The company, which works with machine tool distributors and end users, says that it has noticed a marked increase in customers investing in ‘bare bones machines’ and not including bar feeders, high pressure coolant or mist extraction in a bid to reduce spend.
Andy Hives, director of group UK sales at Filtermist, says: “Whilst taking a cautious approach is understandable in the current climate, it’s a false economy. Although there is an initial capital investment, effective extraction can actually help to lower running costs in the longer term.
“Cost reductions can include lower heating bills in colder months as the air exhausted back into the facility is warm; lower cleaning bills as there’s less oily residue on floors, ceilings and work surfaces; less days lost to ill-health as a result of exposure to contaminated air; and last but not least, there’s a far lower chance of employers being hit with chargeable enforcement and improvement notices from the HSE, or hefty fines for failing to comply with COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations.”
Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, the HSE completed its Q4 inspection programme which targeted metal fabricating premises in a bid to reduce exposure to metalworking fluids and welding fume: reducing occupational lung disease is a key focus in the HSE’s current workplan.
Mills CNC, the UK distributor for Doosan machines, has worked with Filtermist for more than 18 years and offers a Filtermist oil mist filter with every machine it sells. Technical director Tony Dale explains: “On the whole our customers understand the importance of mist extraction and are happy to include the cost when they place the order for a new machine. The recent HSE inspection programme has helped to reinforce that this isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a necessity for any machine shop that takes the health of its workforce seriously.”
Whilst the Covid crisis has hit many areas of the UK economy, including manufacturing, it has also resulted in lots of discussions about the value of reshoring the manufacture of critical components back to the UK. According to Filtermist, many of the trade associations that it is a member of are involved in Reshoring UK – an initiative designed to connect OEMs and Tier 1 companies with local suppliers to fill gaps in their supply chains.
Hives continues: “Reshoring has been on the agenda for a number of years. The need for local supply chains became hugely apparent when the lockdowns began. If the UK’s manufacturing industry is serious about reshoring production to help support the country’s economy through the turbulent time ahead, it needs to ensure that this is commercially viable without cutting investment in products and services designed to protect workers’ health.”
UPDATED 25 August 2020: Added 'coolant' after 'high pressure' in the section about optional extras not being bought.