CNC Machine Skimmer Extends Coolant Life

Clears machine shop’s smoky environment

Six months ago, Tom Zovko, owner of Cleveland, OH-based Z&Z Manufacturing, a producer of hydraulic fittings and special screw-machine products, couldn’t see across his 15,000 sq. ft. machine shop. The smoke generated by his CNC machining operations was not only polluting the environment but consuming much of his profits. That’s when Zovko contacted Abanaki Corp. for a solution.

Founded in 1980, Z&Z makes a wide variety of fittings for hydraulic pipe, hoses, and welding equipment. Products include British/metric fittings in steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, Monel, plastic, and various other castings.

The company’s machines use way-lube oil to prevent rust and ensure smooth operation, and a coolant for easy cutting at high speeds. Engineers had just one problem: With the oil and coolant concentrated in the same area, the end result was a smoke-filled atmosphere that was unsafe for workers and violated EPA regulations.

Beyond Coolant Changes

Zovko tried changing the coolant daily in an attempt to separate the lubricant from the coolant. This didn’t work, and it cost Z&Z thousands of dollars in CNC coolant, downtime and labor charges.

What to do? Try tested technology. successfully operating the Abanaki Mighty Mini in his machine shop, Zovko decided it was time to add another. The CNC machine skimmer’s belt is operated by a motor and pulley system that 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.

The 1″ belt can remove up to 1 gal of oil from the surface of the water per hour; the 2″ belt can remove up to 2 gal per hour.

The CNC machine coolant skimmer’s belt runs over a tail pulley connected to a stabilizer bar that is lowered into the wash water. After the belt passes over the drive pulley, it travels through tandem wiper blades where the oil is removed through a discharge channel.

The Trial

A test of the Abanaki unit proved that oil skimming could extend Z&Z’s CNC coolant for several weeks and could rid the shop of heavy smoke. “Abanaki brought in a demo unit, made suggestions on the most efficient way to use the product, and said if we weren’t completely satisfied we wouldn’t have to pay.” Zovko tells Metlfax. One week later I told them to send me the invoice.”

The Mighty Mini weighs only 7 lbs.,allowing it to be carried to different locations as needed. The unit, which has a footprint measuring less than 5″ X 7″, is quickly installed through a 2″ diameter bung hole in a drum using an optional bracket.

“It’s hard to say exactly how much oil the Mighty Mini is removing,” Zovko says. “If there’s a little oil in the machine, it’s going to take out a little; if there’s a lot of oil, it’s going to take out a lot. If the Mighty Mini only removes 20 gal per year, it’s paid for itself.”

Zovko adds, ” Since installing the Abanaki unit, we’ve increased the life of our coolant and the life of our tools, saved on maintenance and EPA costs, and we have been able to breath a whole lot easier.”

As its machine shop grows, Z&Z Manufacturing plans to add more Abanaki CNC machine coolant skimmers to the lineup.

Published in Metlfax