Honing Oil: Filtration or Separation. Which is Best?

Good Honing Oil Filtration or the lack of it has a major impact on production and component quality. Here we take a look at the options.

Today more than ever the manufacturing process needs to be a streamlined and efficient as possible. Production managers know this and are always searching out new ways to minimise operating costs yet produce components at a faster rate without compromising quality. Honing, already a high precision process, has its own challenges but is no exception to this rule.

First port of call is often centred around the variables in the process such as the metalworking fluid and the honing stone materials. While this may improve production in the short term changing the variables only treats the symptoms. Therefore a better route is to find a solution for the underlying issue.

For example short honing stone life could be tackled by selecting another grade. Alternatively the metalworking fluid can be changed for another type. As a result these actions may give some short-term benefit. However if the underlying cause is dirty fluid returning to the operating zone eventually any benefits will be eroded. The loop to find a remedy will begin again. The long term solution, also ultimately the most cost effective one, is to ensure that feed fluid to the process contains no chips or debris. 

Using clean fluid it is possible that less-expensive tooling could be used, thereby reducing operating costs. Additional benefits will follow. A better filter which uses no consumable media will reduce disposal costs. Clean fluids last longer reducing makeup fluid cost. Clean machine sumps require less maintenance so the overall operating costs can be substantially reduced. Addressing the problem of a poor filter system, instead of treating the symptoms caused, will always prove the better option.

Honing Oil Filtration v Separation

Essentially there are two ways to ensure clean fluid back to process either by filtration or separation. These are not the same. Separation requires no consumable media, it uses characteristics of the materials to be separated to achieve its goal. Usually a difference in specific gravity between the carrier fluid and the particulate to be separated is all that is needed. The more viscous the carrier fluid then eventually particles may be suspended, at this point filtration may be the best route forward. Provided that the specific gravity of the particles to be separated outweigh that of the carrier fluid then separation is a viable option.

Filtration always needs some type of non-permeable media such as filter paper or cartridges. Often these are consumable items which need periodic replacement at a cost. Therefore not only will there be a lifetime cost to replace consumable media there may be other issues related to disposal. Waste from the process mixed with the remains of paper-band can be more expensive to dispose of, this must be factored in when researching a system.

In conclusion our separators are devoid of any added contaminants such as paper-band of the remains of other filter aids Therefore the waste sludge from the honing process is easier to dispose of.

One such separator is the Vivex Decantor. The system uses a clever two channel system of lamella packages to separate particulate, one in a motionless volume. This allows the smallest particles down to 15µ to be separated with the option down to 3µ if needed. Consumable filter aids are not required, the lamella packages are self cleaning and will never need replacing.

Intended as a central system for a number of honing machines, filtration equipment at each machine can be removed to be replaced by a simple vortex return tank. The unit operates 24/7 automatically to provide clean honing oil while collecting separated debris and sludge in one container.

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