Cutting fluids play an essential role in the machining process. Cutting fluids are coolants that are designed specifically for use in metalworking and machining applications.
Cutting fluids come in all different consistencies and types. Choosing the right cutting fluid for your application is always important. Today, we’re going to explain why cutting fluids help and how you can easily buy the right cutting fluids for your unique application needs.
Cutting fluids play three essential roles in machining applications, including:
-They provide lubrication: Lubrication is always important in machining. Lubrication reduces friction, which creates less heat. Less heat means faster machining cycle times and better dimensional capabilities, which mean a more efficient workplace for you.
-They help remove heat: No matter how much lubrication is used, heat will still be produced. A good cutting fluid helps to capture and remove frictional heat from the machine, which is always an important quality for metalworking fluids.
-They prevent the welding of workplace material onto the tool: The pressure of the workpiece against the tool combined with heat can cause material to build up on the tool. Cutting fluids include an ‘anti-weld’ film that prevents the welding of workplace material onto the tool.
In addition to the jobs listed above, cutting fluids can also help reduce corrosion on the workpiece and flush away chips. Essentially, cutting fluids cool and lubricate the workpiece in order to create an efficient machining environment.
Cutting fluids work slightly differently from other lubricants. In most machining applications, high temperatures and pressures make it impossible for the cutting fluid to sustain a complete liquid film between the cutting tool and the workpiece material.
Instead of trying to create that film, cutting fluids are used as ‘boundary lubricants’. That means additives in the cutting fluid react chemically with the materials being used in order to form compounds on the surface of the material. These compounds reduce friction and cool the materials in order to create a more efficient machining application.
Buying cutting fluids is relatively simply. Cutting fluids can be compared based on two important qualities:
-Look for cutting fluids that increase the alkalinity of a fluid and reduce the tendency to create rust
-Look for cutting fluids that have the ability to coat the surfaces of the machine tool and workpiece to form a physical barrier to prevent chemical reactions from taking place (this also reduces rust)
In addition, when shopping for cutting fluids in machining operations that generate a large amount of chips, buyers should also consider the ability of the cutting fluid to flush away chips. A constant flushing action prevents chips from scratching or damaging machined surfaces. This property is particularly useful for applications involving deep hole drilling, and gun drilling.
Ultimately, a good cutting fluid will:
-Keep the workpiece at a stable temperature
-Maximize the life of the cutting tip through lubrication
-Ensure the safety of the people handling the machine by reducing bacteria, toxicity, fungi, etc.
-Prevent rust on machine parts, work pieces, and materials
By finding a cutting fluid with all of these properties, buyers can ensure a safe and efficient work environment.