Simon Bennett, vice president for Abanaki, discusses the new Ultra Mini Oil Skimmer
BK: What motivated Abanaki to develop this skimmer?
SB: Abanaki prides itself in being able to offer solutions to any and all oil contamination problems in aqueous fluids. This is especially true in the coolant maintenance market, where we did not offer a skimmer powered by direct current (dc) versus traditional alternate current (ac) units, the advantages being with an appropriate ac/dc adapter that can be operated universally and with dc motors that are dimensionally smaller in comparison to the ac equivalent offered a smaller footprint. This made the Ultra Mini especially attractive to machine tool builders.
BK: How is this product different from similar skimmers on the market today?
SB: Abanaki has brought over 40 years of oil skimming experience developing the Ultra Mini. The all-stainless steel construction, dc motor, proven cogged belt design, and the small footprint add up to offer a cost-efficient skimmer to remove tramp oil and thereby extend the life of the coolant. Also, Abanaki is developing a variable-speed option and a USB power cable to further offer the market adaptability for the ever-developing machine tool market.
BK: What problems needed to be addressed during the development process?
SB: The advantage of using a dc motor to power the Ultra Mini besides the smaller size is the lower operating cost, but durability and reliability have always been an issue with such a small imprint skimmer. Abanaki feels the design coupled with the materials of construction accomplishes that.
BK: How long did it take from conception to ultimate production?
SB: The time from the production meetings where we first discussed the development of a dc-powered belt skimmer for the coolant maintenance market to the prototype to a full production version of the Ultr Mini that was supplied to customers was approximately six months.
BK: What effect did cost factors have in changing the final design of the product?
SB: Cost factors were secondary to the primary goal of developing an effective tool to extend coolant life in the machine tool industry. Based on Abanaki’s extensive fabrication experience, we were confident our production cost would deliver a competitive product for the market.
BK: Who is your target audience and what benefits will they achieve from using this skimmer?
SB: Abanaki’s target audience for the Ultra Mini is the machine tool industry offering a means to remove oil contamination to extend the life of the coolant, thus lowering their operating expenses. Secondary benefits of removing the tramp oil are cleaner, safer working conditions for machine operators eliminating the oily mist from the air and floors while reducing the incidence of irritants to the eyes, lungs, and skin such as dematitis along with the “rotten egg” smell associated with the formation of anaerobic bacteria if oil is left on the surface of coolant.
BK: Do you have any other interesting information you would like to add?
SB: As mentioned briefly above, the development of the variable-speed option and USB power cable for the Ultra Mini ill provide cutting edge technology to a low-cost solution to extend the life of coolant. The amount of tramp oil that contaminates the coolant varies from machine to machine so offering an option to regulate the speed of the belt picking up the oil will allow an operator to match the pick-up rate to the oil present in the coolant. Although, an ac/dc adapter allows for universal use with the appropriate plug, the use of USB cable will provide an operating source used in so many consumer devices such as smart phones.