Cleaning up the Industrial Industry

What Metal Forming Lubricants Do And Why You Need Them

by Alfredo Harper

Metal forming lubricants are not exactly as they sound. They are not lubricants that magically transform into metals. Instead they are lubricants that lubricate machinery that forms and shapes metals. Here is why any metalworking industry should definitely have metal forming lubricants and how you should be using them.

​Metal Forming Machines Deal with Hot Metals

​Machines that bend, shape, and mold metal are consistently hot. They can overheat and jam up, stopping production on whatever is being made. The lubricants cool the machinery, and keep the metal objects moving through the production process. Additionally, the lubricants keep the metal just cool enough to work with, and not so hot that the metals turn back into a liquid that will not be malleable. When the objects are fully ready, the metal worker will quickly dunk the objects into the nearest cooling lubricant to flash cool it into a perfectly solid form.

​Metal Forming Requires Easy Removal

​Imagine pouring liquid steel into a mold. Now imagine trying to pry or pull that formed steel object out of the mold without breaking neither the object nor the mold. It would be insanely difficult, right? Because the object cooled within the mold (as is manufacturing practice), it adhered to the inside of the mold, and now refuses to come out. When lubricants are used inside the mold, the formed object when cooled will slide right out. It is the equivalent to greasing and flouring a cake pan so that a baked cake will just fall right out when the pan is inverted.

How to Use Them

​The metal forming lubricants should be used inside the machines on any and all moving parts. Gears especially should be lubricated, along with any components that slice using pressure to make the cuts. On metal objects themselves, the lubricants should be applied sparingly during the formation process so that he objects will respond to the processes but remain soft enough to shape. Finally, the fluids at the end of this process should be very cold or kept cool enough to flash-harden and cool the objects being made. Sometimes this means creating a large bath or vat into which the objects may be dropped or a cooling pool at the end of several conveyor belts. Whatever works for the kind of metal forming and metal working your company does is what you should use, along with adequate amounts of lubricants.