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Lubrication Systems: Standard vs. Low Volume Low Pressure

Reduce Safety and Environmental Concerns with a More Consistent Metal Stamping Process

24 July 2019

By Claude Bergeron

Metal stamping requires lubrication to minimize friction, dissipate heat, reduce tool wear and maintenance, and prevent galling. Unfortunately, standard lubrication systems like pads, rollers, and airless sprays often fail to coat stock consistently.

To compensate, stampers apply at least 50% more lubricant than what is needed to prevent dry spots. This leads to pressroom safety concerns. Airborne mist, dermatitis, and slippery floors are just a few side effects of using too much oil. Environmental concerns, such as higher volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, also arise.

Low Volume Low Pressure (LVLP) lubrication systems can help. These systems reduce over-lubrication problems by using up to 90% less oil. This not only creates a cleaner, safer, more eco-friendly workspace, it also saves metal stampers thousands of dollars in material, storage, and disposal costs.

How LVLP Lubrication Systems WorkLow Volume Low Pressure lubrication system set up for metal stamping applications.

A typical LVLP lubrication system consists of precision LVLP valves, a fluid reservoir, and a valve controller. The valve controller regulates air pressure, meters lubricant flow, and controls valve operation.

When the system is activated it applies air pressure to the fluid reservoir, which pushes lubricant through the flow controls inside the valve controller and out to the valves.

As soon as the press begins stamping, the system is activated by a solenoid wired into the press controls. As the valves open, the LVLP air creates a pressure drop at the nozzle. This applies a fine, even film of lubricant to the stock surface.

LVLP vs Standard Lubrication Systems

Traditional lubrication systems such as drip pads, rollers, and airless sprays often fail to provide the precise control needed to reduce oil consumption without damaging expensive tooling.

Pads and rollers are slow to respond to adjustments. Because it can take a while for them to become saturated or dry out when flow is increased or decreased, stampers often take a "better safe than sorry" approach and routinely flood their stock with large amounts of oil.

LVLP lubrication systems use precision flow controls for instant adjustment of coverage for different stock and lubricant viscosities. This provides a highly controlled, consistent method for applying lubrication with less mess, waste, and tool wear.

Airless spray systems typically require high pressure up to 1,000 psi (69 bar). The pressure is so high that oil sometimes bounces off the stock, into the air, and onto the floor. This can cause safety and environmental concerns.

LVLP systems, on the other hand, apply oil at much lower pressure between 2-3 psi (0.1-0.2 bar). This provides exceptional transfer efficiency without bounce, mist, or overspray.

Improve Pressroom Safety

By applying a precise amount of oil for every metal stamping job, LVLP lubrication systems:

  1. Nearly eliminate airborne mist
  2. This minimizes respiratory problems and simplifies compliance with OSHA, NIOSH, and other government safety regulations.
  3. Apply even, consistent coverage
  4. There is no need for press operators to spread lubricant onto dry spots or wipe off excess, which reduces the risk of dermatitis. An external system controller allows coverage to be adjusted quickly and safely, without reaching into the press.
  5. No dripping or puddles
  6. This reduces the need for operators to mop up excess oil or handle contaminated wash water and absorbent materials.

Reduce Environmental Concerns

Reducing oil use between 50-90%, while providing much more consistent coverage allows metal stamping facilities to:

  1. Simplify compliance with environmental regulations
  2. When less lubricant is used, there is less material to order and regulate. Less waste and VOC emissions are generated.
  3. Lessen or eliminate the need to wash parts
  4. When specifications require parts to be washed, minimal oil residue makes the wash tank solution last much longer. Sludge levels are greatly reduced. Bacteria buildup is significantly lowered.
  5. Reduce hazardous waste storage, transportation, and disposal
  6. LVLP lubrication systems dramatically lessen wash tank sludge, mopped-up oil, absorbents, rags, and cardboard. This reduces transportation and disposal costs.
  7. Lower energy consumption
  8. Minimizing or eliminating the need to thermally degrease parts or incinerate waste oil significantly lowers energy consumption.
  9. Streamline scrap metal recycling
  10. LVLP lubrication systems leave such minimal residue that there is often no need to clean scrap metal before recycling.

Real-World Success Stories

MicroCoat lubrication systems from Nordson EFD use Low Volume Low Pressure technology to evenly coat stock as narrow as 1" (25 mm) and as wide as 48" (1,219 mm) without the overspray of airless spray systems.

Find out how LVLP systems have helped customers reduce oil use by 90%, extend sharpening intervals by 500,000 strokes, increase die life by 30-50%, and reduce emissions by 14,000 pounds. Download our Stock Lubrication Solutions Guide.

Want to learn more? Watch this customer testimonial video about how MicroCoat lubrication systems reduced oil consumption for Gestamp Aveiro.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with an experienced fluid application specialist, don't hesitate to request expert help at today!

Photo of Claude BergeronAbout Claude Bergeron

Claude Bergeron is the Global Product Line Manager of Dispense Valves at Nordson EFD. He uses his extensive application and product knowledge to lead the development of some of the most innovative dispensing valves on the market. Claude has more than 35 years of fluid dispensing experience. He joined Nordson EFD in 1981.

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