisely the concentration that is a central factor in machining. If you take care of the cooling lubricant by regularly measuring and monitoring the concentration (and other parameters), you have great leverage in production. A regularly monitored cooling lubricant brings these advantages:
- Better human compatibility
- More stable machining processes
- Improved surface quality
- Lower consumption of cooling lubricant
- Longer tool and machine life
- Less foam is formed, which means the coolant works better
Smart coolant management
This is exactly where Liquidtool comes in with its smart cooling lubricant management. It is the world's first intelligent solution for monitoring cooling lubricants, which is put into operation via plug & play and automatically, simply and reliably monitors the condition of cooling lubricants. Thanks to the connection to a cloud-based platform (Liquidtool Manager), the measured values can be retrieved at any time and from anywhere. With the Liquidtool Manager, companies in the metalworking industry can easily take the next steps towards digitalisation and Industry 4.0.
Together with the Liquidtool Sensor, the Liquidtool Manager makes data collection easy. Thanks to Plug & Play, commissioning the sensor is simple and intuitive: the highly integrative sensor is magnetically attached to the machine to be monitored, connected to the company WLAN or LAN and operated with the associated app via tablet, smartphone or computer.
Automatic measurement and evaluation of the cooling lubricant
The sensor for metal-cutting machines is compatible with cooling lubricants from all manufacturers and monitors them automatically. The Liquidtool sensor regularly takes cooling lubricant from the machine tank and measures the sample with the built-in refractometer and thermometer. It securely stores the collected values on the associated platform, allowing deviations to be detected at an early stage. Thanks to an intelligent notification system, the user receives immediate notification when a measured value approaches a limit. This allows the user to take corrective action in good time before major problems occur. Other values such as the pH value, nitrite content and water hardness can be added manually by users. Reliable, regular measurement forms the basis for stabilising and optimising processes, increasing efficiency and identifying problems at an early stage. This in turn can reduce machine downtime and contributes to a longer service life of the cooling lubricant and tools.
Cloud-based platform for maximum flexibility in monitoring
The data collected by the sensor is stored and analysed in the cloud-based Liquidtool Manager. The manager provides secure access to all current and historical measurement data - in real time and from various devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers. The stored data can be displayed and downloaded directly in the Liquidtool Manager in various graphs, statistics and reports.
If certain measured values are outside the defined bandwidth, the Liquidtool Manager immediately sends a notification to the user so that he or she can recognise the problem at an early stage and remedy it.
First results from practice
The Liquidtool Manager and Sensor are already in use with several customers. These include well-known Swiss companies such as Bystronic, delmet and Paoluzzo. The first experiences are very positive and the customers report the following benefits:
- Fewer days lost by employees due to better compatibility.
- Less stench in the workshop
- Reduction of rejects and fewer customer complaints due to more stable processes
- Up to 40% less consumption of cooling lubricant
- Higher machine availability and longer tool life and thus greater productivity
- Less foaming, which means that the coolant works better
- Less time and effort spent on manual measurements and collation of data Savings of up to 80% in administration costs
It is planned that Liquidtool's smart coolant management will be available in the DACH region in Q4 2021. Later, the solution will also be available in the international wholesale markets in North America or Asia and other important industrial countries.