J. G. Kern Enterprises, Inc. is a world class CNC machining facility that manufactures close tolerance components for drivetrain and powertrain assemblies, chassis frames, and other components. After several expansions over the years, it is now a 220,000 square foot facility that incorporates some of the newest technology.

They had  areas of concern regarding their coolant usage: 

  • the low production area manufacturing aluminum blocks and heads
  • the high production area where they machine all cast iron
  • tool breakage, considering they were a 24-hour, 7-day operation

They had an old Guardian recycler that was 20+ years old that had not been used for coolant recycling in many years; instead, it was being utilized as a stand for their raw coolant totes. They cleaned out sumps with an existing Sump Sucker that was used every day. For filling and topping off machine sumps, two totes were used for premix and moved around the shop via a forklift to fill machines. 

They had 200+ CNC’s, consisting mostly of Makino’s, Fuji’s, and Okuma’s, among others. Their sump cleaning schedule entailed a portion of machines every 30 – 45 days, another portion every 6 months, and yet some other cnc’s once a year. Waste coolant was hauled away in totes.  When they accumulated 5,000 – 7,000 gallons (about every 2 weeks), they would have a waste hauler come out to pick up and properly dispose. 

Coolant concentration control was one other area of improvement they wanted to address. They had 10 – 12 broaches that ran at 10% – 12% and the rest of the machines were at 6% – 8%. They were cleaning about 3-4 tanks a day, about 800 gallons per day.


SmartSkim visited the facility and met with the team to discuss the coolant recycling project and their options. Project goals were raw coolant savings, disposal costs related to an environmental management initiative, and overall reduction in coolant management. SmartSkim recommended the following two options:

  1. Purchase a NEW turnkey recycler, Model CL2400, a 1,200 gallon dirty tank and 1,200 gallon clean tank, with a CrossFlow open channel coalescer and several stages of rare earth magnetic and bag filter filtration. The system incorporated Ozone generation to assist with biological control, and an automatic make up system. 
  2. Retrofit the Old Guardian recycler HG 1200 to be used as the dirty inlet tank and purchase a SmartSkim System providing the 1,200-gallon clean tank and components to make a functioning system.

In both cases a large plant-wide coolant delivery system via overhead piping was recommended to minimize the labor of moving coolant around the shop to the over 200+ machines, with the largest sumps holding 300 – 400 gallons. 

The JG Kern team decided to go with the SmartSkim retrofit option and ordered a Model CL2400 clean tank and components and had the unit delivered and operational in less than 3 months.

SmartSkim equipment at J.G. Kern
SmartSkim equipment at J.G Kern Enterprises


The investment in the SmartSkim Recycling System and overhead piping was approximately $90,000.  Payback came in the following areas: 

  • Reduced coolant usage from 4 totes a week to 1 tote. A note of significance is that even with the addition of 10% – 15% new equipment they are still using only 1 tote per week. At a cost of approximately $6,000 per tote, they are saving $18,000 per week. 
  • Currently recycling on average 3,500 – 4,800 gallons of coolant per week. 
  • In the past they would haul their chips in roll-offs with large amounts of coolant carry-off in them. With the recycler in place, they now drain the chips and recover the coolant, so they are paid more money for their chips. 
  • Waste hauling of coolant dropped approximately 90%, saving the company $40,000 – $50,000 per year. 
  • With the coolant recycling system and a program in place, they find that they are better at controlling the coolant concentration in the shop, thus improving their consistency of process. 





SmartSkim CL2400 at J.G. Kern facility

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