Advancing Environmentally Conscious Machining
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Modern machine tools now consume far more energy than their predecessors, a contradiction in terms since manufacturing organisations expect machining to be carried out in the most sustainable and cost effective way. The goal for environmentally conscious manufacturing is to consume minimum energy and produce minimum atmospheric emissions, liquid and solid waste. Dry machining is obviously the most ecological form of metal cutting as there are no environmental issues for coolant use or disposal to consider. This research was implemented in an industrial situation in a local small to medium sized enterprise (SME) in Western Australia to determine the technical, economic and environmental benefits of the replacement of traditional flood cooling with Minimum Quantity Liquid (MQL). The use of MQL and air reduced the greenhouse gas emissions and eco-toxicity associated with the disposal of the contaminated liquid. It was found that this alternative cooling method increased the performance of the metal cutting operation.
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