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Media filtration units from Air Cleaning Systems (ACS) have helped Whitehill Spindle Tools, a provider of tooling for the woodworking and plastics industries, maintain a healthy working environment.

When Whitehill was operating out of its former, relatively small manufacturing facility, its managing director noticed an increasing concentration of dust and coolant mist from its machine tools.

As the machine shop was densely populated with machine tools, dust and fume extraction equipment was a necessity to protect the health of shop-floor staff.

David Hudson, managing director of Whitehill, said: ‘Back in 2004, we were getting dust from our abrasive belt grinder that was in constant use.

‘We needed a solution and, when I reviewed the market, ACS delivered the best-fit solution with a downdraught bench and a bespoke guarding system,’ he added.

Whitehill produces HSS and carbide knives and the respective aluminium and steel bodies that accommodate the knives.

The Luton-based company has produced more than 45,000 types of knives/blades in the last 10 years, with hundreds of body types for machining wood and plastics, door and window frames, skirting boards and picture frames, for example.

With an increasing product range and workload, Whitehill also installed an ACS AC1 dust extraction unit on its Jones and Shipman manual surface grinding machine to eradicate an escalating dust problem while polishing blades.

However, the company eventually outgrew the facility and moved to a new site in 2008.

This expansion brought with it the demand for additional machine tools and with each machine came an extraction unit.

In 2008, the company acquired a Mazak Variaxis 500-5X; the high-speed machining conducted by the Variaxis prevented the operator opening the doors to the work envelope because of the coolant mist and hot fumes generated.

As a solution, Whitehill installed an ACS OMF2500 freestanding media filtration unit with individual enclosed filters to serve each machine.

Hudson continued: ‘With the OMF, we managed to resolve the issue on three machines by linking the OMF2500 to the Variaxis as well as the two Cincinnati Arrows machining centres alongside.

‘The OMF had an immediate impact on productivity by enabling operators to access the work envelope as soon as a part is machined.

‘Minutes in lost production could be reclaimed on three machines, not just one.

‘Besides reclaiming lost production times, our new machine shop has remained remarkably clean by resolving the particulate issue on three machines,’ he said.

Soon after, the company also implemented a smaller OMF1000 filtration unit, which was attached to a Cincinnati Hawk turning centre.

‘The freestanding unit is designed for direct attachment to most machines and machining centres,’ added Hudson.

Whitehill then fitted a 1700dpv electrostatic air cleaner to its Schneeberger Sirius grinding centre.

Used for the profile grinding of up to 200 cutting knives a day, the Schneeberger has a high-powered pump that sprays neat oil on the machining envelope.

The high-pressure pump previously caused a visibility and productivity issue with machine access; it also released a considerable amount of oil into the atmosphere.

When this oil escaped from the machine, it left a film on everything in close proximity.

The introduction of the 1700dpv has cleaned up the immediate work environment and reduced machine downtime.

It has also enabled the machine to maintain its oil levels without allowing the costly oil to become airborne in the workshop.

As a result of growth in 2008, the company installed four more ACS media filtration units.

In February 2010, Whitehill acquired a Doosan Puma MX2100ST mill/turn centre for machining cutter bodies.

To complement this, the company introduced an OMF100 media filtration system to its facility.

According to Hudson, ACS units are easy to install and maintain and have improved the company’s working environment significantly.

Whitehill plans to acquire another ACS 1700dpv air cleaning system when it receives its next Schneeberger machine tool.

Air Cleaning Systems

For over 20 years, ACS has been at the forefront of supplying engineered solutions to a range of air filtration problems. Specialising in the control of coolant/oil mist/smoke from machining applications such as turning, milling and grinding, ACS is uniquely positioned in the market to tailor its products and services to deliver practical solutions.

In satisfying the needs of our customers, we help create solutions which make for a cleaner, safer working environment.

The ACS range of air cleaners are designed for direct attachment to most machine tools – removing respirable particulate from the machining enclosure thereby protecting people, computers, machinery, air conditioning and heating plant.

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