Because of economic and environmental issues, an increasing number of manufacturers are gravitating towards minimal quantity lubrication (MQL) in their metalcutting operations. MQL does not require the complex circulation, filtration and testing systems required with flood coolant systems, and does not present traditional coolants’ toxic waste disposal and environmental issues. Fluid consumption is a tiny fraction of flood systems, and the low fluid volumes and precise control of MQL permit elimination of many post-process part, tool and shop cleaning efforts.
In contrast to emulsion-based flood coolant processes, MQL consists of high pressure air delivering a very small amount of vegetable – or alcohol-based lubricant – usually 50 ml per hour or less, to the cutting zone. As such, MQL reduces friction, cools the cutting process and extends tool life to a greater extent than flood or through-tool coolants.
In some cases MQL lowers machining cycle times by 25-85 percent and facilitates chip evacuation to benefit part surface finishes. Employee health issues are also minimized because MQL lubricants generally are plant-based fluids that don’t precipitate problems with fungus, bacteria, dermatitis and other afflictions. The small quantities of fluid involved result in dry shop equipment and floors and reduced cleaning requirements overall. The MQL concentration is adjustable to minimize maintenance and fluid expense and fine-tune the lubrication/cooling balance.
MQL is widely used to minimize post-machining part and shop cleaning. It continues to gain in popularity with automotive, medical and aerospace manufacturers, among others.
Because it channels and expedites fluid flow to the cutting zone, the toolholder is a key component in the application of MQL. To address growing demand for MQL technology, REGO-FIX has developed MQL capability for its powRgrip (PG) toolholding system. REGO-FIX offers standardized MQL PG collets for DIN69090-3 tool shanks and HSK-A 63 and HSK-E 40 toolholders. The tooling is designed for use in one-channel, internal through-spindle coolant supply systems.
The REGO-FIX PG MQL solution uses a coolant tube featuring a lance that directs the MQL mixture through the collet and directly to the tool to maximize efficient, reliable MQL distribution. The coolant tubes are engineered to match the holder length, and the lance configuration ensures turbulence-free delivery of the MQL mixture to the cutting edge.
Users can employ a standard PG holder and change to MQL by adding the appropriate extension tube and MQL collet, while preserving the holding power and precision of the powRgrip system. The standard PG holder provides excellent vibration damping and maintains total indicated runout of less than 0.0001″ through five years or 20,000 cycles with no erosion of its impregnated surface treatment. Because MQL is a special application, REGO-FIX has standardized its MQL technology to ensure its ability to adapt to different tool shank ends and make it more accessible for an extended variety of metalworking shops and applications. Careful, highly controlled application of MQL technology together with REGO-FIX tooling will help a shop reduce expense, enhance environmental responsibility and boost productivity.