Centralised Coolant Management Systems

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Centralised Coolant Management Systems

Fluid Solutions have been providing UK metalworking companies with centralised coolant management systems since the early 90’s. Vivex, who supply much of our hardware, have been doing so since the early 80’s. It is a credit to both companies that most of those early systems still function very well today.

Design and technology may have moved on but the principles used to separate and filter contaminated coolant remain more or less the same. Our systems use no consumable filter media, this makes them very attractive to the end user. Controlled these days using sophisticated PLC’s, they are still simple and cost effective to maintain and operate.

Coolant Management Refurbish Number One

So what happens when a perfectly good centralised coolant management system becomes redundant? That was the question from a Midlands based cold roll forming business back at the start of this century. Metsecs are the UK’s largest specialist cold roll forming company manufacturing steel framing and components for the building industries

In 2000 Metsecs specified a new full flow centralised coolant management system to feed clean rolling coolant to their cold rolling mills. The smaller central system that had been installed and used since 1992 became redundant. However Metsecs had another rolling operation that could benefit from having a central coolant system installed. They asked us to refurbish the unit and re commission it on a different application. The central plant was collected, stripped, checked over and re-painted before being delivered back and commissioned. The refurbished plant was in use until 2016 when that mill was also decommissioned.

Coolant Management Revisited

Again we were asked if the system could be refurbished and commissioned on two new cold forming mills in a new facility. These mills had standalone coolant tanks which quickly became unusable due to the sludge and metal fines build-up from the rolling operation. Tramp oil was also in evidence and regular cleanouts were required. The quality of the coolant returned to the mill was also highly suspect.

We inspected the unit, now getting on for 24 years old. It had been out of action for some months and was in a sorry state left in the yard under a tarpaulin. However on firing it up we found it to be functional and once again we began another refurbish job. The system was removed from site where it was stripped of all its pumps and equipment. The lamella package was removed, cleaned and checked over. The entire plant was shot blasted and repainted including the pumps which were still in good order. New valves were installed and the old analogue control panel was scrapped. It was replaced by a shiny new PLC and HMI controlled unit built in house by Metsecs engineers. New return tanks were supplied to replace the old sump tanks on both mills. Supply and return pipework completed the installation.

Ready to Go

Commissioning day arrived and the central plant was filled with rolling coolant, systems were checked and the first rolling mill was connected and operated. The second mill quickly followed without any drama. The entire refurbish was at a fraction of the cost of a new system and now Metsecs have a ‘good as new’ centralised coolant management system that will perform perfectly for many years to come.

The central plant removes all particulate matter and tramp oil, without the need of any consumable media, providing clean coolant to each rolling mill. Particulate matter in the form of sludge is removed by the scraper while tramp oil is collected and removed periodically when required. When the mills are not operational the centralised coolant management system continues to circulate and purify coolant to prevent bacteria build up due to coolant inactivity.

The main features of the system are:

  • Automatic supply and return of coolant.
  • Continuous separation of particulate and tramp oil.
  • Automatic removal of sludge by draglink conveyor.
  • Automatic topping up of coolant when needed.
  • Continuous purification of coolant held within the separator.
  • Automatic Clean In Place system.
  • Coolant return tanks leave almost no coolant at the roll mill.
  • Clean coolant delivered on demand to each roll mill.

The new control panel also enables email alerts to be sent to Metsecs nominated maintenance engineers. In the event of an alarm the issue can be rectified quickly with minimal, if any effect, on production. Video below shows the plant in action.

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The original central coolant management system commissioned in 1992, refurbished in 2000 and now in a bit of a sorry state outwardly but inwardly entirely functional.

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Control panel removed but most of the vital equipement still intact although battered and bruised.

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The drag link conveyor which removes separated sludge was, despite its appearance, in perfect working order.

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The original coolant tanks at each mill were continuously contaminated and had to be manually cleaned on a frequent basis.

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Fully refurbished with new PLC/HMI control panel the system is made ready to run.

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The old coolant tanks were replaced with a smaller return tank and pump system to send all the contaminated coolant back to the central plant for processing.