Cutting metal is a complex process and should be done as safely as possible. There are numerous legal health and safety standards and regulations in place for such work and these should be followed – but for best practice standards, a Freddy Coolant Recycling Vacuum is recommended to ensure a level of safe manufacturing that is second-to-none.

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A CNC milling machine milling heads in metal industry

Metalworking fluids (MWFs) are water-based fluids or oils used during the grinding, milling, cutting or shaping of metal materials. They provide lubrication where required and cool the machined material. If not used correctly, there are various health risks from working with them. Exposure can be through direct contact with the skin, through cuts or abrasions already existing on the skin or inhaling either the mist generated or indirectly through eating, drinking or smoking in the work area.

The microbiology of these fluids is that they are extremely prone to contamination with harmful bacteria – as well as in many cases, already being unsafe for human exposure. The quality of the base fluid is affected negatively by such microbial contamination; creating both pathogens and deteriorgens. When these are formed, the human health risk is vast; causing and aggravating such conditions as skin dermatitis, pneumonitis, and even legionella. There is such a wide range of microorganisms that can colonise within metalworking fluids which means that when health issues do present themselves, it can be difficult to identify the exact cause of it: which is extremely unhelpful in treating the issue at hand.

For the first time in the UK, a Bioconcept Metalworking Fluid (BMWF) has been produced, which forms non-pathogenic waterborne bacteria originating from the water supply. It is not believed to be harmful to humans and the aim of the naturally-occurring non-pathogenic bacteria is to block the production of any potentially harmful bacteria. This is currently being trialled and tested but is only available through a single supplier and has yet to be studied in-depth. At present, whilst some traditional safety techniques may not be appropriate, precautions must still be taken during the usage of metalworking fluids.

COSHH standards dictate the basic standards for the maintenance and storage of metalworking fluids, but the shelf-life of metalworking fluid is limited before contaminants form. In order for the fluids to remain as safe and of as high a quality as possible, they should be removed and replaced regularly. However, this can be costly, time-consuming and difficult: and can halt production and work whilst it is being done.

Instead, metalworking fluids can be recycled when removed, to avoid their disposal and to increase the sustainability and safety of your metalworking operation.

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A Freddy Coolant Recycling Vacuum

The Freddy range of vacuums easily removes fluid from machines before filtering it for recycling. This process all happens within the machine, doubling the life of the fluid and therefore halving both purchase and disposal costs!

The Freddy range allows for a more sustainable and safe process when metalworking, negating excess costs and putting the safety of the workforce at the heart of the operation.

To learn more about working with metalworking fluids, and how a Freddy can assist click here to view our video, or visit our website –