Oest oils for Metal Forming Processes

It’s hard to choose the best metal forming fluid in a saturated market when oil companies roll out the same unique selling propositions and narrative.

  • We have superior oil quality
  • Excellent long tool life and wear prevention
  • Machines remain clean
  • Oil drag-out on parts is low
  • Our lubricity is optimised for this application.
  • And many more.

Where does an Engineer start? Do you go with a name you recognise? That’s a famous brand I’ll be safe with them, or do you choose a 100-year-old company that takes the broader manufacturing view?  We know after talking to any potential client, all comment that other oil companies never talk about the manufacturing steps that follow their: –

  • Sheet metal stamping,
  • Drawing and deep drawing,
  • Fine-blanking,
  • Seamless tube pilgering,
  • Welded tube rolling
  • Tubular hydroforming,
  • Cold rolling

Processes and discuss the impact their oils will have on your cleaning and degreasing equipment and chemistry?  Until working with the 100-year-old German oil producer, Oest, I had not heard of this much broader industry approach. If fact looking at the big four competitors to Oest, non appear to mention the impact of oil chemistry on cleaning outcomes.  What happens to your precious components next is as vital to Oest as the metal forming process itself.

Car parts Produced by Accurate Sheet Metal Stamping Tool Die.

Most metal components require degreasing after a wet manufacturing step. Parts are usually washed in water-based detergents or solvents, ready for inspection, shipping and assembly.  Some go onto other manufacturing steps where residues can contaminate the next process, resulting in process downtime, remedial work and substandard parts.  In every metal forming business, your degreasing system requires the same technical level of attention given to your metal forming machines and tooling.

Oest is a company that has developed a wide range of forming oils and machine lubricants that perform the intended task and have a unique feature of high compatibility with your parts cleaning systems.

Why is this compatibility important?

All manufacturing oils and lubricants have additives to help them fulfil their mission effectively. If not carefully chosen by the oil manufacturer, these additives and the base oils can create many cleaning and degreasing system problems. These issues are generally chemical in nature and result in machine issues and part cleanliness problems. With many resulting in adverse outcomes such as these examples below: –

A loss of solvent stability requiring excessive stabilisation. An expensive and sometimes time-consuming task that is avoidable with the correct oil selection.  Understanding the information contained in the MSDS of the oils used in your business is important. As is ensuring through your cleaning agent supplier that the oils washed from components is compatible with the cleaning media.

Your vapour generators foaming. It’s the oils removed from components that foam, not the solvent. Foaming occurs during the washing cycle when a pressure change happens inside the degreasing machine, such as during the vapour degreasing phase. This foaming contaminant gets carried around the degreaser, contaminating parts you’re attempting to clean and compounds the problem by spoiling the distilled cleaning media. Selecting Oest oils removes this inconvenience.

Thermal decomposition of your manufacturing oils and its additives can lead to stains appearing on components, undesirable solids forming in the vapour generator and pipework, foaming, alkaline production and acid formation. Leading to machine instability and cleaning issues with increased maintenance and the real potential for corrosion to the machine’s internals. Oest oils chemistry is carefully selected to avoid this preventable outcome.

Co-distillation from additives put in the oil can have very different boiling points to the base oil material. The result is co-distillation which means the contamination boils at a similar temperature to the solvent, travelling around the machine indefinitely. Over time the co-distilled contamination builds up in the solvent, eventually showing up on parts as wet patches or stains. The only solution is an avoidable expensive bath exchange.

Lubricant boiling point – neat forming oils typically have boiling points around 280-320C which are well above a solvents’ operating temperatures. Water-based fluids used in transfer presses can have much lower boiling points. This group of forming fluids is very compatible with water-based detergent cleaning systems. Still, the boiling point of the lubricant is critical to achieving good results when working with solvent degreasers.

Lubricant flashpoint – There is a group of popular oils used in metal forming applications called vanishing oils. These oils have a volatile content which evaporates overtime to leave parts almost clean—the lower the flashpoint, the more volatile the oil and the faster it evapourates allowing parts to be used soon after manufacture. Due to the next manufacturing step’s requirements, many companies still clean these parts to ensure minimal part rejections. Washing these parts in a solvent degreaser too soon after manufacture can lead to a dangerous build-up of the low flashpoint elements entering the cleaning system. Leaving product for a suitable length of time after production and before cleaning is critical.

Coolants mixed with hard water – many coolants operate fine with hard water at the forming machine but can cause problems later as mineral salts build-up in the system.  Over time the water evaporates or is lost through drag out.  The machine is topped up with fresh coolant to maintain normal operating levels.  The mineral salts get left behind were agitation is minimal, resulting in a white build-up of sediment.  This progressive hardening of the water translates into cleaning and degreasing problems.  In particular, chlorinated solvents will tend to leave behind mineral salts on the parts, usually in small radii or across larger flat surfaces with Zintec or brushed metals being particularly susceptible to stains and run marks.  Oest has a range of lubricants that maintain lubricity performance and operate with conditioned soft water, thus removing a build-up in your metal forming machines and degreaser.

Oil Density – typical in metal forming applications, the oil density can significantly impact cleaning outcomes. Less so with solvent-based cleaning systems, since the solvent and oil effectively become one until distilled. But detergent-based cleaning systems behave differently with oils captured by the detergent either floating or in some cases sinking. To have both types of oil in a single cleaning machine is a recipe for disaster since most cleaning machines are geared up to handle either floating or sinking contaminants not both.

Oil Viscosity – closely related to the associated density issues, viscosity can lead to cleaning problems. Again typically particularly with heavy-duty deep drawing applications. An example might be stainless steel fuel tanks for road vehicles. Producing these requires heavy forces and excellent lubrication. The lubrication used is usually viscose, and even at 0.05mm thickness can leave 100ml on the metals surface, until cleaned before welding. It doesn’t sound much, but a high-performance cleaning machine will process 25-35 shells/hr which equates an average 3l/hr of oil entering the cleaning machine, which must be managed and controlled to maintain cleanliness. If these oils have any of the above negative qualities, it will result in plenty of maintenance, machine down-time, poor welding results and a dissatisfied customer.

There are thousands of degreasing systems here in the UK, with most removing some type of lubricant. If your cleaning system is expensive to maintain, problematic or appears on the production meeting agenda too often, perhaps you are experiencing a symptom of oil selection rather than a failing degreaser?

Use our “Contact Us” form for a free no-obligation discussion about your challenges. If you want it, we can investigate the root cause, with a state of the art analysis laboratory at Oest,