Stein, head of maintenance for Clark Manufacturing (Traverse
City, MI) takes a foresighted approach to problems. He solves
them before they happen. One of the toughest challenges he
faced in keeping his coolant tanks clean was how to access
the coolant in impossible machines, efficiently and economically.
He solved his problem using the Sidewinder
Zero Vertical Access Skimmer from Zebra Skimmers (Cleveland,
OH). Sidewinder reaches tramp oil where it could never be
reached before. Clark Manufacturing originally paid $5,000
to have 6,000 gallons of liquid waste removed each year, containing
mostly coolant, water, and some oils. Today Clark only has
to dispose of half as much waste, composed mostly of oils
and coolant. At a cost of $.40 a gallon, including trucking
and everything, John is saving Clark $3,800 each year. Best
of all, John went from changing coolant tanks once a week
to only once a month, leaving him more time for salmon fishing.
An integral part of extending coolant life is keeping it free
from tramp oils. John knew skimmers were the best way to remove
tramp oils from the sumps. And of all the firms, he chose
Zebra Skimmers. They not only have the best solutions, but
also supply him with replacement
parts for his other skimmers. In fact, Zebra units can
go where no others can, and they ensure that virtually pure
oil is extracted from the coolant. Having no coolant in the
output saves John money and solves one more problem.
But there were three machines that posed great access challenges.
Traditionally, with machines that are impossible to access,
John would have to shut the machine down, drain the coolant,
cut a hole in the coolant tank, and weld a new tank extension
over the hole. Once this new extension was in place, he would
recharge the coolant and place a regular skimmer there.
Then John learned of the Sidewinder, then under development
at Zebra Skimmers. The Sidewinder is a new type of tramp oil
skimmer that uses an O ring arrangement to drag the oil out
of the sump. The ring goes through a scraper removing the
oil from the ring. The clean ring then passes back into the
machine. Its oil removal capacity is engineered to that of
the machines it works on, pulling out about a quart of oil
a day. Because its rate of oil removal is matched to that
of the machine it works on, there is virtually no coolant
removed. With a continuous duty motor, it can be on all the
time, and it is made of indestructible space-age plastics.
It fits in your hand, and can mount under a chip conveyor,
or on the side of any tank in a matter of minutes, with no
down time. And since the O rings can be any size, Sidewinder
can reach anywhere.
John's Leadwell VMC 760XL had little overhead for any skimmer
to fit. So John used the first Sidewinder ever made, mounting
it over the offboard coolant tank. He had to make a custom
top mount for it, but it was easy to do because the hole pattern
is supplied with the unit. The skimmer slipped into its position,
and took the oil out right away. And just as quickly, John
saw that the his coolant lifetime increased dramatically.
The same overhead problem existed for the Mazak Slant 40 lathe.
Here, a Sidewinder went on the inboard coolant tank. Because
there is a second wall a few inches in, no disk or belt skimmer
could be mounted unless modifications were made. With Sidewinder,
John was able to mount the unit in minutes, by extending the
O ring over the second lip.
A third Sidewinder is on the HEM saw, where traditionally
no skimmer ever goes. This is a side mount, as shown in the
photograph. John cut a small slot in the side of the coolant
tank (above the coolant line) so that the bucket fits just
underneath it. The oils Sidewinder deals with here are unknown,
as they can be anything that the steel supplier has put on
them. He has Sidewinder come on when the saw is on, so that
it continuously removes whatever oils float on the coolant.
Before skimming, John changed the coolant often. With Sidewinder
he doesn't have to worry about it for months.
Useful Links and Information about Coolant Maintenance