Oracle Fluid Systems
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Oracle™: Real-time Condition Monitoring

Condition Monitoring

Condition Monitoring

Metal working fluid monitoring isn’t a meaningless activity. Undertaken correctly (and frequently), monitoring delivers real business benefits to manufacturers and their customers too.

Oracle™ makes metal working fluid monitoring and management easy.


Once registered, customers can view and access data concerning the real-time condition of metal working fluids in their individual machine tools by logging into the Oracle™ Data Hub. Once logged in, Oracle™ provides users with a visual status report on their machines - highlighting by colour (Red, Amber, Green) whether any intervention has occurred or is due to occur…or if the situation is normal.


The Oracle™ advantage:

Each individual machine tool's sump condition is accurately monitored and managed in real-time, with data presented graphically and accessed via a click of the mouse.

Monitoring usage and consumption levels

Monitoring usage and consumption levels

To help manufacturers adopt a more ‘forensic’ approach to their metal working fluid use and consumption (and therefore costs) - Oracle™ records and logs every time it automatically tops up the machine tool’s sump to its correct volume as well as the amount of concentrate added to bring it back into its pre-set tolerance levels. This data is logged, and can be viewed, by individual Oracle™ interventions as well as cumulatively (over time) for trend analysis.


The Oracle™ advantage:

Oracle™ provides users with detailed real-time information that can help them calculate, not just overall fluid consumption costs but also the cost of fluid per component.

Monitoring fluid concentration

Monitoring fluid concentration

Essentially this concerns monitoring the oil content within the water miscible solution which is measured as a percentage of the total mixed emulsion. 


Sometimes referred to as the “strength of the coolant”, concentration can have a huge impact on the:

• Cutting action of a tool, 

• Surface finish of the component, 

• Sump life of the fluid, 

• Cleanliness of the machine, 

• Welfare of the operator. 


Historically, concentration levels are measured using a calibrated refractometer to ensure that they are within the parameters recommended by the metal working fluid manufacturer.

 

Implications:

 

Under concentration: Below 4.5% concentration can lead to: 

• pH value becoming out of tolerance 

• Unpleasant odours 

• Poor tool life 

• Potential sump instability 

• Potential corrosion of parts and within the machine tool. 


Over concentration: Above 15% concentration can lead to: 

• Increased operational costs as there are no additional benefits from running high concentrations

• Process instability 

• Residues forming in the machine tool and on tooling 

• Unpleasant smoke 

• Foaming 


The Oracle™ advantage:

Every Oracle™ unit can be calibrated to operate within pre-determined tolerance bands - and these can be much tighter than those measured by conventional refractometers. 


Additionally to optimise productivity, each individual Oracle™ unit can have tolerance bandwidths to suit different applications or materials being machined at any given time - thereby making Oracle™ incredibly flexible.

Monitoring pH levels

Monitoring pH levels

Fluctuations in metal working pH values are an early indicator that something is not quite right. It could be an early indication of bacterial contamination, or that unwanted substances (such as tramp oils or cleaning fluids) are affecting the fluid.


Industry standard tolerance bands are between pH 8.2 – pH 9.6.


Implications :

pH under 8.2 (acidic): issues 

• Unpleasant odours 

• Sump instability 

• Corrosion on components, tooling and the machine 


pH over 9.6 (alkaline) - issues 

• Risk of skin issues 

• Corrosion on aluminium parts 

• Foaming 

• Damage to the machine tool’s plastics and paint 

 
Normal practice is to measure pH with a dip slide (stick). This not a fail safe practice as the operator usually charged with this activity is required to match the colour of the slide with a colour swatch.


Once a decision has been reached that the emulsion’s pH is “out of tolerance” - an additive is introduced into the tank to correct the pH reading. The volume of additive to be added is also open to interpretation…and therefore error.


The Oracle™ advantage:

Oracle™ units can be calibrated to operate within pre-determined tolerance bands - and these can be much tighter than those measured with conventional pH sticks.

Monitoring fluid conductivity

Monitoring fluid conductivity

Broadly speaking conductivity monitoring measures the amount of salts in the water. The ideal water used for metal working fluids should be deionised (Di) or demineralised (Dm). However, accepting that this is not always possible the water used should be of drinking quality with a German Hardness of between 7 - 20° dH with a conductivity of 0.4 mS/cm. 


(It is important to remember that if mains supply water is used over a long period of time, issues such as foaming and the creation of residues could result).


Few customers actually measure the hardness or indeed the conductivity of the fluid in use - but constant monitoring can and does help prevent serious issues from occurring.


The Oracle™ advantage:

Oracle™ units can be calibrated to operate within pre-determined tolerance bands - and these can be much tighter than those measured with conventional hardness sticks.

ORACLE™: Reporting

ORACLE™: Reporting

In practice, many companies that use metal working fluids record and analyse data weekly or monthly - and although this may comply with Health & Safety regulations - it is hardly best-practice. Similarly very few operatives take measurements prior to topping up the machine tool sumps - and this can often lead to over- or under-concentrated sumps.


Accurate data capture and logging are essential and help the decision making process. All data from an Oracle™ unit is captured at least twice every 24 hours (in addition to top up readings which occur more frequently). Oracle™ users can also take advantage of a “get data now” facility for real-time ‘ live’ data analysis.


All fluid data, including fluid usage, is accessible to Oracle™ customers via the Oracle™ Data Hub.  


Data can be extracted for manipulation in CSV files at the click of a button. 


The Oracle™ advantage:

No more estimates, guesses or assumptions. Fluid data facts, and the ability to analyse them help eliminate health and safety, quality or tooling issues.

ORACLE™: Topping up

ORACLE™: Topping up

There are many different ways to 'top up' a machine tool sump ranging from a bucket and stick approach on one hand through to an automated 'delivery and return' centralised system on the other.


• Manual systems (including using a mixing unit and transporting the fluid to the machine), are time consuming…rely on human intervention…and are inaccurate and largely ineffective and costly.


• Ring main delivery systems, despite claiming to be automated, deliver whatever residual fluid is in the pipework before the new fluid with a different concentration arrives. Reporting in ring main delivery systems occurs manually - and is therefore inaccurate.


• Centralised systems deliver the same fluid concentration throughout the facility - so, if there is a bacterial issue, it contaminates all machines. Reporting with these systems occurs centrally - and is not machine-specific.


The Oracle™ advantage:

Oracle™ units are integrated to one machine tool (machine-specific), and topping-up and data capture occur automatically. Furthermore, an Oracle™ system mixes fluid and water under pressure (4 bar), ensuring that a more consistent and better-performing ‘mix’ is created.