How Oil Mist Collectors Impact The Efficiency Of Your Daily Operations

In today’s fierce competition in the global business, many manufacturers place productivity on top of their goal, often forgetting the health and welfare of their employees. This is especially true in manufacturing industries. Workers exposed to oil mist are more likely to experience respiratory and skin problems. Sick employees cannot perform their tasks properly, resulting in lower productivity and increased cost. 

What is an Oil Mist

Oil mist is a safety and health hazard in the manufacturing industry

Oil mist consists of fine airborne oil droplets measuring from one to 10 micrometres (almost the same size as bacteria). Several machine processes (e.g. turning, milling, grinding, and drilling) that involve the use of oil or oil-based coolant generate oil mist. Oil mist is common in plastic, rubber, and textile industries, as well as in steel and rolling mills, where they use fluids (e.g. fuel oils, lubricating oils, hydraulic oils, or high-temperature polymeric products) for lubrication or as coolant. The measurement used for oil mist dispersed in the air is mg/m3

So how is oil mist formed?

The first mechanism for the formation of oil mist is spraying. Fine droplets form when a fluid passes through a tiny nozzle at high pressure. 

The second mechanism involves vapourization and nucleation due to thermal increments. When heat continues to increase, the sprayed liquids tend to vapourize. When the vapourized fluid comes in contact with a colder area, the oil vapour pressure reduces drastically, causing condensation. Condensation of fluid ultimately contributes to the formation of oil mist. 

Machine processes can disperse oil mists in the air 

Why Your Company Needs An Oil Mist Collector

Lubricants and coolants are essential for smooth and efficient machine operations. However, these fluids can become airborne, coating machines, floors, and walls.  Running high-speed CNC machines for long hours can generate large amounts of oil fumes and mists.

When dispersed in air, oil mists can smear nearby equipment, products, and even the flooring. Since it is minuscule in size, the mist can easily reach a machine and contaminate its sensitive circuit board, causing disruptions and delay operation. Working with equipment and products coated in oil can be potentially dangerous and is not production-friendly.

Eye irritation can result from oil mist exposure

Also, breathing oil mist can expose workers to various respiratory health issues (e.g. bronchitis, bronchial asthma, rhinitis, lung fibrosis, lipoid pneumonia, and lung cancer) and skin problems (contact dermatitis, photosensitive allergic dermatitis, and oil acne). Additionally, prolonged exposure to high concentrations of oil mist can also result in fever, vomiting, eye irritation, rapid heartbeat, and a burning sensation in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

Luckily, many countries have mandated manufacturing plants to implement a cleaner working environment to protect workers from potential health and safety risks associated with oil mist. When the oil mist level exceeds 5 mg/m3 during the machining process, the manufacturing plant fails to comply with most jurisdictions’ safety standard level. Additionally, health experts are concerned about the respiratory problems that could result from the retention of oil particles ranging from 0.3 to 3.5 microns. Oil mist above 3.5 microns is usually blocked the natural filters of our body, such as nasal hairs, preventing it from exiting the respiratory system. However, oil particles below 0.3 microns can be easily expelled through exhalation.

Safety should be everyone’s concern

Unfortunately, high-efficiency factory HVAC systems cannot completely remove the oil mist hanging in the air. Dispersed oil particles eventually settle on different surfaces, including floors, machines, and people. Slick, oil-covered floors can increase the risk of workplace accidents and injuries, resulting in potential liabilities and problems with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

To keep the workplace safe from these harmful air contaminants, many manufacturers invest in oil mist collector systems. However, it is essential to understand that all oil mist collectors are not created equal. There are three different types of technologies behind oil mist collectors used in most manufacturing industries. Its efficiency and reliability depend on its unique characteristics.

  • Centrifugal Oil Mist Collectors – The technology used depends on the centrifugal force to propel the contaminants outward from the centre of the oil mist collector device. It works by rotating the filter, forming large droplets of oil mist to fly outward to the wall of the unit before settling into a drain. The oil collected can be reused or disposed of. 
  • Electrostatic Oil Mist Collectors – This type of oil mist collector technology was initially designed to remove dust, dry smoke, and other particles in air handling systems. It draws oil-laden air through an ionizer, which gives every droplet with a negative or a positive charge. 

The collection cells use alternating high voltage and grounded plates to push or pull the collected charged droplets onto the plate. The oil mist collector filters the fluid and prevents mists from escape using the coalescing effect inside the filtering unit. The oil-laden air is vacuumed into the filter. The side channel vacuum pump draws the air through the inlet tube onto the cavity and through the filter house. The vapourized oil travels through an “obstacle course” or a series of the microfibre cartridges, trapping and compressing heavier and larger oil particles. The system then separates the oil from the main air stream. Once the oil is collected on the separator walls, gravity pulls the oil down the shaft and into the filtering tunnel’s reservoir. 

  • Multi-Stage Oil Mist Collector – This type of oil mist collector technology employs a three-stage filtration system consisting of an initial pre-filtration cartridge, a cyclonic separation chamber, and a final stage filter to collect and eliminate oil particles, smoke, and sub-micron vapour produced during the machining process.

Choosing The Right Oil Mist Collector System

Protect machine and keep surroundings clean with oil mist collectors

While it helps protects your employees, ensure equipment efficiency, and reduces downtime for maintenance, an oil mist filtration system is not a one-size-fits-all solution. That is why it is vital you choose the type of oil mist collector that matches your CNC machine.

 Machine experts recommend choosing a system by application—machining, welding, dust control. Selecting the size comes second. For example, choose an oil mist collector designed to change the air volume at least six times per minute for an enclosed machine tool.

Keep in mind that a clean and safe working environment is essential for every manufacturing plant. Installing a highly efficient oil mist collector gives you peace of mind knowing that the health of your workers and machines are well-protected. 

AMT Machine Tools Ltd. is your go-to supplier for premium quality oil mist collectors in Canada since 1964. We offer an extensive inventory of Filtermist oil mist collector systems and accessories to ensure a clean and safe workplace air and environment. We take pride in being the Canadian Filtermist mist collector representative. 

Call us at (416) 675-7760 to learn more about our product. You can also send us a message at Let us be your productivity and health partner.