The Challenge of Achieving Sustainable Metal Cutting

By Brian Boswell and Mohammad Nazrul Islam.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 6, 2014 $US5.00

As a result of today’s consumer society and resulting greenhouse CO2 emissions, the twenty-first century has heralded a wave of predictions of global warming. This has given rise to researchers increasing interest in environmental issues. Historically manufacturing industries have endeavoured to manufacture products with least cost often with scant regard for the environment. Government regulations and a carbon cost for the effects of pollution have now altered the perception of many manufacturing organisations, with many attempting to obtain a neutral effect on the environment. The goal for manufacturing is to consume minimum energy and produce minimum atmospheric emissions, liquid and solid waste. However, modern machine tools appear to be at odds to this goal, as they now increasingly use additional auxiliary equipment, resulting in an increased use of power. This identifies the importance of examining the energy input to the machine tool. Unfortunately, most of the auxiliary energy requirements are necessary for economic manufacturing making it difficult to reduce this energy use. Closer examination of the non-machining power revealed that the only suitable reduction of energy input that could be made is by eliminating flood coolant. Researchers have established that the cost of liquid coolant and the disposal of the contaminated liquid accounts for 17% of the cost of a machined part. In addition there is a power cost for the coolant pump making this a most suitable area to eliminate. This paper will show that cold air with the addition of a minimum quantity of vegetable oil will provide the best sustainable machine process.

Keywords: Life Cycle Analysis, Environment, Economic Manufacturing, Flood Coolant, Sustainable Machining

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.53-69. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 620.242KB)).

Dr. Brian Boswell

Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Brian Boswell received his B.Sc.Eng. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and his Ph.D. in manufacturing engineering from Curtin University of Technology in Australia. Prior to lecturing and researching at Curtin University he has worked as a design engineer and later as head of the school at James Watt College of Higher Education in Greenock Scotland. His current research interests are investigating sustainable manufacturing and solar energy generation. He is currently employed as a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University in Australia.

Dr. Mohammad Nazrul Islam

Senior Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University, Australia

M. N. Islam obtained his first degree in engineering (a combined Bachelor and Master degree in mechanical engineering) from the Technical University of Varna, Bulgaria (1978); his M.E. (Hons.) by research in mechanical engineering from the University of Wollongong, Australia (1990); and his PhD in mechanical and manufacturing engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia (2000). He is currently working as a senior lecturer at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University in Australia. His research interests include precision machining, dimensioning and tolerancing, dimensional analysis of manufacturing processes / process capability, and sustainable machining.