Oil Skimming Allows Re-Use of Resources – Reprinted from Modern Application News
An automotive supplier discovers that oil skimming of lubricating oil from coolant water allows easy re-use of each.
Metaldyne Corporation’s Driveline and Transmission Group (Royal Oak, MI) operates Hatebur AMP 30, AMP 50, and AMP 70 fully automated, horizontal hot-forming machines to produce driveline and transmission components. These machines produce near-net components from bar stock to precision forgings, at the rate of 120 parts per minute. Hot-rolled bars enter at one end of the machine, which heats, feeds, cuts off, forms, and pierces forgings along the conveyor in a single pass.
As part of the forging process, Metaldyne uses water to wash the ends of the hot-rolled bars and to cool the dies, and oil is used to lubricate the forging equipment. Throughout the process, the excess water and oil are collected in a pit below the Hatebur machines.
For both economic and environmental reasons, Metaldyne wanted to be able to reuse the water and salvage the oil, while improving its manufacturing process as a whole.
The company initially installed a floating oil skimmer-separator system, which pumped oil into an above ground separator. Unfortunately, the company quickly learned that the system was high-maintenance and unreliable, because it did not always remove the excess oil from the water.
“The system required a lot of maintenance because the separator kept clogging up,” said Ken LaBruyere, project planning manager for Metaldyne Royal Oak – Hatebur Operations. “Our employees had to manually clean out the separator, which was causing a lot of separator downtime.”
Dissatisfied with the performance and maintenance costs of the initial floating skimmer-separator system, LaBruyere investigated a variety of oil skimming systems and discovered the Model 6V oil skimmer from Oil Skimmers, Inc., (Cleveland, OH). This system uses a unique flexible floating collector tube made of durable polyethylene, which attracts oil, not water, designed to provide continuous, maintenance-free operation.
The closed-loop tube snakes over and around debris to reach contaminants in the water. Oil adheres to the outside of the tube as it is slowly drawn across the surface of the water and into the oil skimmer. The tube is continuously drawn up into the oil skimmer and through the scrapers that remove the oil. Then, the tube returns to the water surface to collect more oil.
This oil recovery system works unattended 24/7, removing as much as 100 gallons of waste oil per hour and decants it into a drum. The recovered oil is virtually water-free. Metaldyne selected nine oil skimmers for their facilities, which they incorporated along with a unique, specially designed mounting system, at the base of its Hatebur machines for simple oil recovery. According to LaBruyere, the Model 6V oil skimmers are compact and easy to hook up, which provided a straightforward installation.
Metaldyne improved its operations and practically eliminated downtime with the Model 6V oil skimmer, which has not experienced clogging and parts maintenance problems encountered with alternative skimming systems.
The oil skimmers delivered Metaldyne two solutions in one. The systems remove oil from the cooling water so it can be reused during the manufacturing process, and the skimmers recover the separated oil, which can be of value in other applications.
The key to reusing the oil is to separate it before environmental elements minimize its value. Only continual removal can ensure that just the oil is removed.
“We have utilized the Model 6V oil skimmers to separate oil from several different process fluids with good results,” said LaBruyere.
Improved Manufacturing Process
Another benefit of incorporating oil skimmers into the manufacturing process is the ability to extend the life of the equipment. For manufacturers recycling water used in the cooling process, it is critical to remove all of the oil before reusing the water. If the oil is not completely removed, contaminants in the water could shorten the life of the tool.
The Model 6V oil skimmers are engineered to meet the demands of a production environment. External parts, which contact the gritladen oil, are made of highly abrasion- resistant ceramic that also resist corrosion. The collection tube is durable, capable of withstanding temperatures up to 200ºF. Other internal components, such as gears and bearings, are made of high-strength steel and bronze.
“The Model 6V oil skimmers have run flawlessly,” said LaBruyere. “They require minimal maintenance and remove more oil than other units we’ve utilized in the past.”
Metaldyne plans to add one unit per month until all ofthe company’s Hatebur machines are equipped with oil skimmers. Oil Skimmers, Inc.