Product Details Supplier Info More products

Metal-working companies are increasingly realising the importance of lubrication and proactive maintenance in improving productivity, says Peter Bird of Exxonmobil Lubricants and Specialties.

In today’s increasingly competitive environment, especially for those small and medium-sized metal working companies in the global manufacturing sector, maximising productivity is a must.

Rising operating costs, machine tool availability and just-in-time delivery all add to the mix of pressing issues facing maintenance professionals in this sector.

One of the most valuable things any successful small to medium-sized manufacturing company can do is to incorporate a proactive rather than reactive approach to maintenance and to regard equipment maintenance as a strategic investment rather than a cost.

Companies that recognise this and invest in protecting their assets can realise significant payback in terms of equipment durability and efficiency, as well as maximised performance and productivity.

Lubrication management is a key part of a proactive maintenance strategy and includes the selection of correct, high-quality machine tool lubricants; an oil analysis programme to identify any potential problems before any expensive unscheduled downtime occurs; as well as a streamlined inventory management programme.

All of these elements can contribute towards manufacturing companies increasing productivity and gaining a competitive edge.

Whether a manufacturing company specialises in producing nuts and bolts, complex gear sets or high precision valves, keeping its equipment running efficiently is the key to profitability.

Lubrication plays an integral role in reducing friction between critical rotating or moving machine tool components, which can translate into equipment durability and availability.

For machine tool applications, the mixing of different lubricating oils and aqueous cuttings fluids, for example, is unavoidable.

Thus, compatibility is a key component to lubricant selection and helps to optimise equipment performance.

To help ensure that the machine tool runs smoothly, it is important to choose a combination of high-quality lubricants, including slideway oils, water-soluble cutting oils and neat cutting fluids, with the optimal compatibility.

Poorly formulated slideway oils may not separate readily from aqueous coolants.

This can result in the formation of ‘tramp oil’ which can compromise the effectiveness of the coolant by shortening its effective life and adversely altering cutting performance.

Tramp oil can also lead to bacterial growth, resulting in foul odour, short service life and potential health and safety concerns.

To identify a high-performance slideway oil, maintenance professionals should seek out products with the following performance characteristics: outstanding frictional properties, which enable increased machine accuracy and reduced chatter and stick-slip; exceptional coolant separability, which enhances the performance and life of water-based metal-working fluids; and multifunctional, meaning it can be used in moderate hydraulic and gear oil applications within the machine tool.

One product that meets all these requirements is the recently upgraded series of Mobil slideway oils, the Mobil Vactra Oil Numbered series.

These high-performance slideway oils, upgraded to meet the latest machine tool designs, are specifically engineered to provide outstanding friction control and accuracy for cast iron, steel and non-metallic way applications on critical machine tools for both vertical and horizontal slideways.

To optimise productivity it is very important to choose technology-leading aqueous coolants.

The highest performing coolants can provide reduced maintenance requirements by resisting biological attack, which helps to extend batch life.

Ease of maintenance needs to be balanced with good machining performance, as well as protecting the machine tools and work pieces from corrosion and sticky deposits.

In addition, the fluids should meet the latest health and safety regulations and be easy to monitor and maintain in service.

Collectively, these properties will help deliver long service life, excellent cutting performance and reduced maintenance downtime.

The new Mobilcut series from ExxonMobil, comprising milky emulsions, high-performance micro-emulsions and a fully synthetic grinding fluid, are cutting fluids designed to offer long service life, good operator acceptability and easy waste management.

The long-life semi-synthetic cutting fluids in particular have been designed to meet the wide variety of applications and operations found in medium to small-sized machine shops where flexibility, inventory management and machine downtime are of paramount importance.

The Mobilcut products have been carefully designed to be fully compatible with the new formulation Mobil Vactra Oil slideway oil.

This addresses the problems associated with cross contamination of non-compatible machine tool lubricants, offering maintenance professionals the benefits of extended fluid lifetime, lower maintenance costs and potentially higher productivity.

Neat or straight cutting oils are used in applications which are beyond the typical performance profile of aqueous coolants, such as tapping and threading of high-alloy steels.

Properly formulated products can improve machining in high-speed automated machining centres through outstanding cutting performance, reduced tool wear and enhanced surface finish.

Maintenance professionals should seek products that: are light coloured to allow clear visibility of the workpiece; have low misting characteristics to help workplace safety and product usage; and are chlorine free to support environmental concerns, while balancing with a high degree of lubricity and machining performance.

Specially designed to meet the increasing demands of today’s sophisticated machining centres, tooling trends and health and safety regulations, the Mobilmet series of cutting oils and the new series of Mobilgrind grinding oils from ExxonMobil have been developed for applications where excellent surface finish, high-precision machining and improved productivity are the primary objectives.

The most essential and cost-effective component of a successful proactive maintenance strategy related to lubrication is the implementation of a comprehensive oil analysis programme.

Oil analysis is a series of tests that help determine the condition of internal parts and in-service lubricants.

With this information the useful lives of both equipment and oil can be extended by identifying early warning signs such as contamination and wear, minimising unscheduled maintenance.

For maintenance professionals that want to implement an effective oil analysis programme that can save both time and money, ExxonMobil offers its proprietary online Signum Oil Analysis programme.

Signum offers users immediate access and direct control of their lubricant-sampling programme.

With a few keystrokes, users can manage all their oil analysis needs including: updating equipment registrations and selecting analysis options based on their equipment or maintenance needs; tracking the status of samples at the lab; directing actions based on analysis results and requesting sample kits; and sharing critical results with colleagues in a secure, password protected environment.

Another example of how small and medium-sized machine shop businesses can minimise costs is to adopt and maintain an efficient inventory-management programme.

There are several factors to be considered, the most important of which is recognising that inventory costs not only include the initial purchase price of materials, but also the costs associated with handling and storage.

Typically, most machine shop management do not want to utilise valuable space to store excess stock.

Thus, a good best practice to follow is to work closely with lubricant suppliers to develop an effective cycle fulfilment process.

Lubricants take up a significant amount of storage area, but often the number of products can be consolidated to a lower number of higher performance lubricants.

Multi-application, low-maintenance cutting fluids operating together with compatible multi-functional slideway and other machine tool oils can help companies to further reduce inventory and administration costs.

By following the suggestions provided above, businesses can help enhance overall efficiency, lower inventory-management costs and most importantly, maximise productivity.

ExxonMobil Lubricants and Specialties

Mobil Industrial Lubricants: A Legacy of Innovation, Advanced Technology and Productivity

For more than a century, the team behind Mobil Industrial Lubricants has been delivering premium products and comprehensive maintenance solutions that help companies boost productivity, enhance the performance and life of their equipment, increase profitability, reduce downtime, and stay ahead of the competition.

Today, Mobil Industrial Lubricants are used extensively in many industrial market sectors – including power generation, general manufacturing, metal working, food and beverage processing, pulp and paper, cement, construction, metals and mining.

Proven Synthetic Technology

For companies that rely on equipment that is often subjected to extreme operating conditions, such as high temperatures, extreme loads and pressures, excessive moisture or high speeds, Mobil SHC lubricants and greases offer an ideal solution.  That’s because they are formulated with application specific performance in mind and are designed to deliver exceptional lubrication, helping to reduce operating temperatures, minimize component wear and extend oil change intervals compared to Exxon Mobil’s conventional mineral oil based products.

In fact, Mobil SHC products are endorsed for use in over 5,800 applications by more than 1,100 major equipment builders around the world for exclusive or preferential use.

To learn more about how Mobil Industrial Lubricants can help unleash your productivity and enhance the performance of your company’s equipment, please visit our website.

View full profile