A Clean Sump Prevents Bacterial and Fungal Growth in Coolant
When it comes to machining, maintaining sump chemistry through sump tank management is essential to the health and well-being of employees, the protection of expensive equipment and the integrity of manufactured products. A sump basin and associated pump are used within many machining applications as holding receptacles for water and other essential fluids. Coolant is applied to the water and machine operators frequently encounter a host of problems when bacteria and fungus begin to grow. Bacterial and fungal contamination of sump water can be hazardous to employee health, causing skin irritation, unpleasant smells and respiratory issues. Says SCL Subject Matter Expert, Jon Seymour, “In machining, your water source creates the contamination – not the coolant. Water matters, and reverse osmosis (RO) water is best. These situations are important because what kind of lawsuits might you be facing if an employee becomes sick with dermatitis or a respiratory infection? Companies want to be putting their people before their profits, so maintaining a clean sump system is an easy way to ensure that.”
The Benefits of RO Water
Reverse osmosis is the process by which water is de-mineralized and de-ionized. It is pressurized and pushed through a semi-permeable membrane that separates dissolved and suspended contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, fungal particles, and minerals.
Regular Sump Tank Management
Sump tanks and pumps can accumulate bacterial, fungal and mineral sludge that over time can wreak havoc on your machinery and manufacturing processes. You need your water to be as clean as possible, your coolant to remain chemically stable and your temperatures to be regulated for optimal performance. When cleaning your sump, be sure to flush responsibly, ensuring environmental safety and compliance with local, state and federal regulations for disposal. Wear the appropriate safety equipment to avoid contact with skin or inhalation of harmful chemicals or contaminants. Be mindful of products being used for the flushing and cleaning of your sump system as many chemical additives can be caustic, causing skin and respiratory irritation.
Cleaning and Flushing the Sump System
In an article published by Machinery Lubrication, to ensure fluid compatibility and to avoid cross-contamination issues, using a “Chemical cleaning solution or agent is likely (your) best cleaning option, but you must be sure to get all of the cleaning solution out of the sump. This may require a fill and drain (flush) with the new (fluid) to be used, then a final fill with the new (fluid) to be used in the operating equipment. Any remaining cleaning solution may cause issues with emulsification of water or foaming and aeration.” They go on to suggest the importance of making sure that your chemical solution is compatible with seals, gaskets, paints, glues, etc., so that there is no solvent corrosion that may lead to leakage.
According to the article above, fluid analysis can be helpful to determine specific fluid chemistry and performance, and “Remediation (may) involve both the removal of… sludge, varnishing or debris (flushing) plus the removal of the root cause before the system is returned to service with normal life expectancy.” Flushing may actually promote leakage as deposits are removed from seals and gaskets that have become compromised with age. “Problems can also come from the disturbance and resuspension of settled, low-lying contaminants that are not fully carried out of the system during the flush.”
The Bottom Line
By maintaining sump health through regular sump tank management using RO water, testing fluids via fluid analysis for potential and existing problems, flushing your sump regularly to eliminate contaminants and by understanding the inherent risks of harmful bacterial and fungal deposits, you can keep your team, your equipment and the integrity of your manufactured products safe.
Contact an SCL Consultant Today
In a wide range of industrial sectors, SCL is committed to being the number one logistics and solutions provider for the products that protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving. We pride ourselves on remaining at the forefront of industry trends and technological innovations, and as the market continues to evolve, we are committed to providing extensive product and industry knowledge and total performance satisfaction for our customers. For information on how we can assist your fleet in choosing the optimal products at a competitive price, contact an SCL consultant today.