Heat transfer fluids for metal finishing applications
Metal finishing refers to a broad range of industrial processes that alter the metallic surface of a manufactured item to achieve a certain characteristic, such as improved chemical resistance or electrical conductivity. These processes are highly common in the automotive, electronics, telecommunications, heavy machinery and aerospace industries.
Metal finishing is essential to extend the lifespan of many products, which would otherwise be damaged by corrosion, leading to a high turnover of many industrial and household equipment. This would negatively impact the economy and the environment.
Why use a thermal fluid in metal finishing applications?
Thermal fluids are essential to reach and keep the desired temperatures in many manufacturing methods of metal finishing, such as metal plating, one of the most common. In metal plating, the surface of the material is covered with a thin coating of metal, such as copper or nickel.
To effectively coat the material, the metal bath must be at a precise temperature, which varies widely depending on the metal and the type of material being coated. The right heat transfer fluid can ensure that the correct temperature is reached and then maintained for the duration of the process.
Other metal finishing processes include heat treatment, metal anodizing and galvanizing. All of these techniques require the use of large process equipment, that normally need heat transfer fluids for heating and cooling.
What should I look for in a thermal fluid for metal finishing applications?
Metal finishing applications require high temperatures for extended periods of time. As a consequence, it’s important to select a thermal fluid with good thermal stability.
All thermal oils tend to degrade over time, since at high temperatures, the bonds between hydrocarbon chains start to break and produce carbon in a process called fouling. As the concentration of carbon increases, it can deposit sludge into the pipes and reduce the efficiency of the entire system.
A thermal fluid with a high thermal stability can resist high temperatures and occasional temperature peaks. This can slow down degradation and prevent the formation of sludge.
It’s also important to choose a heat transfer fluid with a high flash point, the temperature at which a fluid produces enough vapour to be ignited. Over time, the molecules in a thermal oil will break down in a process called thermal cracking, creating volatile light ends. These cause the flash point to drop, increasing the risk of fire. Thermal oil condition monitoring is essential to maintain a safe site and ensure system availability.
This non-toxic mineral based fluid works at temperatures between -7° and 320° C. it contains a highly resilient blend of additives that are resistant to sludging, to guarantee long-lasting, problem-free service. It is also resistant to oxidation and thermal cracking, which makes it ideal for metal finishing applications.
This heat transfer fluid has superior thermal and oxidation stability and is therefore ideal for metal finishing applications.
Globaltherm® M can operate between -10° and 345° C, which makes it perfect for a wide range of metal finishing processes that might require different temperatures based on the metal used and the material to treat.
How do I maintain my thermal fluid for metal finishing?
Global Heat transfer can help you determine which thermal oil is best for you and will support you in monitoring the efficiency of your heat transfer process via regular sampling and engineer visits.
Like all industries, businesses in the metal finishing sector are tying to be more environmentally friendly to reduce their impact on the planet and avoid ever-increasing environmental fines. To reach this goal, it is paramount to be as thermally efficient as possible.
Subscribing to a proactive maintenance plan such as Global Heat Transfer’s Thermocare is important to guarantee that your heat transfer system is running efficiently. This includes regular system analysis, fluid top-ups and flashpoint and fouling management.
Are there any important regulations to be aware of?
The DSEAR and ATEX regulations protect workers against risks from fire, explosion and similar events arising from dangerous substances present in the workplace, including thermal fluids. These regulations apply to all industries that use heat transfer systems, and employers in the metal finishing sector must be aware of them.
At Global Heat Transfer, our expert team will be able to advise you on how to comply with relevant laws in relation to thermal fluid management.
Have you got more questions about thermal fluid for metal finishing applications?
For more personalised advice give us a call on +44 (0)1785 760 555 or visit our contact page to make an enquiry.