Solvay launches new generation of emulsifiers for metalworking fluids

ESSLINGEN, Germany—Solvay has launched a new range of emulsifiers for metalworking fluids, which aims to replace traditional cetyl oleyl alcohol chemistry, here at the 20th International Colloquium Tribology being held this week.

Today’s new generation of high-speed machine tools require much improved foam control. Additives, especially emulsifiers, for metalworking fluids for these newer machines must provide ultra-low foam and enhanced defoaming, said Claude-Emmanuel Hedoire, market customer support manager for Novecare’s Industrial Market, at Solvay.

Additionally, regulations such as the European Biocidal Product Regulation, has triggered more stringent classification and labeling for some emulsifiers. Traditional cetyl oleyl additives have been reclassified as eco-toxic, with the “dead-fish” label, he said. Thus, End users are looking for formulations with milder classifications, such as WGK 1 in Germany, he added. Cetyl oleyl additives have been classified as WGK 2 in Germany, he said. The new emulsifiers were developed with this in mind.

Hedoire said that the global supply of cetyl oleyl alcohol is tight, so when Solvay looked at developing these new emulsifiers, one of their criteria was the global availability of raw materials.

The new Rhodasurf® LF5 is the primary emulsifier for the current generation of metalworking fluids. Rhodasurf® LF3000 is the next-generation emulsifier with improved foam control. Rhodasurf® LF21 and Rhodasurf® LF22 are co-emulsifiers for Rhodasurf® LF5 and Rhodasurf® LF3000. These co-emulsifiers enable the formulator to get clear and stable concentrates, Hedoire explained.

The benefits of these new surfactants are higher sustainability, with “milder” labeling, and enhanced performance, providing outstanding defoaming, as well as excellent low temperature stability, he said.

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