Customer Service

 Customer Survey

LABConnect™ - Online Results & More

Metalworking Fluids

Metalworking Fluids

Uncontrolled contamination in metalworking fluids (MWF) not only affects the utility of the fluid, but can also expose workers to harmful  contaminants.  If one or more of the following occur, metalworking fluids should be evaluated as soon as possible.  

Common spoilage signs include:

  • Worker complaints of skin irritation or dermatitis
  • Worker complaints of respiratory iritation
  • Foul odors (rancidity)
  • Floating Matter on the fluid
  • Low sump levels
  • Abnormal fluid appearance
  • Tramp oil floating on the surface
  • Excessive foam or changes in viscosity
  • Dirty machines or trenches
  • Changes in pH
  • Filters, screens or lines frequently clogged
  • Increased corrosion
  • Increased wear and tear on tools
  • Work pieces failing quality checks
  • Work pieces with blemished surfaces


Microbial Contamination

Bacteria and fungi are able to thrive in in typical metalworking fluids as they contain rich sources of nutrients for them to consume and multiply. Biocides may be incorporated into the fluids to help prevent or retard their growth.  Contamination may still occur if the biocide is not effective against a broad spectrum of microbes.

Microbes that have been isolated from MWF include:
  • Fusarium (EMSL Test Code:  M008)
  • Candida (EMSL Test Code: M008)
  • Cephalosporium (EMSL Test Code: M008)
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa (EMSL Test Code:  M010)
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae (EMSL Test Code:  M010)
  • Proteus mirabilis (EMSL Test Code: M010)
  • Citribacter (EMSL Test Code: M010)
  • Bacillus (EMSL Test Code: M010)
  • Mycobacteria (EMSL Test Code: M031)
  • Legionella (EMSL Test Code: M341)
  • SRB- Sulfate reducing bacteria (EMSL Test Code: M122)


Samples of the MWF can be submitted for laboratory testing to confirm the presence and specific identification of the contaminant:


Sampling Instructions:  

Collect 100 mL in a sterile container, place in a cooler with ice packs, and ship overnight to EMSL Analytical, Inc. We recommend our test code M008 as a general fungal contaminant screen, M010 for environmental bacteria, M031 specifically for Mycobacteria, M341 for Legionella, and M122 for sulfate reducing bacteria.

Interpretation Guidelines:

When interpreting microbial counts, a general rule of thumb follows (from Health and Safety Executive, UK):

<103 CFU/mL Good control. Bacteria are being maintained at low levels. No further action is required

103 to <106 CFU/mL Reasonable control. Review control measures to ensure levels of bacteria remain under control. Risk assessment should specify action to be taken. Biocides and or cleaning may be indicated. If biocides are used, expert advice should be obtained, and the concentration of biocides should be monitored
>106 CFU/mL Poor control. Immediate action should be taken in line with the risk assessment. Normally at very high levels draining and cleaning, should take place.


Contamination other than Microbial


Other problems that might be fluid-related that should be investigated as soon as possible are:

  • Premature tool & part failure due to loss of performance
  • Staining of the metal machine or machine tools and dies
  • Rust or corrosion of the machine tool or the part produced
  • Dirt and grit suspended in the fluid excessive wear and filtration requirements
  • Thermal cyclic failure at tool or die interface (malformation, scoring, micro cracking)
Modern manufacturing of complex parts or raw goods is a challenge with the ever changing application of technological development towards established manufacturing processes. In a full scale manufacturing environment, it is often the quality of the tooling and assembly equipment that can make the difference between profitability and an operating loss. Complex tooling for precision products, as well as the increasing number of products with micro-surface details that are critical to device functionality, can be problematic when often extremely tiny variations in tooling can impact the final product greatly. Being able to determine the quality of new tooling as well as monitor the condition and tolerances of deployed machining is crucial to maintaining the quality of your final product.  Microbial contamination of the machining fluid can lead to excesses in other types of contaminants.   
EMSL’s team of analysts and scientists have decades of experience working with manufacturing companies and their raw material suppliers. Our wide-ranging variety of analytical expertise and services provide solutions to a range of potential problem sources. We can assist you with analysis of fracture or failure in your machinery through fractography and failure analysis inspection. Comparison of the contour and layout of the cutting and forming surfaces to planned CAD designs, in order to ensure that the die you ordered is the die you received. Surface inspection of the tooling can reveal nicks, breaks and defects before they become a problem, or manufactured goods can all be measured using advanced digital elevation mapping in order to fit defects in a part with the tooling changes their potential causative relationship. Finally, the microstructure and composition of portions of the tooling can be examined with SEM, EDS, XRD, XRF, and EBSD to ensure that surface hardness, brittleness, and wear characteristics are all as desired – rather than losing down time when a bit breaks or a blade dulls.
EMSL can offer a wide range of analytical services quickly and efficiently in order to keep up with the pressing demands of modern manufacturing environments. The comprehensive analysis we offer can be used to gain critical insight into the performance and quality of the machinery that makes up the backbone of many manufacturing industries.  Contact EMSL for your competitive quote today.


Full list of services provided for Metalworking Fluids ( click for details )
Laboratories providing Metalworking Fluids ( click for details )
Atlanta, GA (LAB 07) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-1Baton Rouge, LA (LAB 25) - NVLAP Lab Code 200375-0Beltsville, MD (LAB 19) - NVLAP Lab Code 200293-0Boston, MA (LAB 13) - NVLAP Lab Code 101147-0Buffalo, NY (LAB 14) - NVLAP Lab Code 200056-0Carle Place, NY (LAB 06) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-10Charlotte, NC (LAB 41) - NVLAP Lab Code 200841-0Chicago, IL (LAB 26) - NVLAP Lab Code 200399-0Cinnaminson, NJ (LAB List in Description) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-0Dallas, TX (LAB 11) - NVLAP Lab Code 600111-0Denver, CO (LAB 22) - NVLAP Lab Code 200828-0EMSL Canada - Calgary, AB (LAB 65) - NVLAP Lab Code 500100-0EMSL Canada - Edmonton, AB (LAB 50) - NVLAP Lab Code 600321-0EMSL Canada - Markham, ON (LAB 66) - NVLAP Lab Code 600317-0EMSL Canada - Montreal, QC (LAB 68) - NVLAP Lab Code 201052-0EMSL Canada - Ottawa, ON (LAB 67) - NVLAP Lab Code 201040-0EMSL Canada - Toronto, ON (LAB 55) - NVLAP Lab Code 200877-0EMSL Canada - Vancouver, BC (LAB 69) - NVLAP Lab Code 201068-0Fort Lauderdale, FL (LAB 56) - NVLAP Lab Code 500085-0Houston, TX (LAB 15) - NVLAP Lab Code 102106-0Huntington Beach, CA (LAB 33) - NVLAP Lab Code 101384-0Indianapolis, IN (LAB 16) - NVLAP Lab Code 200188-0Kernersville, NC (LAB 02) - NVLAP Lab Code 102104-0Las Vegas, NV (LAB 31) - NVLAP Lab Code 600140-0Long Island City, NY (LAB 03) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-9Meriden, CT (LAB 24) - NVLAP Lab Code 200700-0Miami, FL (LAB 17) - NVLAP Lab Code 200204-0Minneapolis, MN (LAB 35) - NVLAP Lab Code 200019-0Ontario, California (San Bernadino County / Inland Empire) (LAB 71) - NVLAP Lab Code 600239-0Orlando, FL (LAB 34) - NVLAP Lab Code 101151-0Phoenix, AZ (LAB 12) - NVLAP Lab Code 200811-0Piscataway, NJ (LAB 05) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-2Plymouth Meeting, PA (LAB 18) - NVLAP Lab Code 200699-0Raleigh, NC (LAB 29) - NVLAP Lab Code 200671-0Rochester, NY (LAB 53) - NVLAP Lab Code 600183-0San Diego, CA (LAB 43) - NVLAP Lab Code 200855-0San Leandro, CA (LAB 09) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-3Santa Clara, CA (LAB 47) - NVLAP Lab Code 600318-0Seattle, WA (LAB 51) - NVLAP Lab Code 200613-0South Pasadena, CA (LAB 32) - NVLAP Lab Code 200232-0South Portland, ME (LAB 62) - NVLAP Lab Code 500094-0St. Louis, MO (LAB 39) - NVLAP Lab Code 200742-0Syracuse, NY (LAB 73) - NVLAP Lab Code 600283-0Tampa, FL (LAB 93) - NVLAP Lab Code 600215-0
Sorry, this function is disabled.