Getting the Drop on Lubrication
“I was a little nervous about DropsA at first,” said a customer of Revolution Machine Tools who had recently obtained a new bandsaw from them. After his team had put in over 80 hours on the machine in the first week, however, he had no complaints about the optional DropsA air/oil clean lubrication system that RMT had recommended. “It is fantastic. We don’t have water stains on the floor—we don’t get that anymore.” He added that it is a “very clean unit, it keeps the blade cool, it keeps my material clean.” (Bryce Fab testimonial video for the RMT S-ECO PDM 10-14 double miter bandsaw.)
Coming in at only a few hundred dollars more than a basic micro mist cooling mechanism, the DropsA air/oil lubrication system is a popular add-on for bandsaw and cold saw customers of Revolution Machine Tools, who offers it as an option with every model.
That’s a Slick Idea
For as long as there have been machines with moving parts, machine operators have had to contend with friction, which is the resistance that two surfaces create when they move against each other. While friction has its uses—such as giving the soles of shoes traction while a person is walking—it generally plays havoc with mechanisms where touching parts must move in relation to each other.
Thousands of years ago, ancient civilizations discovered that friction could be reduced to a great extent by the application of water, powdered minerals, oil from olives or other plant matter, and grease created by rendering or melting animal fats. It was only in the last couple of hundred years that refined and unrefined petroleum-based products began to be used as industrial lubricants.
In addition to reducing friction and wear between moving parts, lubrication can also help to cool the parts, as friction between fast-moving surfaces can also generate considerable heat. This is especially true in the case of saws and drills which are sharp tools moving at rapid speeds to chip away at the relatively softer material of the workpieces. Because of this, machine lubricant is sometimes called coolant and more often just “cutting fluid” for its multifunction use of lubricating, cooling, and washing away swarf, or the chips that come off the material.
Cutting fluids, which can also contain rust inhibitors, are often an oil-water emulsion—a mixture your high school science teacher likely said was impossible—which is added by the customer to a specified amount of water before being poured into a saw reservoir, where it is stored until it is sprayed on the blade. A downside of cutting fluid is the potential for hazardous mess, with excess flood spray coming off the saw blade and splattering on the shop floor, on employees, and within the work environment, the potential for workplace accidents, employee health issues (respiratory and skin irritants), and shop cleanliness can all become a cause for concern.
Who Is DropsA?
Founded in Milan, Italy, in 1946, DropsA began developing lubrication products for different industries. One of their earliest clients was International Business Machines (IBM), who needed oil lubrication systems for their printing equipment. Four years later, DropsA added grease lubrication systems to their offerings and took the lead in developing the new technology of Dual Line systems.
The Dual Line centralized delivery system uses two main lubrication lines that run in parallel through an entire system: a delivery supply line that fires the lubrication point injectors and a return line that vents back to the reservoir. Dual Line systems can accurately deliver oil or grease over great distances from a single pumping station to up to several hundred points, if needed, with points easily being able to be added or removed from the system following the original installation.
In the 1970s, DropsA pioneered the concept of a modular lubrication system, which can be readily customized to suit the specific needs of a business. In 1995, DropsA was also the first lubrication company in Italy to be accredited with ISO 9001:2000, a quality management system (QMS) certification program established by The International Organization for Standardization.
DropsA has become a world leader in the manufacturing and development of lubrication systems, expanding from more basic oil and grease systems to innovations like recirculating oil lubrication systems, air/oil lubrication systems, and “near dry machining,” where a minimal quantity of oil is carried to the lubrication point in an aerosol format via a controlled compressed air stream.
Why Use an Air/Oil Lubrication System?
A hybrid air/oil system, like the one developed by DropsA, is comprised of a continuously flowing stream of air that cools lubrication points while also conveying small droplets of oil that are injected into it at regular intervals. The oil coats the surfaces at each lubrication point to reduce friction and wear. High-speed components such as bandsaw blades require specialized lubrication solutions like an air/oil system which can deliver precise amounts of the air/oil mixture where needed.
The low-cost air/oil system from DropsA offers several advantages over traditional lubrication methods, including:
- An incredibly compact design
- A modular system for easy maintenance and customization
- A simple interface
- Fully integrated monitoring
- Integrated or remote-cycle control
- The ability to accommodate higher speeds
- The ability to keep bearings cooler
- A volumetric approach that assures the exact amount of lubrication reaches each point
- A dramatic decrease in the amount of lubricant necessary for optimal efficiency
- A continuous investment by the company in research and development
- Virtually NO mess or cleanup required on your cut parts
- No drips or slips around your shop floor
- Much longer blade life, especially for Carbide as regular coolant causes thermal cracking
Don’t Drop the Ball with Your Next Saw
Machine buyers, from managers of large factories to owners of one-man fab shops, want to get the most out of any piece of metalworking equipment they acquire. Revolution Machine Tools understands this and offers the very best components as standard or optional equipment with every machine that they sell. That is why they are partnered with DropsA USA to provide their air/oil lubrication system as a highly recommended add-on with every bandsaw and cold saw that they sell.
RMT chose to offer the DropsA system because of their proven track record of eliminating the waste and mess of regular cutting fluid systems while increasing the life cycles of the machines that have them installed. When you are in the market for your next saw, please call Revolution Machine Tools for a competitive quote and be sure to ask about the DropsA lubrication system. Your RMT representative will be happy to show you how the DropsA system will improve your metal cutting experience and help you have a more productive, clean, and profitable operation.