The Environmental Benefits of Magnetic Filters within the Metalworking Industry

Metalworking FluidEnvironmental issues within the manufacturing industry have quickly become a significant consideration for most companies, forcing many to take a more proactive role in developing cleaner manufacturing processes. This is particularly relevant for the metalworking industry wher the waste generated by CNC machines and other precision processes can be considerable and difficult to dispose of. 

With the UK Government ambitiously aiming to slash emissions by 78% by 2035, the green issue is here to stay and leading business owners to investigate more efficient means to meet the demand of lowering the environmental impact of their work. Existing legislation such as the Hazardous Waste Regulation 2005 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 also determine strict procedures.  

Demonstrating Compliance

Demonstrating compliance to environmental standards is vastly becoming the norm among many businesses, with manufacturing organisations in particular putting systems into place that will not only benefit the environment but also reduce costs and improve efficiency.

ISO 14001 is the internationally recognised standard that determines the framework for effective environmental management. It was first published as a standard in 1996, specifying the requirements for an Environmental Management System (EMS), applying environmental aspects that an organisation has control over, and where it can be expected to have an influence. Plus, with its nature of being a generic standard, it can be applied to any organisation irrespective of size and sector.

As well as making positive steps to protecting the environment, ISO 14001 also comes with many financial benefits including cost savings in waste, recycling and consumption, whilst also having a positive effect on corporate or brand image in terms of demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility. Increasingly it is also becoming a pre-requisite for companies when submitting tenders for larger projects.

Metalworking Fluid Efficiency

Minimising waste is one of the more significant issues for the metalworking sector with cutting fluid or CNC coolants and contaminated consumable filter disposal often proving to be one of the most environmentally problematic factors for mechanical processes such as milling, grinding, honing, drilling and tool cutting.

Although these fluids play a vital role in many machining processes - such as impacting productivity, cutting tool life and quality of the workpiece - they can also contain compounds with high ecotoxicity and low biodegradability. Disposing of used oil or coolant or saturated consumable filters is an expensive process and has an adverse effect on the environment. It usually a requirement that this is done by a licensed contractor, but often ends up in landfill sites or heading for incineration.    

During the manufacturing process, used metalworking or cutting fluids become contaminated with oils, fines, metals, and bacteria. If oils and coolants become contaminated this can cause tool breakages, failure to meet surface finish tolerances and abrasive damage to machine parts such as pumps and valves. It can also put operatives at risk from swarf content or bacterial build-up, see our guide to Safe Handling of Metalworking fluids.    

One of the most effective improvements that a manufacturer can make, not just for environmental benefits, but also to improve its health and safety processes, is to extend its cutting and cooling fluid lifespan by cleaning and reusing fluid. By doing so, businesses also enjoy substantial economic benefits with cost savings driven by factors including reduced machine downtime and lengthened tool life.

Magnetic Filters

One effective step that metalworking companies can take to implement a fluid life extension process into the machining is by simply installing a magnetic filter.

Magnetic filtration is a positive contribution to companies’ environmental policies - helping many businesses maintain their ISO 14001 certification - as well as making a major contribution to promoting the safe, environmentally friendly, handling of metalworking fluids. Cleaner fluids also reduce the risk of human contact with metal fines, thereby reducing the risk of cuts, abrasions, and dermatitis.

Traditional filters, such as paper, bag or band filters, can be ineffective at protecting industrial fluids against fine metal particles smaller than 5-10 microns. They also create additional problems with the disposal of the saturated filter. Saturated filters need to be disposed of in a safe and controlled manner, potentially leading to the involvement of a third party, causing additional expenses.

A magnetic filter will effectively remove almost all ferrous contamination from fluid, without the need to regularly replace consumable or disposable media filters, and without having any adverse effects on the fluid's key additives. By reducing the need for consumables, magnetic filtration systems can reduce the environmental impact of metalworking fluid cleaning, The cleaning process is quick and easy, allowing ferrous waste to be safely collected and recycled.

Prolonged Fluid and Equipment Lifespan

Eclipse Magnetics offers an extensive range of magnetic filtration equipment for the manufacturing industry, suited to almost any application. Its patented magnetic filtration or fluid separation systems use high performance magnetic technology to significantly prolonging fluid and equipment life span. The range includes small manual clean magnetic filters up to large fully automated cleaning units.

Easy to install and with a return of investment within as little as one month, magnetic filters are suitable for metalworking machine applications and widely used by industry leaders and precision components manufacturers to enhance production efficiency and protect the environment. Find out more about the range here.

 

"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