With its quattroClean system, acp – advanced clean production GmbH has developed a solution suitable for use in serial production. It increases productivity by one-third when machining workpieces made from PEEK and aluminum while components and machines stay much cleaner.
In recent years, the use of CO2 as a coolant for machining processes has become much more popular as an alternative to conventional cooling lubricant concepts. One of the reasons for this is the higher rate of material removal, which increases productivity and reduces tool wear and the associated downtimes. The cryogenic cooling method with carbon dioxide decreases production costs, and the quattroClean snow jet technology delivers a cooling system that can also be integrated into CNC machines and machining centers at a later stage.
Reliable cooling, non-wearing circular two-component nozzle
The quattroClean system works with liquid carbon dioxide, which is generated as a by-product from chemical processes as well as from the generation of energy from biomass, making it environmentally neutral. It is transported at room temperature to the non-wearing circular two-component nozzle. The CO2 only transforms from a liquid to a solid state in the form of fine snow crystals as it leaves the nozzle. The crystals are then bundled by a circular jacketed jet of compressed air and advanced to the process zone at supersonic speed. The temperature of the medium at this point can be as low as 78°C. The patented technology with the jacketed jet ensures a constant pressure and consistently good cooling results while only the quantity of carbon dioxide needed for the desired cooling effect is supplied.
Dry, residue-free machining
The fact that solid-state carbon dioxide sublimates at room temperature makes this a dry process. Consequently, chips are clean and dry as well as fully recyclable. Dry machining also means that workpieces and machines stay cleaner. In many cases, there is no need for additional cleaning of the workpieces after processing. Depending on cleaning requirements, a cleaning module can be integrated quickly and efficiently downstream of the machining process. A further advantage of cooling with CO2 is that parts, for example medical products, are machined free of contamination. The low temperature also minimizes the risk of a workpiece deforming. Finally, no costs are incurred either for maintenance, care, or the disposal of cooling lubricants.
External cooling prevents icing up
In contrast with other solutions, cooling takes place externally with the quattroClean system rather than through the tool. The non-abrasive and non-toxic jet of snow and compressed air is easy to focus and can be directed exactly where it is needed in the defined process zone around the cutting edge, chips, and tool. For this, the CO2 nozzle travels with the tool.
Among other applications, the quattroClean system is used in serial productions to lubricate, cool, and simultaneously clean machined implants and medical components made from PEEK. Another serial application is in metal processing.
Here, the system is used to cool tools when machining parts made from aluminum. In both cases, productivity could be stepped up by more than 30% by cooling with CO2 externally using the system.
Compact and targeted control
The quattroClean system can be easily adapted to customer demands and has a very small footprint. Process parameters, such as the volume flow for compressed air, or the quantity of carbon dioxide required, can be optimally adjusted to the application concerned.
The duration of the jet for both process parameters can also be modified separately. This high degree of flexibility enables the system to be used for completely new applications, as well as for applications which were unsuccessful with standard systems.