Sustainable Machining through Minimum Quantity Lubrication and Solid Lubricants

Sustainability has attained a lot of importance in today’s manufacturing industries which extend efforts towards the optimum use of resources without compromising the quality and productivity. Machining is viewed as an important manufacturing process that can produce precise dimensions and desired finish on a workpiece.

The question “how to develop cost-effective, safe and eco-friendly machining process?” was addressed through the development of a novel and eco-friendly lubrication strategy, such as application of solid lubricant assisted minimum quantity lubrication in machining. Further, it has also led to an economical machining process by reducing consumption of the lubricant. The focus of the research work was also to motivate the metal cutting industries to develop clean, green and sustainable manufacturing processes.

It is challenging to control the amount of heat generated during machining since the application of conventional cutting fluid is hazardous for the operator’s health as well as for the environment. Moreover, the government regulation regarding the disposal of these fluids, environmental protection, and the need for development of low cost, clean and green processes leads the manufacturing industry to take initiative towards the development of sustainable manufacturing processes.

Dr Mayurkumar Ashwinbhai Makhesana, Assistant Professor, working at Mechanical Engineering Department, Institute of Technology, Nirma University, took this challenge in his doctoral work entitled “Performance Assessment of Solid Lubricants and Minimum Quantity Lubrication in Machining”. The innovative lubricant delivery system, namely minimum quantity solid lubrication, was designed to investigate the effect of machining parameters on machinability characteristics. Moreover, the effect of solid lubricant combined with MQL was assessed and results were compared with different machining environments. From the experimental findings, it was observed that the machining performance is enhanced with the application of solid lubricant and minimum quantity lubrication. The results revealed the encouraging potential of solid lubricant added with minimum quantity lubrication by improving machining performance, and enlighten the possibility of replacing the conventional flood cooling.