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Chemtool Incorporated
801 West Rockton Road, Rockton, IL 61072
Telephone (815) 957-4140 | Fax (815) 624-0292


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801 West Rockton Rd.
Rockton, IL 61072
(815) 957-4140

Chemtool Blog

Five Factors to examine during a new metalworking fluid trial

Posted by Chemtool Team on June 6, 2018

MWFPreviously, we discussed five reasons to request a new fluid trial for your shop. Like so many things in business, a trial’s success depends on how you do it.

Your supplier’s representative can help you choose a fluid that is compatible with your workpiece metals and otherwise fits your situation, but to be sure converting is the right move, consider these factors. We’ve laid them out in roughly chronological order.

1. Foaming

When metalworking fluid (MWF) foams, it will either be an unstable foam (with larger bubbles that dissipate quickly) or a stable foam, with smaller bubbles which remain for long periods. Though foaming is never desirable because it can cause problems throughout the system, stable foam obscures the operator’s view of the workpiece and may cause problems where the tool meets the surface.

Advanced fluids have very low foaming characteristics, but if you experience foaming, check if there might be mechanical reasons for it, such as seal leaks or loose connections allowing air into the system. Very soft water can also cause increased foaming.

2. Viscosity and short-term performance

The latest advanced MWF’s can deliver a viscosity 25 or even 150 times higher than typical fluids, and your representative should be able to give you specific data on the viscosity of the product you’re testing. But the proof will be in the pudding as you test the fluid in an operational context. Does it deliver better film strength? Is there improvement in how the workpiece and the tool interact? Is the wetting and cooling performance of the fluid superior to your current product?

3. Odor and other operator acceptance factors

Not too long into your trial, you should know if the product will cause “Monday morning odors,” and you should have an evaluation of it from your operators. Advanced fluids tend to have a fresher smell, be far less friendly to biologicals and create less spray, so you should be getting positive feedback, but encourage them to be as frank as possible in their comments.

4. Tool life and long-term performance

If you’ve chosen to trial a new fluid because of unacceptable tool life, evaluating the new fluid in this area will be relatively short and simple. But if other factors motivated the trial, it’s still worth taking the time to examine tool wear and determine whether the new fluid is reducing it.

Other factors to examine include:

  • Tramp oil rejection
  • How well fines settle
  • Compatibility with filters
  • Sump life

5. Overall cost

By the end of the trial you should have a very good idea of the fluid’s operating characteristics and how they benefit your shop. However, you may also be seeing a higher per-gallon cost. Now is the time to crunch the numbers. It’s likely you’ll find your per-piece cost is lowered because increased MWF cost is more than made up by savings in tool life, fewer reworks, longer fluid life, lower disposal costs, etc. When you have those numbers to compare, you’ll be able to make a final decision with confidence.


Changing from one fluid to another is no small decision, because this 2% of your spend will impact 80% of your production activity. But adopting the latest technology can help you stay ahead of your competition and eliminate a number of expensive and frustrating problems. There’s nothing like real data from your own operation to make it clear which MWF is best for you. Just consider all the factors we’ve discussed, and you’ll be able to make the decision with confidence.

To discuss trialing a NuSol product or other state-of-the-art metalworking fluids, get in touch with us today.

Tags: MWF, metalworking fluids