American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc., headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, is an American manufacturer of automobile driveline and drivetrain components and systems.

As the production at their plants continued to grow, so did the amount of coolant purchases. Most of the waste coolant was being hauled off in the scrap and chip carts. Recovering and recycling just the dirty coolant from those chip carts would have a dramatic impact on operating costs.


American Axle’s chemical company recommended SmartSkim as a solution. After further research, they decided to make the investment in a SmartSkim Coolant Recycling System.   

Contaminated coolant is fed into the dirty compartment through an initial filtration media to filter out any chips or larger fines. Once in the dirty compartment, SmarSkim’s patented floating suction skimmer pumps the upper layer of fluid (where most of the tramp oil resides) into the CrossFlow Oil Separator. The CrossFlow is a 100% stainless steel tank and coalescer that separates the non-emulsified tramp oils from the coolant. After passing through the CrossFlow, the coolant gravity flows into the clean compartment of the system’s tank.

On the clean compartment, a 2nd pump filters the coolant through a magnetic filter and finally a bag filter to remove any particulates that still reside in the coolant. Additional components of the SmartSkim system include an ozone generator, used for killing bacteria and fungi that can grow in contaminated coolants. Also included in the system is a proportioning system to pre-mix any additional coolant that is needed in the system. Only pneumatic diaphragm pumps are used.

American Axle Recycling Process Diagram


After the first year in operations, American Axle saw significant savings in a number of areas.  

  • $140,500 less coolant purchase costs
  • 550,000 less liters of water used
  • 600,000 liter decrease in the amount of contaminated coolants

The success at American Axle’s Silao, Mexico plant has led them to purchase SmartSkim solutions for additional plants globally, including their facilities in Michigan, USA, Poland and other sites in Mexico



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SmartSkim Case Study American Axle
SmartSkim equipment at American Axle

“The equipment is almost maintenance-free, no moving or sensitive control parts, making it easy to operate. Training only requires 2-4 hours to understand its operation and operate”

R Gomez, Fluid Management Site Manager

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