Whether you’re challenged by a customer who needs to reduce costs per part or face a procurement process designed to find lower-cost alternatives, turning to cheap industrial fluids is not the way to help the cause.
In my 2nd decade of helping industrial production customers reduce their fluid costs, and a doing it completely without prejudice of who the fluid manufacturer might be, I am 100% certain that using the wrong fluid is more costly than using the most expensive fluid.
Do you need the most expensive fluid? Maybe, or maybe not. There are plenty of experienced engineers, operators, and fluid technicians to help with that decision. But I know you don’t need “cheap” alternatives. I’ve seen this approach many times. And not once have I seen cheap fluids accomplish the goal of saving money.
Industrial fluids account for approximately 3% of a metalworking shop’s costs. Overwhelming? No. But a decent cost. So I understand the desire to look at fluid expense when costs need to be stripped from a process. But that 3% is arguably the most universal “tool” in any shop. It literally flows from the beginning of your process all the way through to your waste treatment/disposal doors.
Industrial fluids affect part quality, tool life, environmental reporting statistics, air quality in the plant, machine cleaning schedules, floor cleaning schedules, water usage, disposable filter usage, and even employee morale. Any asset that affects so many aspects of your operation cannot be looked at under a single lens, like cost per gallon.
The approach I’ve seen help the most, starts with taking control of the fluids so they perform as needed in all areas of the operation. This provides the engineers and operators the insight they need to make the whole operation more efficient – and that’s what will save real money in the end.
Once you have your industrial fluids under your control, the opportunities to save and improve will be clear.
QUICK DISCLAIMER: I don’t sell industrial fluids. I do help customers take control of their industrial fluid assets so they have insight into fluid purity levels, insight and access to (the many) purification processes and technologies available, and they have expert (on-site and lab) support to help demonstrate, trial, and prove the value gained from their fluid process choices.