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July 2018

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Coolant Chillers: An Often Overlooked Way to Improve Productivity

To stay competitive, machine shops must continually search for ways to machine parts better, faster and cheaper. Investing in high speed, multi-axis machines and integrating automation into their machining processes are two of the more obvious solutions, but adding a chiller to their machine tool can also give them a competitive edge by speeding production.

Machining processes generate heat. As a result, machinists often have to monitor their processes and make offset adjustments to compensate for the fluctuating temperatures. They also must often waste time waiting for a machine to warm up after it has been sitting. All of this slows production and prevents true lights-out automated operation.

"Some higher end machines are equipped with sensors and software that monitor temperatures and automatically adjust the machine tool offsets to compensate for the associated thermal growth, but many do not," said MP Systems spokesperson. Also, even machines with automated thermal control software do not compensate for the expansion that can occur in the workpiece. Long workpieces with lengthy cycle times are especially susceptible to thermal growth.

"For example," MP Systems Engineering Manager Kyle Quintin explained, "a 12-inch long piece of carbon steel will expand .0038 inches with a 50° rise in temperature. A piece of aluminum the same length will grow .0075 inches. This makes it difficult for the machinist to maintain tight tolerances without constantly checking the part and making program offsets."

Coolant chillers can prevent workpiece thermal growth and keep the machine tool at the optimum machining temperature, thereby eliminating the need for frequent part inspections, thermal offset adjustments and machine warm up time.

"Our chillers are typically set to maintain coolant temperature within a degree or so of ambient temperature," Quintin noted, "which allows the coolant, machine tool and workpiece to all remain at the same, consistent temperature throughout processing. This stabilizes the machining environment and reduces the risk of machining errors."

MP Systems' chillers are designed to operate between 70 °F and 90 °F ambient temperature and can be used with oil or water-based coolants. The company offers a stand alone chiller (CS36) and a mounted chiller (RC36), which is designed to mount on top of MP Systems' R Series high pressure coolant systems (HPCS). Both chillers can remove up to 36,000 BTUs per hour at 70 °F ambient.

The stand alone CS36s open loop system pulls hot coolant from the machine tool tank, circulates it through the chiller to cool it to the desired temperature and returns it to the machine tank.

The mounted RC36s open loop system pulls coolant from the MP Systems HPCS tank and circulates it through a heat exchanger in the chiller where it is cooled. The majority of the coolant is then sent to the machine tool tank and the rest is returned to the HPCS tank. The HPCS tank maintains its coolant level by automatically cycling the feed pump on and off based on tank level settings.

"Both chillers are built to last and they are very low maintenance," Quintin said. "You do not need to add refrigerant and you will never need to replace the compressors. Plus, they come with more standard features than other chillers on the market."

The company will display its chillers and high pressure coolant pump systems at IMTS at McCormick Place in Chicago September 10 - 15 in booth 339410.

For more information contact:

MP Systems, Inc.

34 Bradley Park Road

East Granby, CT 06026


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