Skimmers play a vital role in maintaining coolant.

Zebra Sidewinder Tube SkimmerSaving money and preventing machine downtime

Christmas came early for Rick Taurus this year. In fact, he's been reaping good tidings for some time now. As plant supervisor of Casetroll in Garfield Heights. Ohio, Rick knows the vital role that skimmers play in maintaining coolant. This is why he decks his shop with Zebra Sidewinder™ Tube Skimmer.

Saving money and preventing machine downtime were the most important factors in their decision to install skimmers. Often, Casetroll gets busier than a staff of little elves making toys the night before Christmas. From the automotive industry to aerospace, their customers rely on them to manufacture motion control linear positioners and tension transducers.

Casetroll machines everything from aluminum, brass, to stainless steel and some exotics - and their CNC's often operate for 12 or more hours at a time. These conditions wreak havoc on even the best coolants. Finding a solution to Rick's coolant's tramp oil problem had to be both efficient and cost-effective. He also wanted a skimmer that would run continuously, be easy to install, and if a problem came up, help would be just a phone call away. Zebra Skimmers in Chagrin Falls, Ohio got the call.

Rick decided to use the newest type of skimmer, the Zebra Sidewinder, and now uses them on many of his Hitachis and Hurcos. Before Zebra, Rick had to change his coolant sumps every 3-4 months, on the average. It was enough to make Saint Nick say "ba humbug"!

Since using Sidewinders over the past 2 years, Rick has seen his coolant sumps last much longer. On the average, they now last over a year before they need to be changed. And in several cases, the sumps have gone almost a full 2 years without the need to be cleaned out. Equally important, his co-workers are not complaining about foul odors and skin problems anymore.

Rick had a vertical Hurco that was generating a lot of oil, and a lot of fines. In response, Zebra developed its newest member of the Sidewinder family, the Sidewinder V. Rick required such improvements as the external scraper to prevent fines from clogging the drain, a 1" inner-diameter discharge port for easy cleaning and reduced maintenance. Most significantly, it had an oil capacity over 1 quart per hour.

Like earlier Sidewinders, it had a continuous-duty motor, and would still fit in even the most access-impaired machines. This, coupled with its increased capacity, meant that Rick could use the unit on several machines without having to worry about how the skimmer would bring out the oil. In addition, the Zebra Sidewinder features a transparent cover that enables him to see the skimmer in action.

Finally, the torque of his new Zebra Sidewinder allows Rick to use an O-ring of almost any length. Unlike most skimmers, the O-ring allows the skimmer to move from a deep machine to a shallow machine sump with no work involved. Since the unit can't bottom out like a disk or belt skimmer, it gave Rick even more flexibility as to where it can be placed. And because it can be mounted with a single C-clamp, he has the convenience of moving it around in a matter of minutes.

Once the skimmer was installed, he was amazed at the speed at which tramp oil was removed. He was also pleased to learn that very little coolant is removed from the sump despite the faster speed, and also noticed an improvement in the quality of his expensive coolant. He especially liked the fact that he was able to install the skimmer without having to shut the machine down, as you have to do with many other types of skimmers.

Rick takes a pro-active approach to coolant maintenance at Casetroll, utilizing a few stocking stuffers. By using a refractometer in conjunction with a mixer, he gets the right concentration of coolant for each machine, every time. In this way he gets peak performance out of his coolant, but doesn't waste coolant either - saving lots of money in the long run. Zebra's customers enjoy refractometers which are water-tight, prefocused, and unbreakable. Zebra's economical mixers feature precise needle-valve control, providing consistent mixing every time. Finally, the ideal stocking-stuffer would be an oxygenator, a device that injects oxygen into coolant sumps. In this way the growth of aerobic (good) bacteria is enhanced, while the growth of anaerobic (bad) bacteria is suppressed.

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