Lubricating Oils

Why is viscosity of lubricants important?

All lubricated systems such as bearings, gears, hydraulic pumps etc. are designed for optimum system life with the correct oil viscosity and type.

As such varying from manufactured recommend guidelines may cause undo component wear and subpar performance of the total system.

What are synthetic oils, and can they be mixed with mineral oils?

Unlike mineral oils that are a combination of various molecular wight products synthetics are engineered to a very narrow design spec as to ingredients and manufacturing process.  Synthetic can include simple ester to complex ester and glycols as well as hydrocarbons.

Synthetic as an engineered product have specific lubricating characterizes such a low melting or pour point, very high flash ot fire points biodegradable or nontoxic.

Normally most synthetic can be mixed with a mineral oil lubricant however some incompatible

Combinations can exist.  So, it is best to either change the whole unit’s fluid over to synthetic or check with the oils manufacture as to compatibility with existing fluid.

Are synthetic oils better?

It depends on a lot of system conditions such as if the oiled system leaks and or operates at a normal temperature with no service problems perhaps a high value synthetic is a waste of money.  However, where a system runs at high temperature or needs very long service life a synthetic would be a better option.

How often do I change out lubricants?

Depending on the lubricant type normally a synthetic lube will last much longer perhaps 3 or 4 timers compared to a mineral oil.

Simply looking at a sample of the oil may show cloudiness due to water or grit or debris

Both of which mandate an oil change out.

Oil analysis is the best way to work out when lubes need changing with varying condemning limits.

Can I mix your brand of way lube or spindle oil into what I have in the machine?

Generally, yes you can,  however  when changing over lubes to a different brand lube oil it is sometimes a good idea to drain and refill the system especially if the oil is very old.

While this maybe not needed in most cases it is always a good idea if time permits.

Can I use your coolant with the coolant already in my machine?

Normally yes you can however when changing coolant over especially if the coolant is old, dirty or has a high amount of bacteria then now a good time to dump and clean system of old bacteria, oil and debris before adding in a fresh change.

Machine Coolants

How to mix machine coolants for best performance

When mixing water dilutable fluids always use clean drinking water and mix in a clean mixing tank or container.

Mix completely with a paddle, blade mixer or venture mixer until the fluid is fully dispersed and uniform.

Avoid dumping concentrate directly into machine sump because full mixing may not be accomplished, and fluid separation can occur.  Also controlling the mix ratio is very hard to do.

Over rich coolants may foam more and leave a sticky film where under mixed coolants can cause rusting and tool life or finish problems.

Why is my coolant clear when I startup?

Some fluids that are “emulsion type” such as soluble oils are prone to separation over time if water quality is not good.  High amounts of salts and mineral hardness can concentrate over time and cause fluid separation over night or a weekend.  Then when machines are started up the separated fluid will be on the bottom of the coolant tank where the pump picks it up and it may look clear or “thin” over a few minutes this fluid should re mix and be fine.  But this indicates a fluid changeout should be in order or a more separation resistant fluid should be used, and water quality should be tested.

What to do if rust starts in machines?

This is normally a lean coolant condition or over diluted fluid so check mix concentration.  Also, this can be due to fluid separation from high minerals content and also running coolant under these conditions for too long in other words it worn out.  Check water quality with your supplier.

Why does my coolant have a bad smell?

Coolants are not normally operated in sterile conditions (bacteria and fungi are everywhere in our world).

A machine coolant offers a great breeding ground for bacteria if the coolant is neglected and not maintained correctly.

A fully formulated coolant is designed to resist this bacterial and fungal attack.  But over time odors can form this is usually due to things like coolant being used too lean for too long or  excessive tramp oil in the coolant, or dirty neglected coolant etc.

Coolant lab testing is a good idea the coolant manufacturer should offer this service kind of like a blood test.  To evaluate what the coolant condition is and how to keep the fluid running best for long life.

Why does my coolant foam up?

Typically mixing a coolant to rich or thick or allowing the coolant to become over rich due to water evaporation from the coolant is the common cause.  Coolants must be kept in the correct mix range to avoid rusting and foaming.  Some makeup waters are very soft in mineral this will aggravate foaming and sometime the wrong coolant type is being used.

How do you maintain coolants?

Working with your fluid supplier will ensure the best fluid life with minimal waste oil generation.

Coolants should be mixed at the correct mix ratio with clean drinking water.

Day to day maintenance should include making sure any floating tramp oil is removed from the machine sump vis shop vac or absorbent pads.

Top off fluid with a mixture approximately half the normal use level this will reduce chance of having coolant get to rich from water evaporation which can then cause foaming.

Sending out a fluid sample for testing from time to time to the fluid Manufacture will ensure if fluid needs attention you can get the correct recommendation.

What type of coolants are there?

Water diluted fluids normally are have 3 classifications:

Soluble oils with the highest mineral oil content

Semi Synthetic with a lower mineral or synthetic oil content

Synthetic with no mineral oil but may contain synthetic oils

What is the best coolant to use?

Depends some considerations are type of material being machined, tool life, bio resistance even the type of additives that are acceptable for the end product example Chloro or Sulfur additives may cause part contamination if used on copper alloys.

This is where input from your fluid supplier will be helpful since they know their fluids properties best.

For instance, a “simple” use like a band saw maybe fine with a soluble oil.

Where a high flow high pressure CNC mill with shower wash, through spindle etc. will require a non-foaming long life high rust inhibited fluid.

Can I dump old coolant down the drain?

No, the high oils and metals present will be considered a toxic pollutant and is a violation of both state and federal laws. If disposal is need contact licensed oil/waste disposal service.

Work with your fluid supplier to create a recycling program where fluids can be cleaned, re fortified and reused.

When recycled to the fullest the only waste should be tramp oils, machine oils such as hydraulic or way lubes that get leaked into the coolants.


Does Grease have a viscosity like lubricating oil?

Yes, kind of, Grease use a “firmness” classification since they are semi sold.

Softest is a #000 where hardest is a #6.  This is like comparing a jelly jam consistency to a candle.

Like Lubricating oils manufactures of grease lubricated equipment call out the correct grease thickness for optimum unit life and service.

Can greases be mixed from brand to brand?

Generally, greases should not be mixed from brand to brand.

Variations in formulations and soap or thickener type from Manufactures can cause incompatibility.

This may cause the greases to liquefy and run out of the bearing or lubricated area.

However, If the grease soap or thickener type is known such as Lithium or Aluminum

then normally changing brand to brand is OK. A good practice is flush as much oil grease out as possible to reduce any chance of incompatibility.

Why are some grease red and some green or white?

Normal grease with out a filler are brown or amber in color.

Brand recognition for marketing brings in colors and some additive will also color the grease.

Moly types are slate gray where a food grade maybe clear or white.

Normally color is not a very good indicator of performance but can make an easy visual aid to see if the unit was greased.

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