ILMA Compoundings - September 2020 - 26
like a soluble oil but without the drawbacks like causing
corrosion on machine parts, creating strong odors and
damaging the metal being machined."
NAVIGATING THE REGULATORY
As MWF manufacturers innovate with new products, new
and often complex regulations arise to ensure that those
products are used safely and appropriately.
Julie Thomas, global director of environmental, health
and safety for Master Fluid Solutions - and chair of
ILMA's MWF Committee - said, "While suppliers continue to develop new technology for use in metalworking
fluid formulations, regulations continue to evolve and
bring challenges for both market acceptability and regulatory compliance.
"Country-specific requirements, such as K-REACH and
EU-REACH (and now Brexit), continue to challenge the
ability to provide metalworking fluids on a global platform,"
she added. "These regulations can limit the available
substances within a region and bring additional cost to
For example, she notes that Japan's Poisonous and Deleterious Substances Control Law, along with its Pollutant
Release and Transfer Register, can limit the number of raw
materials that are acceptable to the end user.
Two items are particularly high on the MWF Committee's
current agenda. "In the U.S., a group of registered biocides
known as isothiazolinones (ITs) are currently under review
by the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide
Programs, under its Registration Review program," Thomas
said. In addition, she said, "The draft IT risk assessments
are under review by many vested parties. ITs have been used
successfully and safely in metalworking fluid formulations
for many years; the goal is to demonstrate this safe and
effective use with data.
"Also current in the U.S. is the Toxic Substance Control
Act (TSCA) Active Inventory and Priority Lists," she added.
"Metalworking fluid manufacturers continue to work with
their suppliers to ensure raw materials are listed as active on
TSCA and monitor the priority list of chemicals to see if any
raw materials are on the radar for risk evaluations."
Helping ILMA members understand and manage the
multiple regulations and reviews is part of the function of
the MWF Committee. "The committee acts as a platform
for members to share concerns and seek clarifications for
business issues and regulations that impact the industry,"
Thomas said. "Individual members may not have the
required in-house expertise for every issue, so the committee can research and provide expert opinions to member
companies and the industry in general."
| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG
FACING THE FUTURE
Looking ahead, Tahir said, "The market is constricting,
and three trends are really driving this: upgrading to fewer
machines that have advanced capabilities and require less
fluid; an increase in near net shape manufacturing, which
reduces the need for surface finishing and requires less metal
removal; and the rise of additive manufacturing."
In the near future, he believes, "Metalworking fluids will
become more focused on oil-based synthetic hybrids, since
this aligns with more automation and long cycle time. We'll
also see more automation developed to help monitor the
fluids in the machine versus having people manually check it.
"We'll continue to see the development of new metals
that don't exist naturally - hybrids like Inconel, which are
extremely hard, high in nickel and lightweight," Tahir added.
"Additionally, as more of the population ages, demand
for components for medical devices will grow, which will
require more stringent medical approvals.
"Finally, I think many manufacturers are using this temporary slowdown [due to COVID-19] to really look at their
operations and find opportunities to become more efficient.
They'll be looking for ways to reduce costs and improve
performance - and metalworking fluids can obviously have
a big impact on the bottom line."
Adapting to the increasing expectations of MWF customers requires an ongoing commitment to both education
and innovation. "We place a lot of emphasis on education
within our organization and how the knowledge gained
can be best utilized by our clients," Gottlick said. "New
revelations regarding tooling, changes in additives, potential
changes regarding labeling or health and safety requirements,
REACH compliance - all these aspects need to be conveyed and understood. This level of interaction with clients
can be challenging without the proper skills and knowledge
base needed to succeed. Continued professional development is mandatory if you want to excel in the metalworking
side of the lubricants industry."
While the MWF market continues to grow, it nevertheless
remains a specialized niche. Yet it is a niche that Gottlick,
for one, is excited to explore.
"Manufacturing, selling and servicing metalworking
fluids requires a degree of commitment that some may find
daunting," he admitted. "But we find the challenge to be
Bittner is a Michigan-based freelance journalist and a frequent
ILMA Compoundings - September 2020
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