The manufacturing industry, and metalworking, in particular, is complex and constantly evolving. Experts in this field use specific language to talk about cutting fluid qualities, machining challenges, key performance indicators (KPIs), and other industry-specific scenarios, and these terminologies can have a steep learning curve.

Here are some of the important words and phrases for those new to the industry to learn. (Note: While some of these terms seem familiar in an everyday sense, they may be new to you in the metalworking context):

Tool, Machinery, Equipment, and Material Terms

  • Coolant – A fluid that inhibits heat during a machining operation. Coolants also provide lubrication during machining, and the word is often used interchangeably with metalworking or cutting fluid.
  • Cutting tool – A milling or turning insert, tap, drill, broach, etc used in machines to remove metal from a workpiece. Optimal cutting fluid can dramatically increase the useful life of each tool.
  • Machine sump – A reservoir in each machine that houses cutting fluid and often collects contaminants from the operation.
  • Through tool – A type of advanced cutting fluid application system that disperses cutting fluid directly through the cutting tool. This optimizes chip evacuation at the point of cut. It’s also referred to as a through-spindle coolant system, or coolant through.
  • Workpiece – The base material being machined in a subtractive manufacturing process.
  • Biopreferred – A USDA designation that recognizes a product as being comprised of plant-based, eco-friendly, and otherwise renewable ingredients.

Fluid Maintenance Terms

Operation Terms

  • Carryoff – Cutting fluid that is carried off with the chips or conveyor that needs replenishment.
  • Chips – Metal removed from a workpiece.
  • Corrosion – Oxidation of a workpiece that results in rust and other part finish issues and can be caused by incorrect fluid, concentration, poor fluid maintenance, and even material compatibility.
  • Foam – Air entrained in the cutting fluid leading to poor tool life, spills, pump cavitation and increased coolant consumption.
  • Mist – Coolant, oil, and/or water vapor emitted from a machining operation which can affect air quality.
  • Subtractive manufacturing – A type of metalworking operation that removes material from a workpiece. Usually referenced in contrast to additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.

KPI and Productivity Terms

  • Feeds and speeds – Feed is the cutting tool feed rate into the part — sometimes expressed in inches per minute or inches per revolution. Speed, measured in surface feet per minute, along with feed, is a metric of productivity. Speeds, feeds and depth of cut equate to a machine’s material removal rate, or MRR. Coolant plays an important part in increasing MRR.
  • Sump life – The measure of a cutting fluid’s useful life before it needs replacement. Operators can extend fluid life by properly maintaining cutting fluid.
  • Throughput – This measures the amount of material passing through a system or process. In metalworking operations, increasing throughput increases productivity.
  • Tool life – The measure of a cutting tool’s useful life. Improving tool life with high-quality and well-maintained cutting fluid can dramatically increase throughput and reduce replacement tooling costs.

This glossary is just a small selection of some of the most important terms used in metalworking and surrounding cutting fluid. Call +1 800-537-3365 or email us at [email protected] to learn more about other educational opportunities or to schedule a site visit from one of our reps.