In the realm of machine cutting, proper lubricant of the cutting tool has always been vital to proper operation. A car running without oil will quickly overheat and metal parts will break or warp. The same principle applies to industrial saws and dies. The friction caused by metal to metal movement produces an inordinate amount of heat in a short period of time. Left without lubrication, the saw blade or cutting die will quickly become damaged.
For many years, petroleum based lubricants have been the standard in the industry. But such products have their drawbacks. Though petroleum based lubricants can do a good job of limiting friction heat, a good deal of product is necessary to dissipate such heat.
In addition, petroleum based products have a tendency to stain the material being cut. Finally, most petroleum products are considered a hazardous material by the Environmental Protection Agency. The end user must take precautions when disposing of used lubricant.
Many companies are now switching to a biological based saw blade lubricant. These products are made from animal fats and have several distinct advantages over petroleum lubricants:
•Bio-based organic products generally can provide greater lubricity than oil based lubricants. In some cases, they may provide up to 300 times more lubricity than a typical oil based product;
•Because of greater lubricity, there is far less friction and as a result, far less chance of a heat build up and thermal damage to the product to be cut;
•With greater lubricity, less lubricant is needed for the same job. Less product used means less waste, less clean up and a lesser chance of spillage, decreasing the chance of slippage around machinery;
•Greater lubricity and less thermal build up will prolong the useful life of cutting tools;
•As an organic compound, bio-based lubricants are not hazardous to the environment. No special hazmat procedures are needed for disposal.
The return on investment in switching to organic based lubricants can be realized rather quickly. The longer term dividends in the form of lower clean up costs and longer user life of machinery can be substantial.