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The experienced team behind EcoCooling is partly the same that developed the front-lit technology us

The experienced team behind EcoCooling is partly the same that developed the front-lit technology us



Ionized air to replace metal working fluids

EcoCooling, a ground-breaking innovation in which ionized air is used to cool and lubricate workpieces and cutting tools, has the potential to transform the machine tool and metal component manufacturing industries

July 2020

Expensive metalworking fluids are no longer needed to cool and lubricate workpieces and cutting tools in the machine tool industry. Instead, there is now a proven green and clean method, EcoCooling, which uses only ionized and cooled air and has none of the environmental hazards and costs related to oil-based fluids.

EcoCooling is the result of long-term, interdisciplinary research and development (R&D) from the same team that developed the technology behind Amazon’s ground-breaking family of front-lit Kindle devices.

Oy ECE EcoCooling Engineering is part of a portfolio of Finnish high-tech companies developing world-leading technologies, like the front-lit technology used in Amazon Kindle-devices. It was developed and industrialised by the portfolio company Modilis, which was sold to Amazon in 2010.

Now the group of scientists, engineers and experienced businesspeople from various disciplines has developed a dry, clean and environmentally friendly method to lubricate metal workpieces with ionized and cooled air without using any emulsions.

EcoCooling unit: compact and maintenance-free

EcoCooling unit: compact and maintenance-free

“Workshops have wanted to get rid of fluids and many have tried to find a solution to the problem, but with poor results,” said Leo Hatjasalo, co-founder and CEO of EcoCooling. “Now we have the answer to this demand, since EcoCooling can be used even with the hardest known metals like chrome, titanium and tungsten carbides.”

 

BIG MARKET

The global market value for metalworking fluids is estimated at approximately $ 12 billion this year. It is growing steadily, with estimates for the global market value for machine tools expected to grow from $ 120 billion to $150 billion in five years’ time. The growth is driven, for example by the accelerating need for components in the aerospace, automotive and transport sectors.

“EcoCooling is based on the fact that ionized air penetrates the cutting zone and forms a dry lubricant that decreases cutting friction and generated heat, at the same time speeding up the oxide layer formation,” Hatjasalo explained. “The process is patented on all continents, and at the moment we are validating it to include all types of machine tools,” he added.

Hatjasalo emphasized that EcoCooling is not only a way to cut down the costs of emulsions, but also a way to improve productivity through higher cutting speed, reduced wear of cutting tools and minimised maintenance costs.

“Since the metal chips are not contaminated by any fluids, they can also be fully recycled without cleaning,” he said. “Another big advantage is that it eliminates toxic fluid waste and fumes, in addition to minimising CO2 emissions, since no oil is used.” 

The technology makes it possible to build smaller and cheaper metalworking machines, since the EcoCooling unit is very compact in size.

“The unit does not need any service and it has proved to prolong the lifetime of the cutting tools significantly,” Hatjasalo said. “The system can also be easily retrofitted to older machine tools,” he added.

 

THE BIG LEAP IS STILL AHEAD

During the past few years, the patented, ionized EcoCooling air-cooling system has been successfully trialled in numerous commercial tests in demanding surroundings internationally. It has been thoroughly tested in real-life processes and assessed in third party tests and is now ready for global commercialisation with the support of an industrial partner that operates globally.

Now that the process has proved to give excellent results, big savings and substantially less environmental impact, the aim is to create a versatile EcoCooling product family that includes all machine tools in addition to just turning machines.

“We are also planning to integrate the system to suit different CNC machine tools and to create optimal solutions for all machine tools and workshop environments,” Hatjasalo said. “However, for that purpose we need more funding than we can raise on our own. Therefore, the next step is to find an industrial partner to help us to commercialise EcoCooling globally and to develop the ways the technology can be used,” he concluded.




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