Tech Tips

CommCool HD- The Most Versatile Coolant in the World


   Product consolidation is a hot topic in the lubrication world these days. There are many benefits to consolidating products, as outlined by Jim Fitch in this article.

“In the interest of reducing purchasing costs and streamlining storage and handling, many organizations have substantially slashed the number of lubricant SKUs (stock keeping units) they use. They have also re-engineered the precision of their lubricant specification. There are many real and a couple of somewhat imaginary benefits to these consolidation initiatives. Let’s start with the real benefits.

These include:

  • Reducing stale inventory by directing more turnover (usage) across fewer lubricant products
  • Purging discontinued or hard-to-find lubricants from lubricant storerooms
  • Sole sourcing lubricants to a single distributor and perhaps brand to simplify the purchasing function and leverage volume buying (see figure 1)
  • Enhance usage convenience and lower risk of accidental cross-contamination (fewer drum pumps, transfer systems, filter carts, top-up containers, etc.)
  • Re-engineering and enhancing lubricant selection especially for machines utilizing lubricants that have drifted out of spec (perhaps as a result of several past consolidation attempts)”

Commonwealth Oil’s CommCool HD is known as the most versatile coolant in the world. If you’re looking to consolidate products, this is the perfect metalworking fluid for most applications. Here is the Tech Data/MSDS for this product, check it out when looking for the ultimate product consolidation!

Tote Tank Pick-Up Service


Global Material Handling Products Inc. has advertised a Free* empty tote pick-up service. The tote frame or bottle must be reusable to take advantage of this special offer. For more information call toll-free: 866-741-5813.

FAQ: Gear Oils


The Machinery Lubrication online magazine has proved to be a beneficial resource for me, as they publish many informative, easy-to-read articles, that even a Lubrication beginner, such as myself, can understand. They’ve recently posted an article entitled “Gear Oil Questions Answered” that has really helped me understand what to look for in Gear Oils, and understand the various Gear Oils Commonwealth Oil has to offer. Here’s some excerpts below:

Q: What is the correct viscosity to use in a typical gear reducer?
A: Viscosity selection for gearboxes is a careful balance between load, speed/reduction ratio, gear geometry and operating environment. Like most applications, a good place to start is with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommendations. This information is commonly posted on the nameplate affixed to the outside of the gear casing.

Q: Should I always stick with the OEM’s recommendation?
A: The answer to this question is most definitely “no!” While you certainly shouldn’t be going against the OEM’s recommendations without good reason, extreme ambient operating conditions (e.g. very high or very low temperatures), shock loading or extreme duty cycles, or higher-than-normal load ratings may dictate that a change to the OEM’s recommendations is warranted. It’s always a good idea to consult with a lubrication engineer before selecting a viscosity grade other than the one recommended by the OEM.

Q: When should I consider using a synthetic gear oil?
A: Synthetic gear oils offer some very real advantages in some circumstances. For example, in extremely low temperatures, a synthetic gear oil will have a much lower viscosity than the equivalent grade of mineral oil. This can be an advantage during cold temperature start-up when channeling can cause temporary lubrication starvation, particularly in splash-lubricated gear drives. Likewise, at higher operating temperatures caused by high ambient temperatures or the process itself, synthetic gear oils will have a higher viscosity than the equivalent grade of mineral oil and will typically resist oxidative and thermal breakdown better than mineral oil. A rule of thumb is to use a mineral oil if the operating temperature is below 160 degrees Fahrenheit, but consider synthetics or premium mineral-based oils if the operating temperature is likely to exceed 180 F. Of course, there are other reasons why a synthetic oil might be advisable, such as for extended oil drain or other operational reasons.

Q: We recently switched to a synthetic oil because of higher operating temperatures. Our lubrication supplier is recommending an ISO VG 460 synthetic in place of the ISO VG 680 mineral oil we’ve always used. Why the change in viscosity grade?
A: When switching from mineral to synthetic gear oil, it’s not uncommon to drop down one ISO grade. The reason is due to the fact that synthetic oils typically have higher viscosity indexes than mineral oils. As a result, when you compare the viscosity of, for instance, a ISO VG 680 mineral oil to that of a ISO VG 460 synthetic, they will have very similar viscosities at 160 F. Before applying this rule, it’s important to plot the viscosity-temperature profile of each oil and consider the anticipated operating temperature along with high and low ambient temperatures to insure you select the correct grade for the specific application.

Here’s a few tips to help you pick the right Gear Oil based on the use:

To handle increased demands, today’s industrial gear oils must contain high-performance additive chemistry. The goal is to keep the lubricant thermally stable and robust enough to ensure that it lasts longer, protects better and performs more efficiently, while at the same time keeping the system clean and carrying away heat and contaminants. This is no easy task. Consider industrial gear oils that at one time were widely acceptable for a given application. Even if these oils meet minimum industry specifications, which can remain unchanged for up to 10 years, they may not be durable enough to protect your equipment.

There are five factors to keep in mind when selecting industrial gear oil that will provide you optimum performance and profitability. Each is discussed in this article.

Fluid Cleanliness
Smaller gearboxes must do the same amount of work as, or even more than, their larger predecessors. But spaces are smaller and tolerances are tighter. That translates to higher speeds and loads. The trend toward smaller reservoirs means the system must cycle the fluid more often with less time to dissipate heat, release foam, settle out contaminants and demulsify water.

Constant gear rolling and sliding produces friction and heat. The heavier operating loads common in today’s industrial settings increase metal-to-metal contact or boundary lubrication, producing even more heat and pressure. To meet longer drain intervals for environmental and cost reasons, the fluid stays in the system longer. Therefore, fluid cleanliness and performance retention becomes critical.

Highly viscous lubricants generate heat from internal fluid friction and also may consume more power to turn the gears. The rate of oxidation in the fluid can increase, which decreases the fluid’s effectiveness and life. In addition, higher operating temperatures increase sludge and varnish formation, which can damage equipment by forming deposits that can block filters, oil passageways and valves. On the other hand, less viscous lubricants generate less heat, minimizing the chance of exceeding recommended operating temperatures or damaging equipment.

Lubricants play a critical role in removing contaminants such as dirt, water, wear particles and other foreign matter that can damage gears and bearings and impact efficient, smooth running of the gears. As the lubricant travels through the filter system, contaminants, which can originate outside the system or from wear inside, should be removed. Even other lubricating fluids that find their way into the system can cause contamination if they are incompatible, thereby reducing performance.

Because they don’t move easily through the filtration system, highly viscous lubricants can be difficult to filter. Pressure at the filter can increase and, if sufficiently high, will trigger a system bypass, allowing contaminant-laden lubricant to circumvent the filters. Equipment damage can follow. Worn gears and higher levels of iron in the lubricant are signs of an ineffective filtration system.

Less viscous lubricants can flow more easily through the filtration system. Contaminants are effectively removed, reducing the likelihood of gear and bearing damage, and increasing equipment life. Another benefit is that the lubricant may need to be changed less frequently, resulting in less downtime and cost.

Fluid Durability
Industrial gear oils must be durable enough to withstand in-service conditions and to retain that performance over time. Although many fluids may meet the industry specification when new, they rapidly lose performance while in service. Industrial gear oils formulated for extended durability will keep gears operating properly and protect equipment investment by extending life, reducing downtime, maximizing productivity and lowering maintenance costs.

Industrial gears often operate under heavy loads and require extreme-pressure protection for gear components. Typical industrial gear oils do not always provide high extreme-pressure performance at low-viscosity greases. This challenges the notion that industrial gears performing in harsh environments must have highly viscous lubricants to be adequately protected.

Fluid Demulsibility
It would seem easy enough to keep a gearbox dry, but water can creep into the system, particularly the reservoir, in a variety of ways. Mist from water used in routine plant maintenance can enter the reservoir breather, forming condensation in the reservoir after hot-running equipment cools after shutdown. Or, water may enter in some other way. In any case, it can lead to corrosion and decrease performance.

It is vital for the gear oil to be formulated to quickly separate water at both the high and the low temperatures found in industrial gearboxes. The ability to rapidly drain water from the system helps extend the life of both the component and the oil.

Universal vs. Dedicated Fluids
There are two types of industrial gear lubricants. The first, so-called universal gear oils, are formulated so they may also be used in automotive gear applications. Universal fluids may contain components that are both unnecessary for and harmful to industrial gear performance. Or, they may not contain components that are necessary in industrial applications. For example, water separation is not necessary in automotive gear oil applications. However, water separation is critical in industrial gear oil applications; therefore, demulsibility additives must be incorporated.

The second type of gear oil lubricant is called a dedicated fluid. These fluids are tailored for industrial applications by carefully formulating the lubricant with additive components specifically designed for such applications.

The Right Additives
Additives used to enhance extreme-pressure properties in gear oil can be prone to thermal instability, resulting in sludge formation. However, technology is available that provides the optimum balance of thermal stability for sludge-free gearboxes and also extreme-pressure protection for heavy-duty durability.

The combination prolongs gearbox life, maximizes efficiency and eliminates downtime. But most important, high extreme-pressure performance and cleanliness are maintained across a full spectrum of viscosity grades, down to ISO VG 68. Using a lower-viscosity grade can improve efficiency while maintaining durability for optimum performance.

In industrial settings, equipment downtime significantly impacts the bottom line. A lower-viscosity lubricant with optimized additive technology effectively protects gear-driven equipment and ensures its operation at maximum performance.

Commonwealth Oil has a whole line of high performance Industrial Gear Lubricants, Security. In addition to this helpful article, our lab technicians are best equipped to find the best Gear Lubricant to meet your needs, you can contact Michele at to discuss your requirements.

Keeping Up With the Chemists


Commonwealth Oil has a Research and Development Lab in house, where our 3 chemists are continuously working to improve our products and create new ones.

The chemists decided to test our Tube Mill Coolants, TMC 2050 and TMC 2065, for rust and corrosion inhibitors. They coated steel panels with the products and put them in the humidity cabinet for 13 days. The humidity cabinet exposes the panels to extreme temperatures, testing the products for rust protection. The panels, which were coated with TMC 2050 and TMC 2065 had very little sign of rust after the 13 days!

This is a picture I snapped on the 13th day before the panels got taken out of the humidity cabinet. These Tube Mill Coolants do not only have excellent tramp rejection, and low foaming characteristics, they also have outstanding rust protection!

TMC 2065 is featured in the New Product Preview at the FabTech Expo. Click here to see all the new products, you can find TMC 2065 on page 22!

FabTech Expo runs from November 2-4, 2010 at the Georgia World Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia. You can find Commonwealth Oil in the Tube and Pipe Area, in Hall B at Booth #3465!! We still have free tickets to give away, e-mail to request your complimentary tickets today!


Google Maps and Commonwealth Oil

Online map and on-demand direction services have become quite the staple in many of our lives now days. Thanks to the great service that is Google Maps, Commonwealth Oil has taken our distribution network online making it easier to find a local distributor than ever before. Check it out today!

Explore our Distributor Network


The Transition to Green

With the ever increasing pressure to reduce energy usage and become socially and environmentally conscious we want to be a part of the solution!

Since 2000 when Commonwealth Oill built our new plant we had the land surveyed for environmental cleanliness and received a clean assessment. With the construction of the new plant we ensured that there were no drains in the production plant that lead to the outside. Since then we have also applied the usage of energy efficient lighting, schedule theromostats and much more.

Along with the NSF approval of our top selling EDM fluids we will also be creating a list to help end users and distributors findn products that are both safe and environmentallyl friendly. Over time the list will also expand and incorporate new products and reformulated products. We are hoping to increase environmental awareness and be part of the solution for tomorrow!

Here are some quick tips so you can become green too:

  1. use compact fluorescent lightbulbs. This helps save money and energy!
  2. Use your thermostat wisely. Adjust your settings so they only operate when you are home!
  3. Check your water heater. Try keeping your water temperature below 120°F.

Don’t Stop the Flow

A daily question that we seem to face is the need to switch products from one of our competitors to an equivalent (or better) product of ours. Being that this is no new feat, Commonwealth Oil has built a database spanning decades of information to help us prescribe the best possible product to make the transition as smooth as possible.

In an attempt to place this information at your finger tips we have developed online interactive controls to help you find a quick cross over. Currently the cross over is only available for users in the Food Grade world of Exact, but with the launch of the new Commonwealth Oil website the cross overs and more will be available for our industrial solutions. The new website is due to be launched any day now!

Check here to try out the Food Grade cross reference tool.


Special Report: Semi-Synthetic vs Soluble Oil

By Fred Herdman
Emulsifiable Oils – AquaComm™

Emulsifiable oils provide a lot of lubricity which translates into good tool life. Conversely, they are a much friendlier environment for bacteria because they are less likely to remove tramp oils e.g. hydraulic oil and waylube that leaks into the coolant sump. These contaminants are a friendly environment to bacteria which results in corrosion and a very ugly “Monday Morning Odour”. Emulsifiable oils are old technology and require more work to keep them functioning.

Semi-Synthetics – CommCool™

Semi-Synthetics are not as common because they are the toughest metalworking fluids to manufacture. Commonwealth Oil’s most popular and diversified coolant is our CommCool family of semi-synthetic metalworking fluids. CommCool semi-synthetics provide tremendous rust protection and tool life in both hard and soft water and do not require the constant upkeep to avoid “Monday Morning Odours”. First time users are always commenting about how quickly any CommCool fluid will clean their machining centres. In some cases what they think is a problem is really the fluid’s added cleaning benefit working for them. It is literally like removing cholesterol from your heart.


Whenever a customer is looking to purchase soluble oil encourage them to consider CommCool. After all, both of these coolants are equally priced. Take some time to understand the application and then share the benefits of switching to a semi-synthetic.  Your customers will thank you for improving their systems. For additional information on making the switch to semi-synthetics call Dave Foster.


How to Use a Refractometer

By Dave Foster
The hand held refractometer is commonly used to check coolant concentration, based upon the refractive index of the coolant solution. The most important thing to remember when using a refractometer is that they read on a Brix scale not actual percentages. To get actual percent of the coolant concentration you must multiply the refractometer reading by the coolants refractive index multiplier which can be found on the tech data sheets. For example, CommCool XP has a refractive index of 1.60, and you currently see 5 on your refractometer, the coolant concentration would be 1.6 x 5 = 8%, slightly on the high side.


• Calibrate your refractometer each time you use it  by placing a drop of shop water onto the prism and lower the cover plate. It should read zero. If not, adjust the set screw.
• After wiping the prism clean, place a few drops of coolant onto the prism. Try to take the coolant from the coolant nozzle and not from the coolant sump. Close the cover and read.
• Refer to coolant specifications for correct reading.
• Keep in mind that tramp oil will blur the line on the refractometer.
• Remember that this is an optical instrument and should not be dropped or handled roughly

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