Topic Track: Plant Operations
Session Topic: Minimum Quantity Lubrication (MQL) – Benefits and Lessons Learned for Production Implementation

The seven wastes are a fundamental part of lean manufacturing. Minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) is an environmentally and worker friendly means of reducing these wastes. MQL has been widely adopted in the automotive and aerospace industries with remarkable results. In automotive production it permits moving manufacturing cells closer together, reducing movement, and transporting waste. Additional benefits include reduced workforce exposure to mists, smaller cell footprints, reduced cycle times, lower variable costs, and reduced energy and water use. This can result in a 15% lifecycle cost reduction compared to conventional high-volume water-based coolant. Furthermore, inappropriate processing waste can be greatly reduced. One plant halved the energy needed to produce diesel engines and cut water requirements by 99.8%.

Many manufacturers could benefit from implementing MQL in their operation, but they often do not know where or how to start. This session will share experience and knowledge of what is needed to implement MQL in CNC machines:

  • MQL overview: Definition, advantages, types
  • Materials & operations: What does, doesn’t work
  • What Is Needed: Walk through the system explaining what is needed and what is desirable, from the applicator down through spindle and through the tool
  • Other process considerations
  • Safety
  • Tooling
  • Oils effects
  • Dimensional control
  • Air and chip handling

Unist has been manufacturing minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) solutions for metal cutting since 1957. The company provides solutions that save money in manufacturing processes by reducing the amount of fluids consumed. The consistent application of minimum quantities of fluid improves process efficiency, reduces waste, and is friendly to the environment.

IMTS 2018 Booth #432179