Many benefits follow from putting cart before ‘swarf’

Oct. 1, 2013

Eaton Corp., Beachwood, Ohio, is a global, diversified power management company and an industrial manufacturer with 2012 sales of more than $16.3 billion and more than 100,000 employees.

"We do a good amount of grinding work here — in making spools and sleeves for hydraulic steering units and to give components for our Char-Lynn line of motors a smooth finish," says Josh Saldivar, plant manager, Eaton PMC-Hydraulics Operations, Eden Prairie, Minn. "A filtration system for the coolant is required to help remove some of the grindings, which we call ‘swarf’."

Eaton Corp., Beachwood, Ohio, is a global, diversified power management company and an industrial manufacturer with 2012 sales of more than $16.3 billion and more than 100,000 employees. Eaton Corp. organizes itself in five business groups: electrical, aerospace, vehicle, hydraulics and filtration.

The Eaton hydraulics group supplies custom solutions based on a comprehensive line-up of pumps, motors, transmissions, valves, cylinders and controls. Respected brands under the Eaton banner include Aeroquip, Boston, Char-Lynn, Hydrokraft, Hydrowa, Hydro-Line, Integrated Hydraulics, SEL, Synflex, Vickers, Walterscheid and Weatherhead.

At the Eden Prairie plant, over time, swarf accumulated at the bottom of the machining tanks. "But it doesn’t just sit there," Saldivar says. "It also makes the coolant less effective. As swarf continues to build up, we have to shut our machines down, shovel it out of there and then refill the machines with more coolant."

Didn’t stand pat

Clearly, the work was time-consuming, labor-intensive and ended up costing a fair amount of money. Therefore, Saldivar took steps to improve the situation. But as it happened, he didn’t have to look very far. The Eaton filtration group, at that very moment, was in the midst of launching a new mobile shop floor filtration system, known as FloWash.

Rick Jacobs, president of the filtration group, visited Saldivar’s plant and asked him to take a look at the product. "We were discussing opportunities," adds Saldivar, "and coolant filtration was a great opportunity."

The FloWash system operates in-line or as a stand-alone portable system at up to 45 gpm of machining coolant, oil, water or other liquids. It allows for rejuvenating fluids anywhere in a plant. Key components on the industrial filter cart include:

  • A one-piece body, fabricated filter vessel with safe, reliable access for bag replacement, with no tools required.
  • Ergonomic, integral cover handle is easy to open and close.
  • Powered by compressed air, the double diaphragm pump does not require electric power.
  • Filter bag options include LOFCLEAR, HAYFLOW, DURAGAF, SENTINEL and UNIBAG.
  • Five separate vessel models are available.

Saldivar decided to give the cart a try, but not before making a few modifications, with the most significant being the addition of larger, 18-inch wheels to make the system easier to handle and even more mobile. He also added lightweight suction and pressure hoses to simplify setup and hose storage.

Significant benefits

"The cart is used on nine different machines and moves through the plant on a rotational basis," Saldivar says. "Our initial estimate on cost savings is about $12,000 per year. That’s based on significantly reducing the filter paper that we were using, and also the cost savings associated with not having to clean the tanks as often."

Additional benefits include a doubling of coolant life; reduced costs associated with recycling or disposing of coolant; improved tooling savings based on improved coolant flow; and better overall quality of finished components.

The cart, he notes, helps his facility contribute to one of Eaton’s top priorities — implementing sustainable business practices. "I know we send out a lot less coolant from the plant," says Saldivar. "So we are definitely reducing our waste stream."