As industries continue to drive demand for more efficient, cleaner and cost-effective processes, fluid solutions must not only serve the current marketplace, but also anticipate the needs of the future. Quaker Houghton’s Aerospace and Defense Global Director, Patrice Sajkiewicz, delves into the current challenges within the sector.
Across the world, mission-critical parts are milled at a high daily output rate for all sorts of industries. Needless to say, manufacturers rely heavily on metalworking fluids to provide high-quality durability and performance capable of meeting these production demands.
The Aerospace and Defense industry is no exception. With the U.S. looking to remain committed to fortifying its military, a Deloitte analysis expects the industry to remain resilient. This, alongside the expected CAGR of 2.5 percent between 2021-2026 for the metalworking industry, means companies within the aerospace sector will be looking to integrate more efficient solutions to meet the expected demand. One such solution is optimization of cutting fluids used in the metalworking process.
Creating Complete Fluid Solutions
Often, the primary challenge for fluid manufacturers is creating solutions that offer improved efficiencies in all aspects of its application. Within the Aerospace and Defense industry, this is especially important.
Cutting fluids need to be versatile across numerous materials, ranging from carbon fibre composites to aero aluminum alloys and heat resistantalloys to serve the market more widely. While solutions can be tailored to specific materials, aerospace OEMswill already have many metal working fluids approved for use on these various materials, with extensive testing and data behind each product to ensure it meets the strict standards required. Consequently, formulating cutting fluids that can pass the expected performance ratings for each required material can be a challenging, lengthy and expensive prospect, and approvals can take years to achieve.
One such instance is the fluid’s performance in other areas, such as detergency. It goes without saying that machines need to be clean and free from residue to perform at optimum efficiency. Therefore, cutting fluids that reduce drag-outs are heavily sought-after, due to the costly downtime required to clean and service the machinery.
Material compatibility and detergency must be achieved while also improving the cutting performance and reducing bacterial issues, demonstrating the difficult challenge fluid manufacturers face when formulating with the industry’s criteria in mind.
However, that’s not to say new cutting fluids are considered out of bounds. It’s a given that aerospace OEMs will need continuous improvement in their processes, especially in fluid performance.
An example of the type of cutting fluid innovation that is leading the modern market is Quaker Houghton’s HOCUT® 4260, a water-soluble metal-working fluid. Boasting various benefits, the cutting fluid is designed to provide enhanced machining performance alongside extended tool life and reduced product consumption.