Oil Skimmer Extends Life of Parts Washer Fluid and Ends Recontamination

Like many metal working shops, Anderson Screw Products of Jamestown, New York turned to aqueous parts cleaning because of limits imposed by the EPA on the discharge of emissions and wastes.

Anderson operates a 50,000 square foot plant with 65 machines, including a dozen or so parts washers – Magnus dip tanks filled with a mixture of water and cleaning compound. The cleaning compound utilizes and oil/water separation chemistry. But after three or four weeks, there was so much oil on the surface that parts were recontaminated when removed from the parts washer.

To solve this problem, Anderson installed a Mighty Mini® belt skimmer manufactured by Abanaki Corporation, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The skimmer’s belt is operated by a motor and pulley system, which keeps it in motion whenever the unit is activated. The design uses the difference in specific gravity and surface tension between oil and water to pick up oil, grease and other hydrocarbon liquids as the belt passes through the wash water. After the belt passes passes over the drive pulley, it travels through tandem wiper blades where the oil is removed into a discharge channel. The oil then flows into a coolant saving Abanaki Oil Concentrator® where any residual water picked up with the oil is separated and sent back to the wash tank. The water-free oil is then discharged into a waste oil container.

The trial use of the Abanaki unit proved that oil skimming could extend the life of parts washer fluid by several weeks. The average time between fluid replacements is now three to four months. With this improvement, Anderson has quickly recovered the cost of the Abanaki Mighty Mini. Additionally, since installing the Mighty Mini into a small cavity in the tank’s cover, recontamination of washed parts has ceased to be a problem.

Edited for length: Published in Modern Machine Shop