As part of its ongoing Lean Programme Roscomac has identified non-core elements of its business in order to drive up the efficient use of its own people and resources. One area that has seen such improvement is cutting fluid management.

In order to avoid the pitfall of trying to constantly manage its business from the top down, Worthing-based, Precision Engineer, Roscomac has actively involved its entire staff in its Lean Programme. The result is a concentration of the core business of manufacturing precision components with suppliers providing the support services that the company needs to function on a day-to-day basis.

“In the past few months we have invested over £3 million in new machine tools, including six horizontal machining centres, four with 630mm3 pallets and two with 500mm3 pallets, says Joe Martello, Roscomac’s Managing Director. “I would much rather my people are focussed on ensuring these machines are making components rather than worrying about whether the coolant is at the correct concentration.”

To address this Roscomac has signed a Fluid Management agreement with Jemtech (UK) to provide a supplier drive, cost-effective fluid monitoring service for all of the company’s machine tools. As part of that service Jemtech is on site three mornings per week to monitor fluid use, pH values, coolant concentrations and general checks to ascertain whether tramp oil and odours are an issue.

If any issues are notified to, or identified by, Jemtech then it has the autonomy to carry out a root and branch investigation to resolve them. “We have direct contact with the senior people at Jemtech and if we raise any issues they are dealt with immediately. As a result of the support they are providing and since they have replaced our cutting fluids with Blaser products we have had no health & safety issues, or skin related problems, and tool life has increased dramatically, ten-fold in some applications.”

Before Roscomac invited Jemtech to undertake this fluid management project and switch all of its machines over to Blaser Swisslube products it may have had up to ten people with some level of responsibility for monitoring cutting fluids. As this was only a part of their job function the temptation was for them to keep it at a stage where it is OK, rather than investigating why a situation may have arose and remedying it.

“In Jemtech we have a supplier that has a highly pro-active, can do attitude and one of the reassuring things about working with Jemtech is that we can give them our instructions and be confident that they will be carried out completely, if not improved on,” says Joe Martello. “This means that we are able to totally rely on them to maintain our cutting fluids and by default the performance of our machines. Having taken this decision to outsource fluid management we do not want to be spoon feeding our supplier. With Jemtech, they turn up, do what needs to be done and leave, we hardly notice them, which is a sign that the process is working extremely well.”