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Coolant Waste Minimization Using a Coalescing Plate Separator

Dennis L. Burns
Quality Manager
Wolverine Tube, Inc.
Shawnee, Oklahoma

Kirby S. Mohr, P.E.
Mohr Separations Research, Inc.
Lewisville, TX

Presented at:
Water Environment Federation Industrial Wastes Technical Conference,
St. Louis, MO 2000


During 1998 a project was initiated at Wolverine Tube in Shawnee, Oklahoma to increase machine tool coolant life and also to increase the life of the tooling used to manufacture copper tubing from copper billets.

The coolant was becoming contaminated with tramp oil that provided a substrate for bacterial growth and tended to upset the operations of the tube reducer machine.  The tramp oil also caused undue wear on the tooling and reduced tooling life.

An initial test was conducted using a small, relatively low flow rate coalescing plate separator.   This test was very successful, but the flow rate from the test separator was not adequate for the requirements of the tube reducing operations.  A larger separator was subsequently constructed and installed.  The separator has been in service more than a year.

The paper presents the results of the initial testing as well as the longer-term reduction in waste coolant production and tooling/operating cost reduction.  Coolant waste is reduced to approximately 1/3 of previous quantities and costs are substantially reduced.  The tramp oil removed by the separator is being recycled as well, and information on this recycling will be presented.