Almost three years ago, Bill Wanner and Payton Hage, co-owners of pump manufacturer Wanner Engineering, Minneapolis, MN, decided to buy highly automated machining systems. According to Hage, president, flexibility was a critical factor. The 25-year old company needed the flexibility and productivity provided by such a system to outpace their competition and remain responsive to customers' delivery requirements.

Wanner pumps are used in lime slurry in cogeneration plants, in trucks for lawn care, and in submarines producing nuclear grade water by reverse osmosis. The pumps are also used in machine tools for low- and high-pressure applications, with diaphragm-style pumps that handle coolants with particles up to 500 microns. They're used for all types of fluids: hot and cold, acids and corrosives, and thick suspensions. Subsequently, pump components are made from cast iron, brass, hastaloy, stainless steels, aluminum and polypropylene, depending on the application.

"We wanted the agility to fill a customer's order for a single pump, when necessary, by machining all the needed components on a j-i-t basis," says Hage. "This could mean running an aluminum housing followed by a stainless steel manifold, plus steel cylinders, cast-iron cylinder housing and valve plate, and numerous other parts from any other parts from any of the materials, one right after the other."

The machining system Wanner and Hage chose was the Mazak Palletech Series (from Illinois-based Machinery Systems, Inc.) consisting of two horizontal machining centers and a 15-pallet part pre-staging, machine loading/unloading and transfer unit. They also specified that each machine be equipped with ConSep 2000 chip-handling conveyor/coolant cleaning systems from Mayfran International, Cleveland, OH.

"We've worked with Mayfran in the past, providing pumps for many of their systems," says Hage. "We were familiar with the ConSep, and its ability to handle a variety of chip shapes and volumes produced from different materials. It seemed the ideal option for our application. Because the machining system operates with high-pressure coolant flow, we also added bag filter units to clean the coolant."

For the most part, reports Hage, the machining system and ConSep have lived up to and surpassed their expectations, except for one detail. Although a variety of materials are used, the predominance of cast iron machining meant a large amount of small fines and super fines (below 50 microns) were accumulating as sludge and clogging the bag filters, restricting coolant flow and requiring frequent maintenance for cleaning.

"It was somewhat ironic and very irritating that the coolant system, especially the bag filters, would disrupt our productivity," says Hage. "Our machine operators reported that when processing cast iron parts, the filters would slime up in a matter of minutes. The productivity and flexibility we sought were lost, in large part due to this sludge-removal downtime."

Fortunately, this condition did not exist long. Mayfran introduced the AT-Coolant Cleaner, an independent, maintenance-free, media-free coolant filter unit that integrates with the ConSep system. The new filter provides 10-15 micron coolant cleaning, in addition to the ConsSep 2000's preliminary 50-micron separation, through a mechanical process. There are no bags or other media to purchase, clean, replace or dispose of. A conveyor carries particles and sludge separated from the coolant to a scrap hopper.

Once installed, the CS-2000 and AT-Coolant Cleaner combinations have virtually eliminated migration of process-harmful contaminates to the "clean side" of the process, a critical element in the performance equation of today's high pressure operations.

For Wanner Engineering, this means unrestricted flow rates running at variable rates of up to 15 gpm and in pressures from 800 to 1,000 psi. It also means less wear on machine tool components, workholding devices and tools, and longer coolant life. In addition, the company's waste stream liability has been lowered and the potential for spills and overflows has been reduced.

"We've been operating the machining cell for about 18 months now, with the AT-Coolant Cleaners on the job," says Hage. "In that time, the system has not had to be shut down once for cleaning of chips or sludge. This has exceeded our expectations."
Mayfran International, 6650 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-0038; 440-461-4100.