Image of Oil Skimming 101: 24 Tips for Optimizing Coolant Maintenance of CNC Machines Using Oil Skimmers

Oil Skimming 101: 24 Tips for Optimizing Coolant Maintenance of CNC Machines Using Oil Skimmers

Zebra Skimmers is an expert in CNC coolant maintenance with over 20 years of experience. We understand the challenges that manufacturing and processing plants face when you need to optimize coolant maintenance and maximize CNC machine productivity.

This blog post will share practical advice to help you tackle these challenges. We will cover the numerous benefits, essential features to consider, and additional accessories to enhance your skimming process.

All of Zebra's oil skimmers are specifically designed to be easy to install and maintain. They are energy efficient and can be customized to meet the specific needs of our customers.

8 Benefits of Oil Skimming

  1. Enhanced Tool Life: An oil skimmer is a valuable tool that helps extend the life of cutting tools and machine components. They remove tramp oil from coolant. Tramp oil can contaminate the coolant, decreasing tool performance and increasing tool replacement frequency. However, with oil skimming, the coolant remains clean and free from oil-related issues. This results in improved tool life and reduced tooling costs.
  2. Cost Reduction: Removing oil reduces costs and enhances efficiency, resulting in reduced maintenance.
  3. Automation: Unlike manual skimming, which is time-consuming and costly, an automatic oil skimmer continuously removes oil without constant supervision.
  4. Contractor Cost Reduction: Installing an oil skimmer reduces the need for outside contractors to haul away discharge. Since oil skimmers remove only oil and not coolant, there are fewer charges for the removal.
  5. Odor Prevention: Oil layers on the water surface prevent oxygen from reaching the water. This creates a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria that cause foul odors. Oil skimmers avoid this by removing the oil.
  6. Fire Hazard Reduction: Accumulated oil can pose a fire hazard. Oil skimmers help mitigate this risk by removing the oil layer.
  7. Clog Prevention: Skimming eliminates tramp oil from coolant, preventing clogs in lines and sprays. This maximizes coolant effectiveness, prolongs its lifespan, and extends tool life.
  8. Environmental Compliance: Oil skimming is vital in ensuring environmental compliance by effectively removing oil from the water before it is discharged or treated. By adhering to regulations and preventing oil contamination, plants can avoid potential penalties. They also maintain a positive environmental reputation because they contribute to sustainable practices.

8 Must-Have Features in Your Oil Skimmer

To optimize coolant maintenance performance, here are eight key features to consider when selecting an oil skimmer:

  1. Appropriate Removal Capacity: Choose an oil skimmer that matches the oil generation rate in your specific application. Using a small skimmer for an oversized sump tank is not efficient.
  2. Debris Compatibility: The oil skimmer should be capable of operating effectively in the presence of floating debris.
  3. Low Maintenance: Opt for an oil skimmer that requires minimal adjustments or supervision. This is especially important in facilities with limited staffing.
  4. Ease of Installation: Consider the difficulty and expense of installation when selecting an oil skimmer.
  5. Liquid Level Fluctuation Adaptability: The oil skimmer should be able to accommodate fluctuations in fluid levels without compromising performance.
  6. Material Compatibility: Ensure that the construction material of the oil skimmer is compatible with your specific application. This is to prevent corrosion or other complications. Zebra Skimmers builds oil skimmers with high-quality metal parts, unlike plastic units found on the market.
  7. Adjustable Skimming Depth: Opt for an oil skimmer with adjustable skimming depth. This feature allows you to fine-tune the skimming level based on the thickness of the oil layer on the coolant surface. By adjusting the skimming depth, you can ensure optimal oil removal efficiency. You can also avoid unnecessary removal of excess fluids. This maximized the effectiveness of the skimming process.
  8. Integrated Oil Removal System: Consider an oil skimmer that incorporates a diverter. A skimmer with a diverter attached collects and separates the oil from the coolant within the unit itself. This simplifies the oil removal process and reduces the equipment required for oil storage. This streamlines your overall oil skimming setup.

8 Accessories for Your Oil Skimmer

  1. Diverters: Diverters are useful when the coolant is frothy or when oil is not present for long periods. They allow the coolant to separate from the removed oil, conserving coolant and controlling costs.
  2. Mounting Systems: Mounting systems provide easy access to the oil skimmer. Options like Lockjaw or magnetic mounts make attaching and moving the skimmer convenient.
  3. Enclosures: Metal or plastic enclosures protect the skimming components from harsh environments, prevent tampering, and address environmental concerns like leaking.
  4. Monitoring Systems: Implementing monitoring systems can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your oil skimming operation. These systems can provide real-time data on oil levels, skimmer performance, and maintenance requirements, allowing for proactive adjustments and optimization.
  5. Oil Quality Monitoring: Consider implementing an oil quality monitoring system as an accessory to your oil skimmer. This system measures and analyzes the quality of the collected oil, providing insights into its composition, contaminants, and potential reuse value.
  6. Oil-Water Separation Tanks: These tanks further facilitate the separation process by allowing the collected oil to rise to the surface while the water settles at the bottom. The separated oil can be easily removed for recycling or disposal.
  7. Remote Monitoring and Control: Consider integrating a remote monitoring and control system with your oil skimming setup. This allows remote monitoring of the coolant’s performance, status, and level efficiency.


In conclusion, oil skimmers offer numerous benefits to optimize coolant maintenance in your CNC machines.

The advantages of utilizing oil skimmers are undeniable, from cost reduction and automation to odor prevention and fire hazard reduction. When selecting an oil skimmer, prioritize must-have features such as appropriate removal capacity, debris compatibility, low maintenance requirements, ease of installation, adaptability to liquid level fluctuations, and material compatibility.

Additionally, consider incorporating accessories like diverters, mounting systems, enclosures, and monitoring systems to optimize your oil skimming process further. By incorporating these accessories into your oil skimming setup, you can enhance the overall efficiency, control, and management of the oil removal process. These accessories provide valuable insights into oil quality, streamline oil-water separation, and enable remote monitoring and control, ensuring a comprehensive and optimized oil skimming operation.

Remote monitoring provides users the ability to monitor the coolant without the need for constant physical presence. Remote monitoring and control systems like the Dazzle Coolant Automation System enhances convenience, efficiency, and real-time management of your operation.

By harnessing the power of these innovative devices and accessories, you can effectively manage oily coolant, improve CNC machine productivity, and achieve cost savings in your manufacturing or processing facility.

For more in-depth insights and information on oil skimming and its applications, feel free to contact our Zebra Skimmers team. We are dedicated to helping you optimize your coolant maintenance processes and achieve exceptional results.

Let us be your trusted partner in advancing CNC machine performance through efficient oil skimming techniques.



About Zebra Skimmers:

Our mission has always been simple. It is to provide the metal working industry with the oil skimmers and metalworking fluid management systems they need to complete jobs quickly and efficiently. Innovative and affordable solutions have gained us many accolades. Our continued growth is due in no small part to our excellent customer service… Not to mention our satisfaction guarantees and the performance of our tools.

Among our diverse options of oil skimmers and metal working fluid management systems, you can expect to find: