Concentration Management

Managing the concentration of your Metalworking fluids in each operating system is a critical aspect if you are looking to optimize fluid performance and cost.  

Concentration as a costing KPI:  A facility can dramatically reduce their direct spend if they start treating concentration management as a critical cost performance indicator. The lower you can manage the concentration without negatively impacting overall process performance, the lower the plant's costs will be.  For example, the difference between an operation running at 8% concentration vs 10% is not a 2% difference in spend, its actually represents a 25% difference (2%/8%).  All the factors that drive fluid consumption are occurring at a 25% higher rate of product consumption.


Factors that drive fluid cost:

  • Change-out Frequency:  Every time a system gets dumped and recharged, it requires 25% more fluid to bring it to its desired concentration.  
  • Top-up Rate:  Fluid continues to get dragged out of the machining operation as it processes parts.  Whether its chip drag out, fluid on the part itself, spills or leaks, fluid that is being removed from the unit at 10% requires 25% more fluid to be added in order to maintain the system at 10%.

Using Refractive index to measure concentration

Refractive index can be a quick and easy way to measure concentration.  Its accuracy however can be significantly impacted by the level of contamination that exists in the fluid.  As the fluid ages, the emulsion stability weakens also impacting the accuracy of this form of measurement.  As a result it is not recommended that Refractive Index alone be used to manage concentrations within a manufacturing environment.  When used in conjunction with other tests like Alkalinity and Total Dissolved solids, its possible to more accurately determine true concentration vs false readings.   



The biggest challenge with concentration management is how volatile it can be over time.  In many applications concentration can change dramatically day to day or even shift to shift.  Volatility is driven by several factors that can include the rate of evaporation, the rate at which fluid is carried-out of the system on chips and parts, it can be impacted by how operators are choosing to top up their sumps as they look to manage levels within their systems.  Measurement accuracy can be an issue as well as there is no perfect way to measure concentration as contaminants start to build in systems over time, and how aspects of the fluid can deplete over time through use.  All these factors can make it a real challenge to accurately manage concentration especially when you factor in the number of stand alone systems that can exist within a manufacturing environment.  
The danger this volatility causes is that concentration can wander into various zones unless consistent measures are taken to keep it within the targeted range.  We call the event zone, a condition where the fluid itself would be the root cause to production, quality or health and safety related issue.  For example, if the concentration is allowed to go too low, it can cause premature tool failure, rust formation on the part, or poor control of the biologicals in the system.  Allowed to go too high, and excessive concentration can prevent the fluid from providing the desired cooling on the part which again leads to premature tool failure as the sump begins to heat up driving even more of the water out of the system.  
Concentration can also wander into the Waste Zone, when here, the concentration is higher than it needs to be, but is able to perform without negative impact to the operation.  Its considered wasteful, because by the very nature of the process, fluid is always being drawn out of the system.  If the concentration is higher than it needs to be, then more coolant is being wasted than necessary.    


If you are looking to put your coolant management onto a path to World Class, do it with ESE!

Technical process management

·   Dynamic control plan established identifying cost/performance KPI's

·   Data and trend review to adjust limits, frequencies and add new KPI's as identified

·   True Root Cause trouble shooting using validated KPI Data

·   Regular Data Review to define CI Opportunities

·   Daily KPI testing compliance monitoring

·   Auto Generated Email Alerts to warn of any operational or H&S concern

·   Daily Corrective action review

·   Transparent program dashboards highlighting daily and overall program compliance 

·    Qualified and fully trained Onsite Technicians

·    Daily Review of assigned completion Metric

·    Daily Supervisory review 

·    Automated Work flow assignment based on dynamic control plans 

When its all working together using a sustainable process:

·   All units are managed within defined control plans

·   Control plans are reviewed and made dynamic in order to optimize the performance/cost ratio

·   Auto Alerts and daily Site Supervisor Review quickly addresses non compliance's and required Corrective Actions 

·    Detailed monthly reporting and KPI review ensures trends are caught early and CI opportunities are identified

We optimize and maintain your technical process with ESE, ensuring that your time and resources can stay focused on optimizing the core aspects of your business that generate revenue and keep your plant competitive and world class.


Unique Dynamic Control Plans

  • All KPI's identified
  • Target, operating, outlyer and alert limits established for each KPI
  • Test frequency defined based on the dynamic nature of Performance Indicator
  • Record of all control plans and control plan changes maintained over time.

Placards give access to real time data on the floor

  • Communicating Control Plan settings
  • Health and Safety Risk sump side
  • Fluid Color Coding to reduce risk of wrong fluid
  • Instant Access to all data 

Monthly Performance Reporting

  • Overall metrics are reviewed in detail each month to identify trends and opportunities for process improvement and cost reduction
  • Compliance's are reviewing, and training opportunities defined to ensure high value focused execution is occurring

Case studies

Coolant Reduction Case Study
Identifying sources of variability that drive cost and impact performance is critical when the goal is to optimize a process and minimize waste and wasteful activity. This case study outlines how a facility's infra structure led to significant variability in coolant concentration being delivered to the floor. This made control at each machining center a challenge resulting in significant excess coolant consumption and waste.
CI-213-Make-up System Improvement.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 205.7 KB

Related Non-core Processes