Oy ECE EcoCooling Engineering Ltd, part of a portfolio of Finnish high-tech companies developing world-leading technologies, such as the front-lit technology used in Amazon Kindle-devices, is bringing to market the EcoCooling method to replace conventional metalworking fluids with ionized, cooled air.
EcoCooling was developed and industrialized by the portfolio company Modilis Ltd., which was sold to Amazon in 2010.
EcoCooling uses only ionized and cooled air and has none of the environmental hazards and costs related to oil-based fluids.
EcoCooling utilizes cooled ionized-air flow in the working zone to form a dry lubricant, which decreases cutting friction and generated heat, and speeds-up oxide layer formation.
Workshops have wanted to get rid of fluids and many have tried to find a solution to the problem, but with poor results. 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.—Leo Hatjasalo, co-founder and CEO of EcoCooling
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. The process is patented on all continents, and at the moment we are validating it to include all types of machine tools.—Leo Hatjasalo
Hatjasalo emphasizes 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 minimized maintenance costs.
Since the metal chips are not contaminated by any fluids, they can also be fully recycled without cleaning. Another big advantage is that it eliminates toxic fluid waste and fumes, in addition to minimizing CO2 emissions, since no oil is used.—Leo Hatjasalo
Currently EcoCooling is retrofitted to existing metal-working machines; however, the technology makes it possible to build smaller and cheaper metalworking machines, since the EcoCooling unit is very compact in size.
During the past few years, EcoCooling has been successfully trialed in numerous commercial tests in demanding surroundings internationally. 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. 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 commercialize EcoCooling globally and to develop the ways the technology can be used.—Leo Hatjasalo