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MicroMag Magnetic Filter Boosts Gripple’s Tool Life by 50%

Gripple has enjoyed a 50% increase in tool life and 44% reduction in downtime on its Star sliding head CNC machine by installing a MicroMag magnetic filter from Eclipse Magnetics. As a global business with sales offices all over the world, Gripple manufactures its products in Sheffield from EN1A (Leaded) Steel. In order to satisfy its’ environmental commitments, Gripple was keen to maximise efficiency and reduce waste on the machine, which included exploring ways to prolong coolant life, and enable the coolant flow system to work as efficiently as possible.

Gripple employee Jake Slaughter said: “The MicroMag is a great addition to the machine and really improves the way it runs. In the long term, I estimate that the company will be able to produce a lot more components with MicroMag units installed on all of the machines. We’ll also be able to cut labour hours drastically; reducing the time that production is stopped due to changing tools or cleaning the bottom tanks.”

Previously, a significant amount of swarf metal regularly built up in the bottom tank of the CNC machine, which needed to be cleaned on a regular basis. The cleaning process required the machining process to be stopped and manually cleaned out by operatives at Gripple, resulting in downtime and frequent exposure to the contaminated coolant. In addition, small swarf chippings were making their way into the coolant flow system and compromising tool life. Gripple was, therefore, looking for a way to improve this.

Prolonging Cutting Tool Life

Gripple employee Jerome Whyte said: “The MicroMag is very effective. During the trial run we conducted on one of our machines, we noticed a significant difference to the coolant quality that was being pumped around the coolant flow system. Obviously, this is great for prolonging the life of the cutting tools because it means that we are cutting the raw material using a much cleaner, and more consistent coolant flow.

Since the installation of the MicroMag, we have seen a big reduction in the amount of swarf being deposited in the bottom tanks. This allows our yearly production value to be more efficient because we don’t have to empty the bottom tank as frequently.

When we clean the bottom tank, which we would usually do every month or so, the machine can be down from between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Since we installed the MicroMag, which was just 3 months before our big clean at Christmas just before shut down, we noticed a huge difference in the volume of swarf accumulated in the bottom tanks of the machines compared with the machines that didn’t have a MicroMag fitted.

Easy Clean Magnet

The magnet is also very easy to clean. All you have to do is stop the machine to allow the coolant to drain, and then simply unscrew the cover to expose the magnet. Once the cover is off you can easily lift the magnet out of its case, put into a non-magnetic box, and use the tool provided to scrape off all the swarf it has collected. Once the magnet is free of swarf you can then quickly put the magnet back into the centre of the base, and screw the cover back on. It only takes 5 minutes to clean the swarf collected off the MicroMag and re-attach the magnet back into place.”

The MicroMag Magnetic Filter

The MicroMag magnetic filter is suitable for a variety of machining applications, allowing contaminated coolant to enter the inlet port where it is dispersed by the unique tapered radial flow channels. The coolant then passes down the outside of the centrally mounted rare earth magnetic core which captures the contamination particles.

The geometry of the magnetic flux circuit means that contamination builds up in a controlled way, ensuring that the filter can never block, regardless of how much contamination is held. Channels remain open allowing the fluid to flow freely, with filtered fluid flowing through the return slots located in the upper section of the magnetic core, down through the centre, and then exiting through the outlet port. The MM10 installed on Gripple’s CNC machine has a max flow rate of 100 litres per minute and a capacity of 2kg.

Jake Slaughter continues: “Because the MicroMag cleans the fluid by removing ferrous parts, it doesn’t have an effect on brass, and therefore doesn’t stop it from getting into the coolant flow system. This is something we had accounted for, and we still believe the MicroMag is a great thing to have installed on the machines due to the amount of steel we use compared to the brass material. Brass is much lighter and far easier to remove from the bottom tanks.

On another positive note, the MicroMag effectively separates the steel from the brass. This means that when we change the machine production to different components and materials, we can keep all of our waste material separate and not mix the steel with the brass. This saves us even more money due to the difference in value between steel waste and brass waste.”

Gripple as a Business

Established in 1989, Gripple is a globally recognised manufacturer; delivering innovative, value-added solutions to construction and agricultural markets. Employing over 800 people across 15 locations throughout the world, the company manufactures at four sites in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, with additional sales hubs located in Chicago, Obernai, Warsaw, Toronto, New Delhi and Kobe.

Gripple is a 100% employee-owned company with a unique approach to business, characterised by investment in people, innovation and sustainable growth. One of its most iconic products, the Gripple wire joiner, is a device used to join and tension wire, to terminate and suspend wires and wire ropes, and also to support false ceilings, cable baskets, and similar items.

As a global manufacturer, Gripple takes its responsibility to reduce impact on the planet very seriously. In recent years, the company has maximised energy efficiency, decreased electricity use, reduced landfill/incinerated waste, increased recycling, conserved its use of raw materials, and minimised packaging. Gripple's commitment to ‘greener’ long term investment is also characterised by the recent renovation of its Riverside Works factory in Sheffield, UK, which features over 400 solar panels, the first river water heating system in the region, the world’s largest aquaponics green wall system in a factory, and an evaporative cooling system.

"We were delighted with the service provided by Eclipse Magnetics; from the initial site survey through to delivery."

Adrian Seeley, Production Supervisor at AB MAURI UK & Ireland

"I cannot begin to tell you how much it has helped our operation, the magnetic filtration unit has been a real problem solver it has surpassed all our expectations. Its cured a 30 year plague!"

Maintenance Manager at EXL Tube (Steel Ventures)

"This technology is economical, reliable and efficient. I believe that magnetic filtration technology is the future."

John Smith, MMTCI

"Magnetic filtration has dramatically cleaned up our fluids and improved the surface finish we can offer. It extracts around 50Kg per day of ferrous waste."

Facilities Manager, Milacron Machines (Sub-Contract Machining)

"We chose Eclipse Magnetics to supply our housed grid because they are a respected and well-established brand. They offered us a very competitive price, and the process of ordering and installation was straightforward and reliable."

Pat Richards, Chief Engineer at Simpsons Malt

“We are delighted with the Automag installation; it’s solved all the problems we were having previously with downtime and maintenance costs. The filter means that we are able to use recycled water, which is saving us £1000 per week!”

Kenneth McRae, Principle Engineer at Vallourec

"Here at Qualflow, we base our business on a philosophy of make the product simple to use, reliable and cost-effective. Eclipse Magnetics’ neodymium magnets offer the strongest magnetic performance, and are nickel plated, making them a cost effective.."

Justin Lawler Ph.D. MBA, Chief Technology Officer at Qualflow Systems Ltd

"The Ultralift Plus magnetic lifter from Eclipse Magnetics is the perfect solution for the pick-up and transportation of the ultrasonic calibration blocks in our facility"

John Crossley, NDT Technology Lead at the Nuclear AMRC

"The result is an aesthetically pleasing system, which is effective in trapping metal contaminants and is easy to clean..."

Ian Aunger at Roquette