How To Safely Store Metalworking Coolants

How To Safely Store Metalworking Coolants

Nov 8th 2022

Adequate storage in high-end production facilities requires a thorough checklist and safe practices. Without safely storing these vital fluids, you risk costly damages and the potential for equipment breakdowns. Here, we discuss some expert tips on safe storage and ways to ensure your metalworking coolants and fluids hold up their end of the bargain with your equipment.

Metalworking Fluid Storage Basics

Each metalworking fluid possesses its own criteria for adequate storage measures, from ideal temperature to expiration and location. In general, you can apply some basic storing methods to your facility to ensure the operational performance of each fluid.

A few baseline guidelines can assist in adequate storage measures and help maintain the viability of each fluid. It’s best to store your fluids in a climate-controlled indoor facility with temperatures ranging from 41 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature-controlled storage can ensure the fluids’ long-term viability. You should avoid freezing temperatures during transport or transfer, as they will degrade the compounds. When storing metalworking coolants indoors, avoid direct sunlight exposure and ensure all labels are visible and legible to all team members.

If you are having trouble storing your containers indoors and worry about water damage, set the containers on their sides and follow all other storage tips. Placing the containers on their sides can minimize the risk of rainwater entering the point of entry on either end of the drum.

Consider the Short-Term

You can take various short-term storage actions when coolants need a temporary home. Following these tips can maintain the integrity of each short-term coolant and ensure quality each time a team member accesses the short-term supply.

Guarantee the pH of the metalworking fluids follows suitable and recommended manufacturer’s guidance. Next, confirm the concentration levels align with the desired consistency. If possible, you can circulate the coolants to aid in adequate concentration and pH levels. Also, consider removing all tramp oils from the container to ensure viability.

Consider the Long-Term

In the event of long-term storage, consider more extensive measures. Apply long-term storage practices when you need to store bulk supplies, backup fluids, or inventory management.

Like short-term measures, you will circulate the fluids daily and remove all tramp oils from the containers. In addition to basic steps, you will need to do some of the following as it pertains to your circumstances:

  • Adjust concentration levels per technical data.
  • Monitor the pH levels with testing strips.
  • Check for bacteria with a dipstick method.
  • Empty the container and thoroughly clean it. When finished, apply a rust-prevention solution to the container’s interior.

Proper Storage Can Extend Coolant Life

In addition to following storage basics and proper protocols, there are several advantages to proper storage placement and efforts. Many coolant engineering catalogs will explicitly outline proper procedures to prevent coolant rancidity, encourage bacteria resistance, and maintain overall fluid stability. It’s essential to note that coolant concentrates are a separate category and should be housed appropriately to retain the full benefits of your efforts.

Once the containers are in the correct storage placement, you will need to verify all drum, pail, and tote lids are sealed thoroughly. Climate control measures must follow the above-recommended guidelines. Any time a team member dispenses or transports fluids from one vessel to another, ensure they use all adequate safeguards to prevent debris, dust, or water contamination. These harsh external elements can degrade the fluids over time if not correctly handled.

If your facility needs to use an interim container of any kind, it must undergo a thorough inspection and cleaning process. Filling a contaminated container with clean, usable fluids can increase the risk of fungal, bacterial, and moisture pollution. They will have damaging effects on the coolant concentrate and degrade its integrity.

Enhanced Inventory Control

Meticulousness about your storage efforts can help control the inventory and uphold a clean process for transporting or dispensing demands. It is advantageous to keep a manual log of each fluid container, level, and access to maintain complete control of the supply. Without thorough manual tracking, a team member may dispense fluids directly from a drum without knowledge of the remaining volumes.

Another issue with improper storage and managing inventory is losing sight of correct fluids. For example, all drums may look blue, but the labeling, readability, and log will help direct each team member to the correct fluids. One highly effective way to mitigate potential human errors is to train and certify only one technician to access the storage facility.

Controlling the inventory can be as simple as designating specific containers for use and leaving others for storage. While this may increase the potential for transfer contamination, it is avoidable when done correctly. Consider using drums as bulk storage and dispensing the desired volume into a small pail for frequent use. When the pail runs low or empties, refer to the designated technician to seek a refill directly from the drum.

Increased Operations Efficiency

Maintaining storage well directly impacts total operational efficiency and excellence. Some facilities will benefit from establishing large drums in a centralized storage location with an overseeing technician managing the inventory. Other facilities may find keeping their metal cutting coolants directly near a vital machine is efficient and productive. Keeping vital working fluids nearest their designated equipment can control dispensing measures and eliminate the risk of hauling them through a large work environment.

Storage Encounters and Solutions

While maintaining your storage facility, fluids, and containers, you may encounter a series of issues with solutions. It’s essential to meet the needs of these solutions in a timely fashion to avoid costly, irreversible damage to stored fluids. Below is a list of common occurrences with ideal solutions to reverse the issue:

  • Add acticide14 for prolonged central bath shutdown.
  • Run the pump or use an external air hose to create better circulation for inadequate fluid circulation.
  • Add Serade WQ Buffer for too-low pH levels.

Santie Oil Company is a leading supplier of metalworking fluids and coolants. To ensure your storage efforts meet the needs of your facility’s fluids, partner with us today, and one of our trained and certified technicians can assist you.