Autofiltrex Magnetic Filtration is the Solution for Mollart Machines | Eclipse Magnetics

Autofiltrex Magnetic Filtration is the Solution for Mollart Machines

A UK-based machine tool specialist recently tackled a 20-year-old problem by installing a high-intensity magnetic filtration system from Eclipse Magnetics. Mollart is a leading manufacturer of gun drills, deep hole drilling equipment, and bore finishing equipment.

The Mollart engineering team recently faced a challenge when retrofitting filtration equipment onto some 20-year-old Mollart FMC automatic gun-drilling machinery operational at a client in Luxembourg. At the time, the machines were the world’s first lights-out gun-drilling machines with automatic tool, bush, and pallet changers. The machines had been in operation almost non-stop for 20 years, manufacturing precision martensitic stainless steel mould plates for the plastics industry.

The mould plates can be up to 1200mm long, and the Mollart machine drills holes at specified intervals. As the holes must line up with tapered threads, the tolerances are very demanding.

Originally, the machines featured a self-cleaning mesh drum filter that extracted ferrous debris, which was then automatically scraped onto a conveyor and removed from the cycle. This method typically removed ferrous contamination down to a particle size of 25 microns; as a result, the finer "dust" particles continued to circulate. The "dust" accumulation meant that fluid had a relatively short lifespan, and drill breakages were frequent due to the abrasive effect of the ferrous debris. But the biggest risk was to the high-pressure pumps, which were exposed to irreparable damage from ferrous particle ingress. A typical pump replacement cost is in the region of €6500.

During a scheduled maintenance project, the Mollart engineers were charged with finding a filtration solution. They needed a solution to clean up the fluids without causing any machine downtime or loss of productivity.

Having had previous experience with Eclipse Magnetics’ manual clean magnetic filters, the Mollart engineers were sold on the high-intensity magnetic technology concept but required an automated clean solution to protect productivity rates.

Eclipse recommended the Autofiltrex AF5/RC filter. This offers in-line fine particle filtration with an automated cleaning and waste reclaim system to reduce machine stoppages for cleaning and maintenance. It offers all the benefits of high-intensity magnetic filtration, such as fine particle performance, a reduction in disposable filter media use, and cleaner, longer-lasting fluids, with the added benefit of automation.

The Autofiltrex unit was installed on the existing fluid cycle on the return to the clean fluid tank immediately after the roller and extraction conveyor, which continued to extract the larger ferrous particles. 

Ian Pettit, Managing Director at Mollart, comments, "Having previously used Micromag magnetic filters, we were already well aware of the potential cost and environmental benefits of high-intensity magnetic filtration. This is the first time we have fitted the automated Autofiltrex version. It was simple to integrate into the existing system and has worked without a problem from the get-go. To date, our customer is extremely satisfied with the results".

Autofiltrex is available in three standard sizes, with flow rates ranging from 60 to 200 litres per minute. It is ideal for cleaning fluids on most ferrous machining processes, including drilling, honing, lapping, and grinding. It forms part of the wider Eclipse Magnetics high intensity filter range, ranging from the entry-level Micromag manual clean version up to the high flow rate Automag Skid fully automated systems for high volume operations.