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Minimum Quantity Lubrication Helps Ford Factories Be Greener

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Ford Grille Press Photo

(Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company)

 

Ford says it is using minimum quantity lubrication to improve air quality in it factories and make them more environmentally friendly.

According to the press release from Ford, the technique also known as near-dry machining will help eliminate airborne mist typically emitted during the traditional wet machining method of metalworking. Minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) also cuts down on the large amounts of lubricating fluid used in traditional machining. Think of it as a mist rather than a bath of oil and/or water.

Ford Environmental Quality Director Andrew Hobbs said, “Reducing the environmental footprint of our plants is a critical part of Ford’s overall sustainability commitment. Expanding new processes such as MQL across our global network of facilities allows us to have an even greater impact.”

On a typical Ford production line, MQL can save approximately 280,000 gallons of water per year, the release said. It gave Ford’s Cologne engine plant as an example, noting it shaved 50% of its water use by switching to the method. As for other lubricants, Ford offered this explanation of how MQL is more efficient:

MQL also reduces the amount of oil needed to machine an engine or transmission 80 percent or more, to approximately 100 milliliters – or about half the size of an average drinking glass. Without the need for a coolant system across most engine production lines, MQL also helps to reduce energy use. While conventional wet machining produces an airborne mist, MQL eliminates that mist, improving air quality in the plant.

Ford Powertrain Director of Manufacturing Bill Russo said, “MQL technology will also be incorporated into future engine and transmission plants, underscoring our commitment to advanced manufacturing processes that reduce water and resource requirements.”

Ford plants using MQL machining techniques, according to the release:

  • Changan Ford Engine Plant (China)
  • Craiova Engine Plant (Romania)
  • Cologne Engine Plant (Germany)
  • Livonia Transmission Plant (Michigan)
  • Romeo Engine Plant (Michigan)
  • Van Dyke Transmission Plant (Michigan)

 

MQL also reduces the amount of oil needed to machine an engine or transmission 80 percent or more, to approximately 100 milliliters – or about half the size of an average drinking glass. Without the need for a coolant system across most engine production lines, MQL also helps to reduce energy use. While conventional wet machining produces an airborne mist, MQL eliminates that mist, improving air quality in the plant.

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