Neat Cutting Oils in Steel and Iron Industry

Why are Neat Cutting Oils high in Demand and their uses
Neat cutting oils today have become an integral part of the iron and steel industry which is booming in India. There is immense demand for iron and steel and thus the influence and scope of neat cutting oils have reached mammoth proportions.

Neat cutting oils are used in factories and plants which are engaged in manufacturing and producing iron and steel. They are used to lubricate the machines which cut the metal into sheets and other forms. Without neat cutting oils there can be friction and thus malfunctioning of the machine.

Also in a factory where iron and steel are produced the metals are exposed to high temperatures and extreme atmospheric conditions which can lead to rusting and corrosion and thus neat cutting oil helps in avoiding metal from rusting or corroding.

Thus neat cutting oils have a critical and crucial part to play in cutting where they are used to lubricate machinery parts so that the cutting is smooth and flawless and also in maintaining a protective film over the equipment and the raw materials so as to ensure minimum corrosion and least amount of damage.

Why are Neat Cutting Oils here to stay
Although neat cutting oils have many advantages for the manufacturing unit there are some environmental hazards which also come with it especially related to dispersal of the used oil and the fumes that it generate.

Neat cutting oil definitely has many advantages as they help in elongating the life of the machine and also help in smooth cutting and manufacturing of metal products and most importantly they prevent metal from corroding and rusting.

Thus neat cutting oils are here to stay as they help the metal industry in many many innumerable ways.

Metal Cutting Fluids are broadly classified into water-based fluids (emulsions, synthetics) and neat oils.

Neat Cutting Oils find significant relevance and application in the machining industry for the primary purpose of providing cooling and lubrication to machine parts. Such oils are typically used in industrial applications where high machining operations exist such as automotive, aviation, defense, heavy engineering and so on to name a few.

As the name contains the word “Neat” which clearly implies that the oil used is in its neat form or undiluted form.  Precisely, these oils are the fluids made using mineral oils as the base and are used for a variety of machining applications in the metal industry where upkeep of machine is paramount to the efficient running of the production plant. Neat cutting oils are engineering materials which does an important part on machining efficiency to develop the feature of surface and decrease force while cutting. Their lubricant, cooling and chip removal properties reduce cutting temperatures and coefficient of friction in cutting zone. ...

Neat Cutting Oils are stable and require intermittent filtering for removal of impurities and swarf. Besides cooling and lubrication of the metal-working process, it is equally imperative that these oils meet properties such as anti-wear, reduction of frictional heat, corrosion protection, removal of swarf and so on. Being chlorine and sulfur-free adds to the effectiveness of these oils and contribute significantly to the longevity of the machine part. These cutting oils contain exceptional properties of EP and anti wear which is crucial for the longevity tool and make better surface finish.

Both iron and steel industry is important in India and growing at a very rapid pace. India at present with 77 MMT is the 4th largest steel producer globally. The two kinds of steel plants that exist are Mini steel plants and integrated steel plants. Mini steel plants are smaller and have electric furnaces which make use of steel scrap and sponge iron for producing alloy steels. Integrated Steel plants support all the functions for steel production right from the processing of raw materials to finished goods that includes iron making, steel making, casting, rolling and so on. This is a known fact that role of steel is significant in the development and growth of India.

With the ever-growing need and application of steel in India, the role of neat cutting oils is also on a rise.  Metal industry including Steel and Iron are the key segments that face the higher challenge of regular lubrication at the plant level.  The equipment used in these plants have irregular operating cycles and undergo various extremities in terms of temperature, dust etc. These factors, make it extremely important for the machine and the plant to be well lubricated always. This not only aids in the smooth operation of the plant but also helps to achieve better plant capacity utilization.

In the iron and steel industry, the application of Neat Cutting Oils spans across various processes such as grinding, turning, milling, broaching, deep hole drilling and reaming etc. Cutting fluid is used in abundance for cooling and lubrication of machining processes. The use of cutting fluid helps to keep the machine parts free of damage but simultaneously, bring other complexities and ecological challenges like fluid residual, spillage, grease build-up, human health etc. Several other alternative techniques like dry cutting have also come forward to ward off the ill effects of cutting fluids but the cutting fluid still plays a dominant role in steel and iron industry for cooling and lubricating. Some varieties of Neat Cutting Oils are particularly meant to be used on most categories of steels for forceful machining operations. Some of these oils have low-viscosity which provide superior heat transfer and chip flow.

Cutting Fluids can be classified as air based, water-based and neat oils. Neat Cutting Oils make use of mineral oils / extreme pressure oils/ fatty oils and/or composed oils to facilitate cooling and lubrication process.  Dating back to earlier times, fatty oils (vegetal oil and animal oils) were the basic oils that were used in metal cutting but their use deteriorated with time owing to higher cost, fire risks, low cooling capability and risks to human health.  Extreme Pressure (EP) additives that use sulfur or chlorine are also commonly used since these provide better cooling capability but lesser lubricating effect. However, higher Sulphur content works adversely on metals and results in discoloration of the used part.

The main purpose of the neat cutting oil in steel and iron industry is to provide cooling at high cutting speeds and lubrication at low cutting speed besides the ancillary characteristics of chip removal and rust erosion to keep the machine parts clean and functional.

At low cutting speed, lubrication becomes critically important to reduce heat friction and reduce any build up around the edges of the machine part. During the lubrication process, the cutting oil creates an interface between the chip and tool and penetrates the metal to create a thin layer between the chip and tool. On the other hand, in high-speed operations, cooling becomes extremely essential as fluid penetration becomes sparse to reach the metal. The coolers help in dissolving heat.

An effective neat cutting fluid contributes to the higher cutting speed, excellent surface finish, controlled swarf management and lower energy consumption. Selection of right neat cutting solution for individual machine process can be a complicated task especially in larger plants where different machine tools are used. But, with the use of right neat cutting fluids, one can achieve optimum plant efficiency both in terms of quality and production by reducing the hindrances in the day to day operations, eliminating unplanned machine stoppages, increasing the life of both machine and tool.