CNC machines have become a cornerstone of modern manufacturing due to their precision and efficiency in creating complex components. These automated systems use coded instructions to control machining tools, enabling a high level of accuracy in operations like milling, turning, and drilling. Despite their benefits, the operation of CNC machines presents challenges, one of which is the generation of airborne mist comprised of coolant and oil particles. This seemingly minor byproduct can lead to significant issues, including worker health risks, environmental impact, and diminished machine performance.

In response to this challenge, mist collectors have emerged as crucial components in the CNC machining environment. These systems capture and filter the airborne particles, ensuring not only the cleanliness of the workspace air but also contributing to regulatory compliance, machine longevity, and operational efficiency. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance and necessity of mist collectors in CNC operations, providing a comprehensive understanding of their role and function.


Impact of Mist on CNC Operations

CNC machines generate mist as a byproduct of their operation, particularly during the high-speed cutting and cooling processes. The mist primarily comprises two types: coolant mist and oil mist. These mists are formed when the coolants or lubricants are aerosolized due to the intense friction and high temperatures of CNC machining processes.


Despite their seemingly harmless nature, these mists can create several issues. The most concerning among them is the risk to worker safety. Inhaling these airborne particles can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues over time. The mists can create a slippery layer on the workshop floor and surfaces, posing a slip hazard. From a machinery perspective, these mists, when left uncontrolled, can settle on machine parts, leading to wear and tear, affecting the machine’s performance and lifespan. They can also contribute to a less than optimal working environment, requiring more frequent cleaning and maintenance schedules. As such, addressing these mists effectively is vital to ensure a safe and efficient CNC operation.


The Function of Mist Collectors

Mist collectors function as a vital element in maintaining a clean, safe, and efficient manufacturing environment, particularly in CNC operations. They work by pulling in the mist-laden air through a series of filters or electrostatic precipitators. The initial filter stages capture larger mist particles, while the subsequent stages handle the smaller ones. By using various filtration mechanisms, the mist collector effectively removes these tiny particles from the air..


The benefits of using mist collectors are manifold. From a health and safety perspective, they substantially minimize workers’ exposure to hazardous airborne particles, thereby reducing potential respiratory issues and improving overall working conditions. In terms of environmental sustainability, mist collectors prevent the emission of oil or coolant particles into the atmosphere, contributing to cleaner air in and around the facility. Mist collectors enhance the efficiency and longevity of CNC machines by preventing mist particles from settling on machine parts, which can cause premature wear and tear. By maintaining a cleaner environment the machines operate more efficiently, require less maintenance, and ultimately have a longer service life.


Workplace health and safety regulations related to mist exposure

Workplace health and safety regulations play a critical role in managing practices within manufacturing environments, and this includes the handling of airborne mist from CNC machines. Organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK, and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) set specific permissible exposure limits (PELs) for oil mist and other airborne substances. These agencies require businesses to control and monitor exposure to these substances to safeguard workers’ health, thus highlighting the need for effective mist management strategies, such as the use of mist collectors.

While there may not be explicit laws mandating the use of mist collectors, several industry standards and best practice guidelines highly recommend their utilization. For instance, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the U.S. and the CCOHS in Canada encourage the application of engineering controls like mist collectors to minimize exposure to airborne contaminants. Coupled with the clear benefits of mist collectors, these recommendations make them a broadly accepted standard in CNC machining operations across these regions.

Final Thoughts

Throughout this exploration of CNC operations and the role of mist collectors, we have established that CNC machines, while indispensable to modern manufacturing, generate airborne mist that can pose health risks, environmental concerns, and efficiency challenges. Mist collectors emerge as a critical solution, efficiently capturing and filtering out these airborne particles, thus ensuring a clean, safe, and compliant working environment. They contribute significantly to worker health, environmental sustainability, and the overall longevity and efficiency of CNC machines.


Are mist collectors required by law on CNC machines?

From our discussion, it becomes clear that while not universally mandated by law, mist collectors are, in fact, necessary for optimal CNC operations. Their crucial role in maintaining a healthy, safe, and efficient workspace — coupled with their alignment with regulatory guidelines and industry best practices — strongly advocates for their use in any CNC machining environment. Therefore, investing in a good quality mist collector is not just a compliance measure, but a strategic decision towards improved operations and a healthier workplace.

Choose Aeroex Technologies for Your Next Mist Collector Solution

Choosing Aeroex Technologies for your mist collector needs is a strategic decision that capitalizes on decades of expertise and innovation. With over 20 years of experience in air purification, Aeroex has a deep understanding of the industry’s needs, having started as manufacturers of oil mist collectors to address a specific market gap. Over the years, they have broadened their expertise into various specialty applications, always with an unwavering focus on quality, machines, and workmanship. 

Their team of skilled engineers are capable of designing solutions tailored to virtually any application, providing flexibility and customization rarely found in the industry. Opting for Aeroex means choosing a partner with a long-standing dedication to superior quality and the ability to deliver effective, reliable solutions for air purification in CNC operations.

Contact us to learn more about how our mist collector solutions today.