/ins Expensive metalworking fluids are no longer needed to cool and lubricate workpieces and cutting tools in the machine tool industry. Instead, there is now a proven green and clean method, EcoCooling, that uses only ionized and cooled air and has none of the environmental hazards and costs related to oil-based fluids.
EcoCooling is the result of long-term, interdisciplinary R&D from the same team that developed the optical technology behind Amazon’s ground-breaking family of front-lit Kindle devices.
Now the group of scientists, engineers and experienced businesspeople from various disciplines has developed a dry, clean and environmentally friendly method to cool and lubricate metal workpieces without using any emulsions.
“Workshops have wanted to get rid of the fluids and many have tried to find a solution to the problem, but with poor results”, says Leo Hatjasalo, co-founder and CEO of EcoCooling. “Now we have the answer to this demand, since EcoCooling can be used when cutting and carving everything from high tensile steels and titanium alloys to plastics.”
The global market for metalworking fluids’ value is estimated at about $ 12bn this year. It is growing steadily, with estimates that the global market for machine tools is expected to grow from $ 120bn to $ 150bn in five years’ time. The growth is driven, for example, by the accelerating need for components in the aerospace, automotive and transport sectors.
“EcoCooling is not only a way to cut down the costs of emulsions, but also a way to boost productivity, minimize maintenance costs and improve occupational health and safety”, Hatjasalo says. ““Since the chips are not contaminated by the metalworking fluids, they can also be fully recycled without cleaning.”
The EcoCooling unit is very compact in size, and the system can also be easily retrofitted to older machine tools. The unit does not need any service and has been proved to prolong the lifetime of the cutting tools significantly.
“EcoCooling is based on the fact that ionized air penetrates the cutting zone and forms a dry lubricant that decreases cutting friction and generated heat, at the same time speeding up the oxide layer formation”, Hatjasalo explains. “The process is patented on all continents, and at the moment we are validating it to include all types of machine tools.”
The next step for the company is to find a partner to be able to commercialize the groundbreaking cooling-lubrication method on a worldwide scale.
“During the past few years, the method has been successfully trialed in numerous commercial tests in demanding surroundings in different countries”, Hatjasalo says. “It has proved to give excellent results, combined with big savings and substantially less environmental impact compared to using traditional metalworking fluids.”
Oy ECE EcoCooling Engineering Ltd
Picture of the unit:
The extremely compact and maintenance-free EcoCooling air-cooling unit makes it possible to build smaller and cheaper metalworking machines. The technology, based on ionized, cooled air, makes metalworking fluids redundant and has proved to prolong the lifetime of the cutting tools significantly. The unit can also be easily retrofitted onto existing machine tools and tool-parks worldwide.
The process graphically presented:
EcoCooling utilizes cooled ionized-air flow in the working zone to form a dry lubricant, which decreases cutting friction and generated heat, and speeds-up oxide layer formation
The experienced team behind EcoCooling is partly the same that developed the front-lit technology used in Amazon Kindle-devices. From left to right Juha Hatjasalo, Leo Hatjasalo, Jori Oravasaari and Jarmo Maattanen
Oy ECE EcoCooling Engineering Ltd is part of a portfolio of Finnish high-tech companies developing world-leading technologies, like the front-lit technology used in Amazon Kindle-devices. It was developed and industrialized by the portfolio company Modilis Ltd., which was sold to Amazon in 2010.
The patented, ionized EcoCooling air-cooling system is a completely different story, since it is aimed at eliminating the use of harmful metalworking fluids in industrial material cutting processes. The system has been industrially researched and developed since the end of the 1980s. It has been thoroughly tested in real-life processes and assessed in 3rd party tests and is now ready for global commercialization with the support of an industrial partner that operates globally.