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Environmental protection and cost reduction: Equipment for oil processing developed in-house

In order for the high-performance Hatebur forming systems to produce parts smoothly in continuous operation, the movable functional units must always be lubricated. What a shame that afterwards the lubricating oil is waste oil. Now, with its new system for oil processing, Hatebur is providing an effective improvement.

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Around 90 percent of waste oil can be reused afterwards. In addition to active environmental protection and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, handling effort and additional costs are also reduced.

When Hatebur presses are working flat out, there is often a large number of pieces or a broad range of parts – or both. Theoretically, operating the presses in 24/7 continuous mode, for example, at a rate of up to 80 parts per minute often produces tens of millions of reliably formed forgings by the end of the production year. High-performance lubricating oils are a must for the bars to be fed in smoothly with the loader and transported through the three to four forming stations. The lubricating oils are supplied to the movable parts from the systems’ storage tank.

A tanker truck full of waste lubricating oil
However, at a consumption rate of around ten liters of lubricating oil per hour, the tank already has to be refilled before a 24/7 production
week is up. This is done either by stationary top-up with pumps or constant backfeed via a central line system, requiring new original oil and incurring substantial costs.

Waste oil is often disposed of after the first separation – now that sustainability and environmental awareness are high on the agenda, this is increasingly something to be criticized globally. But it doesn’t make sense from a cost perspective either, since the total amount of waste oil over one year from one system adds up to 40,000 liters – a whole tanker truck full. Some users send the oil to be reprocessed  externally. Certainly a practical solution, yet this results in many unnecessary journeys, not to mention costs, as well as the time and effort and handling of the waste oil.

“Around 90 percent of the oil can be reused after processing”
With a reprocessing system newly designed by Hatebur for waste lubricating oil, system operators can now do this themselves directly on site. “Using a three-phase centrifuge and a fine filter, around 90 percent of waste lubricating oil can be reprocessed for another process-reliable use,” affirms Wolfgang Müller. The mechanical engineer must be certain, since as the Team leader customer specific development at Hatebur, he has developed, designed and tested the equipment with his team of seven.

Foreign substances significantly affect the oil while working
When the hotformer is working in continuous operation, temperatures reach up to 1200 °C in the forming tools next to the loading and transport unit. No wonder that scales are produced, which then mix with the lubricating oil. Furthermore, the oil mixes with water and the cooling lubricant that is used in the forming area. It is primarily the forging additives in the cooling lubricant of the second cooling circuit that cause problems for the lubricating oil. This means that around ten liters of precious high-quality oil have to be ejected from the cooling  circuit per hour. Now it is clear to see how this adds up to 40,000 liters per year, which is generally separated, then disposed of. Processing arranged by the customer was not a possibility before, since we could no longer uphold our warranty for our high-performance  systems,” says Müller. There was as yet no efficient processing system on the market that considered all critical aspects. Yet there was still  demand for processing on the market, which was expressed again and again, particularly at Hatebur user meetings.

Desire for processing always there
Müller describes the early stages: “After we had addressed the topic of processing large amounts of lubricating oil, we did a great deal of thinking about an elegant solution.” The development work led to the Hatebur oil processing equipment. There is the option to order it as initial equipment as part of an order for a new system. However, it can also be retrofitted. With a small machine footprint and dimensions of 2000 x 2000 x 1800 millimeters, the equipment is compact, so there will be space for it in existing situations. It can be attached directly in  line with a press, but equally can be installed centrally to supply  several systems. Hatebur supports customers with decision-making, installation and commissioning. “We are seeing great demand worldwide primarily for retrofitting to existing system,” says Müller.

Processed lubricating oil valid with warranty
So that the used lubricating oil is just as efficient after processing as before, this in-house development offers several features. Firstly, the used oil is heated to 80–85 °C. Next, the centrifuge spins out solids, other oil particles and water in three stages. To do so, the centrifuge
rotates at up to 10,000 revolutions per minute. The impurities can account for up to 15 percent solids and 30 percent water, as well as 0.1 percent forging additives. As soon as the solids have been separated from the liquids, the liquids are permanently ejected.

To do so, centripetal pumps effectively suction liquid phases, separated according to their specific weight. Valves at the outlets regulate the counterpressure. Thanks to this regulation, users achieve the correct positioning of the liquid boundary area inside the drum, thereby  optimizing the separation performance.

In this process, the centrifuge works as a self cleaning separator. Electricity consumption and shearing forces are taken into account during acceleration and the operation runs accordingly in an optimized manner. The system also monitors formation of emulsions and  controls the speeds so that no emulsions can form. As soon as the solids have been separated from the liquids, they are collected in a collection container, which can be partly emptied during continuous operation. Continuous operation stops to empty the container fully. The PLC controls the operations in a fully automated manner.

Capacity for oil processing for several systems
The oil, which has already been thoroughly cleaned, then passes through a fine filter. This filter with its extremely fine-mesh sieve filters  out forging additives and other unwanted substances, plus more. The highly emulsifying forging additives from the cooling lubricant circuit in the forming units are generally what make processing a challenging task. “The suppliers known to us in the market were not successful
with this,” says Müller. Hatebur achieves this using a de-emulsifying low-pass filter and, as a result, the Hatebur system overcomes the  overall complexity of the challenges in processing. With an output of 50 liters per hour, the oil processing equipment has more than sufficient capacity to process the waste lubricating oil for several systems simultaneously. After the operations, the processed oil is measured for moisture and particles and another process is started if required. The filter and centrifuge are also monitored. For these, there is a cleaning program which runs autonomously, regularly and automatically so that the equipment is almost completely self-sufficient and can be operated with very little maintenance required. Finally, the reusable lubricating oil is fed through a heat exchanger to cool it  down again.

Protecting the environment and lowering costs
It’s good news for the environment that the new Hatebur oil processing equipment means that up to 40,000 liters of waste oil per year and  forging system no longer have to be disposed of. But that’s not all: Since responsible system operators can provide their Purchasing  Department with the attractive possibility of five-figure savings and a payback time of within one to two years, the budget analysts will also  be satisfied.

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