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Applying Nanotech to CNC Machining

June 9, 2021
Specially formulated coolant dissipates heat from the machining process – with benefits for the workpiece, the process, and the workplace.

Nanotechnology is being applied by engineers and chemists to improve a wide range of products, for military, industrial, and consumer goods, and Tool-X metalworking fluids are one example. What Tool-X can do for your machining operation?

This is the second of a series of reports, following: Nanotechnology in the Machine Shop

Thanks to nanotechnology, Tool-X has the ability to change shop overall productivity. It can lower the shop’s exposure to chemicals because the nano-material replaces many chemicals that comprise the coolant formulation – and increase the fluid’s overall metalworking effectiveness. These results are documented in separate reports by researchers for government and commercial bodies – and available for your review.

Tool-X metalworking fluid is different than a normal coolant because it is a military-grade nano-fluid suspended in a specially formulated coolant. This coolant was made only to be used as a carrier for the nano material; in the metalworking fluid, the nanoparticles replace the chemical compositions found in normal coolants.

These nanoparticles are harmless to humans and will not create any of problematic side-effects that occur when machining operations introduce large numbers of chemicals to their operations.

In the new formulation, some of these safe nanoparticles are used to dissipate heat from the machining process, transferring that heat from the cutting point to the coolant in the tank. Normally, coolants simply move heat around; they do not transfer heat and controlling heat in this way represents a major difference in the cutting processes where Tool-X is applied.

As for tool life, shops working with Tool-X have documented significant improvements tool life, from 100 to 400%, depending on the material and the equipment in use. Examples include cutting programs for titanium and Inconel, as well as stainless steel and aluminum and even hardened material.

Improved surface finish or RA is another benefit that machine shops have demonstrated using Tool-X, again with examples of measurable improvement for surface-critical materials from aluminum to titanium.

Increases in machining speeds and feeds also may be expected – from 10 to 20% increases, on average – meaning that jobs can be completed more quickly when the shop is using Tool-X.

And, if the shop is using Tool-X the operators there will recognize there is no noxious smells produced by the cutting fluid. Tool-X includes a nanoparticle component that kills bacteria that may develop in the sumps. The “rotten egg” smell that many cutting fluids develop will never be the result for shops using Tool-X.

The next noteworthy advantage is that Tool-X produces little to no foam, because there are no chemicals in the solution to make it foam.

Likewise, the cost of coating for tools is reduced, because that coating no longer affects the tools: the coating – meaning Tool-X – is now in the sump.

Lastly, shops that adopt Tool-X metalworking fluid will see a significant decrease in the size of the chips produced, as well a different chip color. Chips produced by machining with Tool-X will not be burned. Moreover, there will be little or no “bird nesting” of chips.

Tool-X LLC president Jim English is a former GM engineer with experience in chemicals and coatings, adhesives, plating technologies, fasteners, and lubricants.

This is the second of a series of reports. Read part 1, Nanotechnology in the Machine Shop; and part 3, What Can Nanotech Do in Your Machine Shop?

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