Treating Oily Smoke

There’s no way around it—metal machining operations produce oil mist, smoke emissions, and coolant mist. But that doesn’t mean that your workers need to breathe them in and put their health at risk.

Before you can mitigate this risk, though, it’s important to know what you’re up against.

What is oil smoke or mist?

Smoke is made up of solid particles in the air that result from combustion or fire. But smoke in most mist collector applications is not actually smoke, because there are no solid particles. Smoke, in mist applications, is either submicron oil mist or steam. 

Submicron oil mist or oily smoke is generated by heat and/or pressure. In quenching and lubricating a machine tool with straight oil, some portion of the oil evaporates or vaporizes. When it condenses back to a liquid, particles from 0.05 to 1.0 micron are formed. This ultra-fine mist resembles smoke due to the small size of the particles.

In high-pressure lubricant systems, also referred to as micro-fog devices, anti-misting agents and chemical bonds that keep mist droplets large are overcome by high pressure, generating liquid particles typically between 0.1 and 1.0 micron in size. This fine mist also resembles smoke.

What is oily steam?

Steam is commonly produced in machining applications involving water-soluble coolants. In fact, water is one of the best coolants on the market. When water comes in contact with a hot part, some of the water vaporizes and condenses back as steam.

Whether your application is generating oily smoke or steam, you may have visible emissions above your mist collection system. Before you add a HEPA or another filter to the system you have, contact your local authorized TRION representative. We’ve got you covered—and we’ll work with you to determine the best solution for your needs.

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