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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Filtration

Optimization of Metalworking Coolant Filtration with PowerLoft® Filter Media

Machining Aluminum Cylinder Heads

The cylinder head on a car’s gas engine covers the combustion chamber, helping to ensure proper combustion and compression pressures. It is bolted to the upper part of the cylinder block and is covered by a head gasket. It also houses components that the engine requires to function. It has a complex design due to the constituents, making its manufacturing or resurfacing critical.

The cylinder head is usually made of gray iron or aluminum alloy. Aluminum has the advantages of being lightweight and having high thermal conductivity. Aluminum cylinder heads have been widely used in automobiles during the past fifteen years to increase the efficiency of engine operation.

The critical machining of this aluminum usually requires the use of a metalworking fluid in the process to lubricate tooling and flush metal sediment/chips back to a filter where they can be removed from the fluid. The removal of the aluminum chips and fines from the metalworking fluid is critical to the tool life and quality of the part. The finer the filtration of the metalworking fluid, the longer the tool life will be.

Increasing Metal Working Machining Tool Life

Crystal Filtration is a company dedicated to providing innovative filter medias. We have developed each product with the aim of providing maximum value for our clients. From start to finish, we employ a scientific approach to fully understand the client’s manufacturing process, environment, and overall needs. To start, we thoroughly examine your system and perform laboratory tests to investigate the sources, volume, and nature of the contaminants. Next, we begin developing a customized solution for optimal filter performance.

To improve the filtration of metalworking coolant and increase machining tool life, media filters remove unwanted particles and pollutants from a range of liquids. No matter how fluids are used, they will inevitably gather particles that reduce their efficiency, shorten their lifespan, and harm equipment. Media filters remove these pollutants, extending the useful life of the fluid and reducing wear on equipment and tooling.

PowerLoft® Filter Media

Crystal Filtration’s media filters reduce the need to replace coolant fluids, ensuring a decrease in costs, a decrease in waste, and an increase in tool life/quality. Our PowerLoft® media can reduce filtration and tooling costs by capturing small particles deep within the web while larger particles are captured closer to the surface and only the very largest particles are captured on the surface. PowerLoft®, provides long filter cycles, good clarity, and lower operating costs.

Case Study


A large automotive manufacturer that produces engines was having issues with sediment on one of their machining systems. This system is used to machine aluminum engine heads. They were experiencing decreased tool life and dirty fluid.

Barnes Kleenall Max Central Coolant Filtration System

The customer has a Barnes International Kleenall Max Central Coolant Filtration System which is commonly used in applications of machining and cutting engine transmission parts, aluminum, cast iron, and steel. For this system, it uses a semi-synthetic emulsified metalworking fluid to complete the finish machining on the aluminum heads.

On this Barnes unit, there are two filtration steps: primary and secondary. The primary drum filtration is used to remove the larger aluminum chips and fines. The secondary polish filter is designated to pull out the finer sediment that is released during the machining process. Primary filtration is performed by rotating drums with a heavy-duty, semi-permanent media screen to remove larger particles and aluminum chips. Secondary filtration is done via a side stream filter where the coolant is directed to a small, vacuum-type, disposable media filter to remove the micro-fines generated by the machining process. Secondary filtration is performed after the primary drum filtration and is the last filtration the machining coolant will go through before going back to the machining tool. The primary concern was that micro fines under 10 microns were starting to build up in the coolant. The buildup of these fines were decreasing tool life and impacting part quality and finish.


After a careful particle analysis of the coolant, it was found that the majority of the sediment remaining in the coolant not being filtered out were less than 15 microns. It was determined that a tighter media could help trap the micro fines. Powerloft® was selected for its outstanding dirt holding capacity, superior efficiency, and its long life. This would allow the smaller sediment to be trapped without the media blinding off too quickly.

To help solve their issue of decreased tool life and dirty fluid, Crystal Filtration performed an in-house trial to evaluate the effectiveness of PowerLoft® on the secondary filter of the Barnes unit. The goal being to clean up the coolant and better filtration, especially at the lower micron levels.

During this trial, the company’s current 2.5oz Composite media was replaced with 4oz PowerLoft® and indexed through the polish filter of the Barnes unit.

Indexing length is defined as the length the media travels when it indexes through the filter. The filter paper indexes when the vacuum reading reaches 8” HG indicating the media has blinded off with sediment. Longer index times result in using less media and decreasing costs.

To evaluate the effectiveness of PowerLoft® compared to their current media, the index cycles were monitored, and sediment testing was performed. Coolant samples were collected before and after to measure the amount of sediment in the fluid with both medias. The sediment was measured by particle count evaluation.

Sediment Particle Analysis of coolant being filtered in Head Finish Filter

During this trial PowerLoft® reduced the sediment in the 5–10 micron range by 31% and the 2-5 micron range by 29%. The ability to reduce sediment is a result of PowerLoft®’s wide gradient density. Small particles are captured deep within the web, while larger particles are captured closer to the surface. Only the very largest particles are captured on the surface. This allows for longer filter cycles and good clarity, which results in lower operating costs.

The PowerLoft® indexes were almost five times longer than the previous 2.5oz Composite media, saving the customer $4200 a year, all while providing a reduction in waste and better filtration.

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2146 Avon Industrial Dr.

Rochester Hills, MI 48309


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