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Cutting fluids are sprayed onto the area where metal objects or sheets are cut or processed. These fluids minimize heat build-up by lubricating and cooling the interface between the object and the tool. They improve productivity by limiting the amount of wear on a tool, prolonging the lifespan of numerical control machine tools, facilitating the removal of metal particles or reducing pinching or seizing. There are two types of cutting fluids: neat oils (refined petroleum products) and aqueous fluids (solutions or emulsions composed of over 90% water). These liquids often contain additives to improve their performance or longevity (emulsifiers, biocidal agents, anti-corrosion agents, anti-mold agents, etc.).
Regular contact with cutting fluids via aerosols and splashing is hazardous to the health of the user due to the dangerous substances and germs that they contain (carcinogenic, allergic or infectious risks). There are many safety recommendations designed to limit the risk of exposure and occupational disease. Prevention depends on worker protection (gloves, safety goggles, masks, etc.) and implementing best practices to minimize splashing and the formation of aerosols.
Aqueous fluids, which are often maintained at high temperatures and are rich in organic compounds, provide an ideal environment for microbial growth.
A high biological burden (bacteria, yeast, mold, etc.) can lead to technical, economic and health problems, including:
• Effects on procedures: loss of quality in aqueous emulsions, decreased processing performance;
• Effects on equipment: formation of anaerobic niches that are prone to bio-corrosion; blockage of machines, filters and pipes;
• Effects on well-being: nauseating smells, skin or eye irritation, respiratory issues, etc.
• Effects on health: allergies and skin or respiratory infections (dermatitis, erythema, impetigo, pneumopathy, bronchitis, Pontiac fever, asthma, etc.). Many bacteria and fungi that are frequently found in cutting fluids (Pseudomonas sp., Legionella sp., Staphylococcus sp., Candida sp., Fusarium sp.) can cause occupational diseases (particularly in workers who are immunocompromised or otherwise sensitive).
To avoid these harmful effects and prolong the lifespan of cutting fluids, industries closely track changes in pH and the alkaline reserve. They use preventive chemical treatments (bactericidal and fungicidal additives) in the smallest volumes necessary, as biocidal agents can cause other problems (irritation, rashes). If significant contamination occurs, users most often choose to discard the used fluids (via incineration) and completely disinfect the system. However, these measures are difficult to implement in a timely manner and do not address the full range of microbial diversity that can proliferate in these highly specialized environments. Learn more
Rapid microbiological analysis using ATP 2G is an efficient, low-cost diagnostic tool that is easy to implement in an industrial setting and allows the user to:
• use a reliable biological indicator to monitor biological contamination of fluids and base liquids in real time;
• quickly identify any biological shifts, thereby increasing responsiveness in decision-making and the efficacy of corrective measures;
• identify the source of the contamination: water or oil quality, the presence of a biofilm, ineffective biocidal agents, etc.;
• prevent problems with procedures or equipment; ;
• prevent health risks, specifically by deploying protective measures when contamination reaches a critical threshold or by calibrating the amount of biocide needed to treat the actual biological load;
• optimize procedures economically, ecologically and health-wise (for example by verifying the efficacy of an alternative biocidal agent).
aqua-tools Rapid Microbial Solutions recommends the QGO-M™ rapid microbiological analysis kit for:
• Measuring the total biomass of cutting fluids (organic oils and emulsions) and lubricants;
• Continuous monitoring of the microbiological quality of fluids throughout a system;
• Optimizing cleaning and disinfection of circuits or trays to verify the efficacy of maintenance procedures or to adjust the biocidal treatment to the actual biological load.
• QG21I™ for analyzing aqueous solutions used as cutting fluids (or as a base).
• Oil- or water-based cutting fluids used in the machining industry for processing, cutting, stamping, rolling, etc.
• Other lubricants used in the automotive industry or metallurgy.