Cutting fluid has a major impact on every operation, even beyond its useful life. Similar to how improper coolant management can increase consumption, shorten tool life, and reduce throughput, improper coolant disposal can harm the environment, incur regulator fines, and drive up disposal costs. Minimizing fluid waste is critical for mitigating these risks and protecting your bottom line.

What’s at stake for manufacturers with a high disposal rate? And what are some strategies to minimize costs? Here’s everything you need to know.

The True Costs of Metalworking Fluid Disposal

Budgeting for metalworking fluid disposal is relatively straightforward. Most vendors charge per gallon they haul away, so the more waste, the higher the price. But there are hidden costs and environmental risks associated with higher coolant disposal rates, including the potential for fines and even increased carbon emissions.

In addition to costs per gallon, many fluid disposal services charge premium prices for hazardous, difficult-to-handle chemicals and materials. If you don’t properly document the chemicals present in your cutting fluid waste and the provider finds out, they could charge additional fees or even sever the relationship. If this causes any improper fluid disposal, regulators may leverage fines and further audit your organization.

The processes involved in metalworking fluid disposal can impact a company’s sustainability profile as well. Businesses are becoming more sophisticated about tracking both their direct and indirect impact on pollution and climate change throughout the entire value chain. Even the fossil fuel consumed when transporting cutting fluids to disposal sites adds to a manufacturers’ overall carbon footprint.

How to Minimize Metalworking Fluid Disposal

The best way to avoid these direct and indirect costs of cutting fluid disposal is to reduce fluid waste. Here’s how.

1. Audit your current fluid disposal strategy. Shop managers should evaluate how much metalworking fluid disposal really costs them. Examine how frequently you need vendors to haul away waste, the volume of fluid disposed of during each trip, and even the amount of space your waste storage area takes up. Waste storage is valuable real estate that could otherwise go to machinery and revenue-generating operations. On the other hand, without adequate storage space for waste, you may incur higher disposal costs with more frequent hauls. Assess the cost of your current disposal strategy in regards to the rest of your operation. Chances are you’ll see opportunities to make changes and reduce expenses.

2. Set new disposal goals. Look at the data you’ve collected during your audit and identify disposal metrics you’d like to improve. Keep in mind the overall impact you’d like to have on your operation as a result of improving cutting fluid disposal. The metric could be as general as the total cost of your cutting fluid disposal or as granular as the number of drums you use to collect waste, and floor space consumed by disposal related activities.

3. Upgrade fluid management processes and equipment. The best way to mitigate cutting fluid disposal is to reduce the amount of fluid you need to dispose of on a regular basis. That means better coolant management. Upgrade your processes so operators check concentration more frequently, regularly remove chips from the sump, and other practices that can extend the life of your fluid and invest in a long life, high-performance cutting fluid such as TRIM® MicroSol® 692XT or HyperSol™ 888NXT. You can even consider investing in a XYBEX™ fluid recycling system to fully maximize your coolant life.

Cutting fluid disposal is an unavoidable part of manufacturing, but taking efforts to minimize it will generate incredible savings over time — financially and environmentally. To learn more about how to extend your coolant life and minimize waste, contact our team to schedule a comprehensive plant audit.