Before the industrial revolution, early metalworkers used straight oils and lard as some of the earliest cutting fluids. As technology became more advanced, so did formulas for water soluble coolants, which was the foundation of the TRIM® brand in 1951. Formulators developed new categories of cutting fluid like emulsions, synthetics, and semisynthetics, each optimized for different types of operations and materials. Still, straight oils remain an important solution in the industry for difficult machining operations such as swiss, gear manufacturing, broaching, and gun drilling.

Cutting oils have improved dramatically over the years, and the latest generation of oil cutting fluids have some of the most advanced properties and capabilities of any on the market. Here’s what to look for to find the best cutting oil for you.

The Benefits of Cutting Oil

Used without any dilution, cutting oils are added into the machine sump and provide maximum lubricity for challenging machining operations. In general, cutting oil is used in operations where lubrication is more important than cooling. Manufacturers that specialize in gun drilling, gear hobbing and grinding, broaching, honing, and swiss machining benefit especially from this category, but it can help any operation using difficult-to-machine materials or heavy-duty, slow cutting speed (SFM) operations.

What to Look for in a Cutting Oil

Cutting oils have come a long way in recent years. Here are four qualities to look for in the best cutting oil:

1. Low Misting

Cutting oils are notorious for being more difficult to clean than other types of water soluble coolants. Machinery and facilities often deal with a heavy oil residues, slippery surfaces, and hard-to-clean parts. Many products in the latest generations of cutting oils are formulated to have high flashpoints as well as be low misting, and clean running, so they can offer better air quality and less hazards than previous generations.

2. High Oxidation Stability

A danger with older generations of cutting oils is that they can oxidize easily, reducing their lubricity and effectiveness and increasing viscosity, carryoff, and residues. New cutting oils are optimized for high oxidation stability, so they last longer even when exposed to the most extreme conditions.

3. Made With Renewable or Bio-Based Ingredients

As sustainability becomes increasingly important for manufacturing, end users are prioritizing suppliers that lessen their environmental impact. Often cutting oils are formulated primarily with nonrenewables, but now products like those in the TRIM® catalog use high lubricity, renewable ester based oils — which can improve performance over mineral oils without the need for chlorinated additives. This reduces both carbon emissions and often has a higher flashpoint than mineral oil counterparts. Part of the USDA BioPreferred catalog, oils such as TRIM® OV 2200 are bio-based and an essential part of moving operations toward a carbon neutral model.

4. Optimized to Your Operation

Cutting oils come in more tailor-made options than ever, and each one has a specific formula and capabilities to accommodate various operations. Now, manufacturers don’t have to contend with a one-size-fits-all solution — they can choose a product that’s specific to the materials they machine, from the toughest alloys to the hardest steels. TRIM OV 2200 is VOC free, and even meets the requirements of medical equipment manufacturing. Finding the best cutting oil for your operation will improve part finish quality and increase throughput.

Cutting fluids have evolved to elevate every kind of machining operation for better overall quality, greater efficiency, and higher profitability. Though cutting oils have been around for decades, Master Fluid Solutions continues to formulate new products that take the category into a new era of manufacturing. Begin a free trial of one of our high-quality cutting oils so you can see the difference with TRIM yourself.