Minimum makes for maximum savings

Minimum makes for maximum savings

MAG Powertrain
A MAG Powertrain machining center uses minimum quantity lubrication to cut a Ford 6R-series transmission.

Ford Motor Co.’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant has installed its second minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) machining system. The system produces aluminum transmission cases, converter housings and valve bodies for the company’s 6-speed transmission.

The minimum quantity lubrication system, from MAG Powertrain (, eliminates the need for coolant systems and chip-handling equipment, and provides substantial savings that will increase further with the reduction of coolant, treatment and disposal costs, energy usage, filtration media, housekeeping costs and other factors.

Minimum quantity lubrication systems of this type typically yield yearly savings of approximately 30,000 gallons of coolant oil, and reduce water use by more than 250,000 gallons, while eliminating the need for several thousand yards of filter media and millions of less cfm of compressed air.

In addition, emissions are improved by a factor of five, and floor space can be reduced by 5 percent.

Ford operates about 200 minimum quantity lubrication machines in various facilities. Besides these direct savings, these systems enhance safety and plant environments because of the elimination of coolant. Airborne particulate emissions are reduced, floors and machines are cleaner, and it is less likely that machine operators will get skin irritations.

In a minimum quantity lubrication machining system, a quick valve mixes oil with an air stream to produce a fineoil mist that replaces the traditional coolant flooding that is used to lubricate and cool cutting tools and workpieces and flush away chips.

A redesigned MAG Powertrain Specht machining center with angled surfaces inside its work area allows chips to be evacuated easily through the use of an integrated vacuum and safety system. Proprietary algorithms work together with temperature monitoring and compensation to ensure that heat-related distortion is avoided.

Each operation, with minimum quantity lubrication, can have its own lubricity level, as opposed to a centralized coolant system where the mix of lubricant and other fluids is the same for all operations.

Milling, for example, requires minimal lubricity, whereas tapping processes typically need more.

In addition, minimum quantity lubrication machines move easily and can be re-located when production requirements change because there are no coolant trenches or overhead piping routes to contend with or recreate.

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