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Oil mist separators (also oil separators) are filter systems for extracting aerosols from ambient air.
During cutting and shaping processes in the metalworking industry, mists, vapours and smoke can arise from the use of cooling lubricants. On the one hand, this happens mechanically when fast-rotating tools atomise the cooling lubricant (such as when grinding or turning work pieces). It also occurs when evaporated cooling lubricant condenses again on hot surfaces. Openly mounted, still hot work pieces can burden the ambient air with emissions. In principle, all surfaces exposed to cooling lubricant (such as dirty work clothes, oily polishing rags or floors) should be seen as emission sources. The warmer these surfaces are, the worse they affect the ambient air.
Cooling lubricant aerosols, smoke and vapours enter the operator’s respiratory tract, digestive tract or skin. This can damage the human body in a number of ways:
There are generally three ways to reduce cooling lubricant emissions in workplace air:
Choosing the right cooling lubricant is crucial for preventing aerosol mists, oil smoke and oil vapour when processing work pieces. Often, not enough cooling lubricant is used on the work piece or the wrong cooling lubricant is used. Furthermore, the processing machine and the oil mist separator must be maintained regularly. Hot, wetted work pieces should be stored in closed containers — never store them in the open. If possible, the work piece machine itself should be fully enclosed to prevent emissions from escaping.
Oil separators are used to capture unpreventable aerosol mists. The OILMAC oil mist separator, developed by ESTA, works through mechanical separation. It uses a 3-stage filter system consisting of a pre-separator, a main separator and a backup filter. This provides filtration efficiency of 99.95%, ensuring that workers and processing machines are protected.
OILMAC oil separators are used with grinding machines, processing centres, lathes, milling machines, coolant systems, honing machines, lapping machines and spark erosion machines, among others.
The OILMAC is installed right onto these machines, to save space, or is installed next to them and connected by a pipe or extraction hose.
The right filter system design is one of the most complex issues when dealing with cooling lubricant emissions and should always be handled by an expert.
Harmful substances, such as aerosols, smoke, vapours or dusts should always be captured and extracted right at their source. However, heat generated by the processing machines causes thermal streams that transport suspended solids to the workplace ceiling. Efficient workplace ventilation ensures that these substances do not enter the employees’ breathing space.