'We continually strive to be the number one customer satisfaction company out there,' Vice President and Head of Sales for F.S. Repair Jamie Sitzmann concurs.
Also now as then, delivering a quality product at a responsible and affordable price throughout the Midwest necessarily involves efficient operations. So in 1995 when F.S. Repair's customer began experiencing a common challenge to the bottom-line in both cost and quality - coolant contaminated with oil - Jamie took action.
Clean Coolant, Key to Quality
Like many machine shops, F.S. Repair's customers regularly experience tramp oils in their coolant fluids. The company takes the responsibility of removing it very seriously. Not only does clean coolant ensure the quality of machine parts, but it also circumvents many health and safety-related challenges. Smoke and a 'rotten egg' odor are often consequences of letting oil remain in a tank where anaerobic bacteria grows, breaking down coolant components, causing an unpleasant smell, and even generating smoke when coming in contact with an operating cutting tool.
F.S. Repair's customers had been replacing the coolant at regular intervals, but found that practice cost-prohibitive. Jamie went to the Internet to research effective ways to recycle coolant, maintain a high level of quality, and reduce costs and the liability of properly disposed oil. He discovered one of the easiest ways to accomplish all of these goals was to install an oil skimmer. Upon further investigation, he located a leading supplier of oil skimmers, Abanaki, and found a low maintenance, easy to use tool in their flagship product designed specifically for machine-shop applications.
Model 8's Machine-shop Design
'Prior to Abanaki, their customer was draining the tanks and disposing of the coolant and oil combined. For price savings, they wanted to skim oil from the coolant to allow the disposal to be less money,' Jamie reveals.
With the help of the Abanaki technical staff that Jamie calls 'second to none,' he chose the Abanaki Model 8 Oil Grabber. Its belt-driven design works on the differences in specific gravity between oil and water. Water has a specific gravity of one and most oils have a specific gravity of less than one. This causes oil to float to the top of the water where it can be removed. The Model 8's belt action then breaks the surface tension of the water to attract and collect the floating oil. The belt passes through a set of wiper blades via a motorized head pulley where the oil is wiped off both belt sides and is allowed to flow through into a proper disposal container. Because the Model 8's belt materials do not attract water, very little coolant is picked up.
This type of skimmer can handle fluctuating coolant levels while maintaining minimal operating space and maximum pick up capacity. Jamie reports that the Abanaki unit, which has the ability to separate oil at a rate up to 40 gph, has produced 'significant' savings in both time and money.
Low Maintenance Benefits to Boot
The Model 8 also is designed for virtually maintenance-free operation. Flanges on the tail pulley allow it to roll freely on the inside of the belt without becoming dislodged. It requires no bearings and does not need to be fastened to the tank. Its stainless steel belt material makes it well suited to operating in high temperatures without added expense. If turbulent conditions exist, an optional tether and cage assembly prevents the tail pulley from being dislodged.
How's it working for F.S. Repair's customer? According to Jamie, the experience has been good from start to finish: 'The people at Abanaki were extremely helpful in advising the right solution at the right price. Since the Model 8 was put into service in 1995, their customer only had to replace the belts. It's proven to be a very reliable machine with good benefits,' he says.