Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

January 2013    |    Volume: 45    |    Number: 1

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Emerging Technologies

Innovative tools of the trade 

Liquefied savings and efficiency

Time and money savings drive much of what industrial engineers do, and over the past few years the focus for practical sustainability has evolved continuously as companies expect their IEs to do more with less. Industrial fluids are used frequently on the shop floor, and two new options give practitioners new choices for efficiency and savings.

For those looking to minimize non-value-added time spent with industrial fluids, consider Automag Compact, the new high-intensity automated magnetic filter for industrial fluids by Eclipse Magnetics. The Automag Compact is designed to improve efficiency, particularly with small- to medium-sized precision metal machining processes, and cost less than other options. It can be used for OEM projects or be retrofitted to an existing process.

The patented magnetic circuit extracts potentially damaging ferrous particles all the way down to submicron size for lubricants and coolants. Removing that much debris provides a better quality surface finish, fewer nonconforming products, and extended longevity for the working fluid and your tooling. This also reduces maintenance, which can help cut downtime. The process takes about 10 seconds, and the withdrawn contamination is purged into a reclaim unit. An optional skid-mounted fluid recovery system can facilitate direct return of the cleaned fluid back to the machining process.

The Fuel Factory from Dieselcraft Fluid Engineering offers another system for recycling used fluids. The Fuel Factory is designed to fit a standard 55 gallon open top drum, which is standard equipment in most places. The system can clean waste motor oil, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, vegetable oil and diesel fuel. All of these, with the exception of diesel fuel, are cleaned without filters. The Fuel Factory also can filter out water, run continuously for 24 hours without monitoring, and cleans at a rate of 216 gallons of waste oil per hour.

The design is a top centrifuge processing system driven by an industrial-grade gear pump. The centrifuges, along with the pump, motor, switch, and 12-inch pour opening, are built on top of a quarter-inch, powder-coated aluminum plate. The plate is situated inside the top of the drum, eliminating spills over the top edge onto the ground.

Using The Fuel Factory is simple. First, pour the used oil into the generously sized opening. Next, turn the heater and pump on. And finally, depending on the oil temperature, the time to heat things up and the amount of solids in the oil, come back in one to three hours. The average application requires one hour to clean 50 gallons of oil. To complete the process, the clean oil is pumped into the storage drum using the centrifuge pump.

Recycling industrial fluids can help improve sustainability, increase efficiencies and reduce capital investment.

Hunter Burney is in a leadership development program at General Cable Corp. and is a member of the IIE Young Professionals. His B.S. in industrial engineering is from Tennessee Tech University.