1. Abstract

1. History

1.1. Where does MQL come from and how long does it exist already?

Spray Lubrication Systems have already been used in the metal processing for a longer time. Thus, the predecessor of today’s Steidle unit Spraymat was already built around 1970. This technology prevailed from the beginning of the 90’s. The term “Minimum Quantity Lubrication” also has its origin in this period.

1.2. How long does Steidle already manufacture MQL?

The Steidle GmbH was established in 1979 and offered its first spraying system, the “VAPOR LUB” (predecessor of the Spraymat) around 1983. Until 1990, the programme was extended by the Lubrimat and the Pulsomat; followed by Sawfix, Toolmat, Centermat and Flowster until today.

2. Application area

2.1. For which type of processing is MQL suitable?

MQL can be used in almost all metal processing methods. For this purpose the chipping processes with the geometrically defined cutting edges are most suitable. But MQL can be used also in case of undefined cutting edges and chipless processing.

2.2. For which processing is it not possible to use MQL?

The overall conditions of the process are less decisive than the process, especially the available space: Is it possible to place the nozzle at the point of contact of tool/work piece or even to spray through the tool?

2.3. Which conditions are necessary to be able to use MQL?

For MQL an appropriate device, a suitable medium and compressed air are mainly necessary.

2.4. Up to which length-Ø ratio is it possible to work with an external lubrication in case of the MQL?

2.5 – 3 times the diameter can be taken as a rule of the thumb for the maximum drilling depth; sometimes more and sometimes less depending on the material feature. From this depth the tool has to be aerated in case of an external lubrication so that the lubricating film can be renewed.

2.5. Is it possible to spray through the spindle?

Yes, the so-called “internal lubrication” is possible, but it requires suitable MQL devices, which are distinguished from the equipment provided for the “external lubrication“.

2.6. Is it also possible to process wood with MQL?

Traditional, pure wood processing: Wood is mostly processed in dry state, since the lifetimes are also good without lubrication and the moisture would make the chips heavy and sticky, which in turn would make the suction difficult. In addition, the moisture would penetrate into the wooden work piece and soak it. All these are arguments against a wet processing. The layer applied by MQL would be very small so that it does mean any impairment but it also does not bring any great advantage.


Modern wood working: Wood workers (carpenters, furniture industry) are not “pure” wood workers any more for quite some time today. Machine requirements for coatings of chipboards, aluminium and plastic as deco or reinforcing materials and other composite materials are different than for pure wood.  Therefore modern wood working machines must be also appropriate for this purpose. – dry is not possible anymore. Cooling by refrigeration is excluded completely; only MQL remains as solution.

3. Advantages

3.1. Which advantages result using MQL?

With MQL, it is possible to make the lubricating process more efficiently. Only the quantity actually necessary is applied. A time-consuming and costly cleaning of chips and work piece are not needed. Similarly the machine and the surroundings remain dry, which improves the safety of the workplace. No emulsions must be maintained and disposed of any more. The lifetime normally increases.

3.2. Which lifetime is to be expected for flood cooling and/or dry processing?

An increase of the lifetime is certain compared to dry procession; at least the same lifetime is to be expected compared to closed-circuit cooling, and in many cases even a better lifetime.

3.3. Are my work pieces so dry after the processing with MQL that they can be further processed without washing?

This mainly depends on the medium used and the quantity applied. In most cases, the parts processed with MQL show a film of moisture at the direct processing areas maximum. In case of some media, these remaining quantities volatilise, and in others, they remain present. Whether this remaining quantity must be washed off or not depends on the requirements of the further processing. In any case, the quantity of foreign matters entering the washing bath is reduced, which extends its lifetime.

3.4. Is it also possible to blow away light chips with the spray air of the MQL?

Up to a certain grade, light chips can be removed by the spray air.

4. Conversion

4.1. Do I need special tools for MQL?

Mostly you can obtain good results with the present tools. However, sometimes the result can be optimised with the coated tools or tools specially manufactured for MQL, especially in case of tools for the internal lubrication.

4.2. Do I have to change the speed and feed rates / rpm’s?

Not initially. Only when problems with lifetime or temperature occur, a variation may be helpful. In most cases it is better to increase the feed rates instead of reducing them, as higher feed speeds can be obtained by the improved lubricating effect conducting more heat into the chip and reducing the manufacturing time.

4.3. How much time and effort are required to equip a machine with MQL?

This depends on the machine and the device. Simple systems such as Pulsomat or Spraymat are sometimes ready for use in 15 minutes. For more complex systems, the connection to the machine control and eventually the installation of the feed tubes and the installation of the nozzles are also added.

4.4. Do I have to rebuild/modify something at the machine to be able to use the MQL?

In many cases, the machine can be used further on without changes; however it depends on the equipment and the use of the machine.

5. MQL and health

5.1. Does MQL offer advantages or disadvantages compared to wet processing?

The German Accident Prevention and Insurance Associations for the Metal Industry expressly mention the MQL as a promising strategy of avoidance for skin protection. Employees at working places with MQL seldom have contact with lubricoolants, one of the main means causing skin diseases. In addition, there is a reduction in slip hazard, as the area around the machine remains cleaner.

5.2. Do the nozzles get misty?

The nozzles of the devices LubrimatSawfixPulsomat and Flowster are designed for a fogless spraying with the correct setting. In case of flat jet nozzles and the device Spraymat, a tendency to mist can be seen in some settings. The devices Toolmat and Centermat deliberately generate an aerosol for the internal lubrication through the spindle.

5.3. Is a suction system necessary for the MQL?

Our customers normally do not use any suction. But if the nozzles should mist deliberately, or the employees should work directly in the spraying area, or if the medium sprayed is dangerous to health, then a suction system is recommended.

5.4. I would like to install a suction system – can I buy it from you?

No. But we can establish a contact with suppliers for you.

2. Choosing

1. Selection of the Steidle-device

1.1. Which is the correct device for my machine?

Our overview “Characteristics and appropriateness” offers a first help for selection (see page 4 of our complete catalogue). One of our friendly employees would be pleased to help you with a more detailed advice.

1.2. How do I find the appropriate MQL system?

Steidle GmbH offers you several systems. Which one is optimum for your use depends on the technical conditions on the one hand (machines, techniques, material, processes etc.) and on the other hand, on your objectives, your budget and other requirements on the system. These questions are discussed in a meeting with us and our sales partners so that an appropriate device of our product range can be offered to you.

1.3. Can I speak with a user beforehand, who has a similar application?

If we know customer using a similar application and this customer gives his agreement we can establish such a contact. Otherwise, the multitude of application examples in the complete catalogue / on the homepage can be useful to you.

2. The configuration of a Steidle-device

2.1 Base addition

2.1.1. How many nozzles do I need?

Normally, 1 nozzle per cutting tool to be lubricated is sufficient. At least 2 nozzles are to be recommended for milling in view of the multi-dimensional traversing directions. For smaller saws (band height up to 34 mm, blade diameter up to 300-350 mm), one nozzle block with one feed pipe is sufficient; larger saws require several.

2.1.2. Can I connect two or more nozzles to one feed tube?

No. Since this could never guarantee a uniform distribution, a nozzle could be undersupplied. In view of the already low minimum quantities a failure of the lubrication system could result.

2.1.3. Can I increase the number of nozzles later?

This is not possible for most of the devices without a larger modification. Therefore the number of the nozzles required should be selected right from the beginning.

2.2 Reservoir

2.2.1. How large should the reservoir be selected?

Normally 20-50 ml is sprayed per nozzle and spraying hour with the MQL. If this value is multiplied with the effective spraying time per day, you receive the medium consumption of the system per day. Select the size of the reservoir so that you do not have to refill too many times.

Consumption (ml / day) = 20 – 50 ml x number of nozzles x spraying time / day

2.2.2. When do I need a float switch?

A float switch is reasonable, if the system with the reservoir is not located in the field of view of the user or if a heavy contamination of the reservoir or the filling level display has to be expected due to the working environment; in addition, if a serious damage would quickly occur due to a failure of the lubrication system.

2.2.3. Shall I take the float switch as NC (=opener) or NO (=closer)?

In most cases, both can be used for the control which monitors the contact signal of the float switch. However, the NC offers the advantage that a possible parting of a cable in the line is monitored at the same time.

2.2 Drive

2.3.1. Do I need current to operate the systems?

No. All Steidle systems work exclusively with compressed air. Current is only necessary to open the compressed air supply, if you have selected an electric drive control.

2.3.2. How much compressed air do I need for the system?

The devices which spray the medium from outside by spray air (for e.g. Lubrimat/ Sawfix/ /Spraymat ) need approx 50 NI/min per nozzle at 6 bar under normal conditions with the external lubrication. With the internal lubrication (Toolmat / Centermat), the consumption amounts to approx. 20 – 150 NL/min per tool based on the size of the cooling duct. The “airless systems” Pulsomat do not have any relevant compressed air use.

2.3.3. Can I also use the compressed air of my machine (instead of the compressed air from the network)?

Yes, but in most cases only as control air. If it is used as working air, the air pressure and the compressed air flow rate must be adapted to the system requirements.

2.4 Feed tube

2.4.1. Which length do I need?

Please consider where you wish to install the basic device and the nozzles and how you wish to lay the feed tubes between them. Measure this distance generously. Please note the maximum tube lengths depending on the system (see technical data).

2.4.2. What is the length maximum?

The devices with piston pump technology (for e.g. Lubrimat/ Sawfix / Toolmat / Centermat) have the standard length of 3 meter. Longer feed tubes up to 20 m are available. For the low-pressure system Spraymatthe feed tube length is limited (see Technical Data).

2.4.3. Can I shorten or lengthen a tube on my own?

This is possible only in the system Centermat.

2.4.4. Can I install the tubes in a cable drag chain?

Yes, in this case, please select always the PUN synthetic tube version (presently on demand), since the danger of rubbing against other cables is too large for the tubes with metal sleeve.

2.5 Nozzles

2.5.1. Which nozzle length do I need?

By default, nozzles are 300mmm long. Other lengths are possible on demand.

Please note that for larger lengths a decrease of the position stability has to be expected.

2.5.2. Can I shorten a nozzle myself?

No. The nozzles have a coaxial design and therefore, cannot be shortened.

2.5.3. Wofür brauche ich Kupferrohrdüsen?

Wenn der Zielbereich, auf den die Düsen zeigen, immer gleich ist (Serienproduktion, Automatisierung), dann lohnt sich eine Kupferrohrdüse. Diese kann ein- bis zweimal verbogen und so optimal ausgerichtet werden. Zudem sind sie vorteilhaft, wenn starke Vibrationen der Maschine oder sehr hohe Beschleunigungs- und Verzögerungskräfte auf die Düse einwirken oder eine erhöhte Umgebungstemperatur gegeben ist. Gliederschlauchdüsen hingegen sind flexibel und können sich so besser auf unterschiedliche Zielbereiche anpassen.

3. Maintanance

1. Installation

1.1. Can I install an MMKS system on my own?

Normally, yes. The equipment is mostly delivered in installed condition. Sometimes you must still connect the feed tubes with the nozzles. The installation and the commissioning neither require great effort. If an electric control activation is part of the equipment, the connection must take place through an authorised electrician. The operating instructions delivered with each system lead you through the installation step by step.

1.2. Where is the best place to install the machine?

Devices with housings (for e.g. Lubrimat / Sawfix / Toolmat / Centermat) or large reservoirs (Spraymat from 6-litre reservoir) are installed mostly outside the area of danger at an accessible place, for e.g. at a side wall or back wall of the machine. For systems without float switch, the installation place should be in the field of view of the employee.

Spraymat with 1-litre reservoir are often installed close to the tool. Pulsomat are installed in the immediate proximity of the tool.

1.3. Is it possible to install the device so that it moves along with on the machine?

From the technical point of view, the equipment withstands this requirement, but you must pay attention to the following points: Not all types of reservoirs are completely sealed at the lid of the reservoir so that the medium could leak through spilling over in the long run. In addition, the medium could produce foam when being shaken. Depending on the weight of the device (incl. full reservoir) and the stability of the machine, the accuracy of the machine could suffer, if this additional weight must be accelerated and slowed down. A refill of the device during production would then be hardly possible.

2. Upkeep

2.1. Is it difficult to set up the devices?

No, the operating instructions delivered explain to you the setting possibilities of your device. Should you still have questions, your customer service representative of Steidle will be pleased to help you.

2.2. Is it also possible to use only 2 nozzles in a 3-nozzle device?

Yes, for all devices it is possible to turn off nozzles manually if they are not required for a longer period. But if the number of required nozzles has to be changed very often, a so-called “separate control activation” is recommended.

2.3. Which pressure do I need?

Normally Steidle equipment works with approx. 6 bar compressed air. More than 8 bar should not be used.

2.4. Which air consumption should be taken account of for the MQL?

The devices which spray the medium from outside by spray air (for e.g. Lubrimat / Sawfix / /Spraymat ) need approx 50 NI/min per nozzle at 6 bar under normal conditions with the external lubrication. With the internal lubrication (Toolmat / Centermat), the consumption amounts to approx. 20 – 150 NL/min per tool based on the size of the cooling duct. The “airless systems” Pulsomat do not have any relevant compressed air use.

2.5. Do I need a larger compressor with MQL?

You can estimate the consumption of your MQL device with the help of the previous replies. Your compressor must ensure this consumption volume in addition to the other usage volume. Industrial compressor systems are usually designed for these values.

2.6. I still do not have a compressor – which one should I buy?

You can estimate the consumption of your MQL device with the help of the previous replies. Your new compressor should be designed for this requirement. Compressor manufacturers can provide corresponding advice.

2.7. How expensive is the air consumption with the MQL?

The costs of the generation of compressed air are different from company to company. On average, they are specified with 0.01 €/m³ in industrial companies. Consequently the costs for a single-nozzle device (approx. 50 NL/min consumption) would be at 4 Cent per spraying hour.

2.8. What is the performance of the air filter in some devices?

The air filter (available at Lubrimat L50/L60, Toolmat T70, Centermat C30) generates the following air quality: maximum particle size 5µm, maximum dew point -20°C / 128 ppm vol. g at 7bar and maximum oil concentration 1 mg/m³.

3. Maintenance

3.1. How much maintenance is necessary?

MQL devices usually require low maintenance. With the correct medium and in case of a careful and appropriate handling, no regular maintenance work has been specified.

4. Lubricoolants

1. Selection of the lubricoolant

1.1. Which medium can I use?

In most cases, non water-miscible lubricants are used for the MQL. Lubricants on the basis of fatty alcohols and esters are quite common.

1.2. Why do mediums exist especially for MQL?

There are special mediums for MQL in order to obtain an optimum lubricating effect with small quantities applied. For the circulating lubrication, other requirements are placed on the mediums, which partially do not have anything to do with the lubricating task directly, for e.g. with respect to lifetime, behaviour of foam, microbial contamination and temperature fluctuations.

1.3. Do MQL mediums exist for different materials?

Yes. We recommend different mediums for non-ferrous metals, unalloyed and high-alloyed steels. In case of a mixed processing, you have to base your selection on the most sophisticated material. Please refer to our recommendation of use in the general brochure, page 25 / or our Homepage for more information.

1.4. Which maximum viscosity may I use?

You will find corresponding recommendations for the respective equipment in the “Technical data” and the overview “Characteristics and suitability”.

1.5. What happens if I use a viscosity, which is higher than recommended?

It depends on the device. For Spraymat almost no medium or even no medium could be delivered any more. For toolmat and Centermat, the internal lubrication could fail, as no small drops could be formed. For Pulsomat the drops could not leave the nozzle.

For Lubrimat/Sawfix, the mediums would be delivered to the nozzle, but impairments of the distribution quality of the spraying pattern must be accepted. Instead of a controlled, uniform spraying pattern, irregular, gross blots would occur.

1.6. Is the device damaged, if it is running despite empty reservoir?

No. For the devices with pumps (for e.g., Lubrimat / Sawfix / Toolmat / Centermat / Pulsomat), air can get into the piston pump even if it is completely empty. It has to be deaerated only then (see operating instructions) and the feed tubes possibly have to be refilled. Should this happens often, the installation of a float switch is recommended.

1.7. How many mediums would I consume with the MQL?

A consumption of 20 – 50 ml per spray hour and tool is assumed for the MQL. Accordingly, the daily consumption per process depends on the effective spraying duration. The daily consumption per device additionally depends on the number of nozzles connected.

1.8. What happens if I do not apply enough?

If an insufficient lubricant quantity is applied, the lubricating film can tear off and the MQL cannot provide optimal results which has an effect on the lifetime of the tools and the surface quality.

2. Steidle lubricoolants

2.1. How long is the durability of the lubricants?

Adhering to the specified storage conditions, the Steidle products can be stored and used for at least 6 to 12 months, sometimes even 24 months.

Lubrimax Edel C: 24 months.

Lubrimax Alu-Fleckfrei: 24 months.

Lubrimax Alu Quick: 12 months.

Twinmax:   6 months.

Alumax: 12 months.

2.2. Do the Steidle lubricoolants contain sulphides?

The lubricant Lubrimax Edel C contains additives with sulphide constituents. However, for compensation this medium contains non-ferrous metal inhibitors which reduce the reaction with the sulphides. The lubricant Twinmax contains emulsifiers on sulphonate basis, from which sulphides may be formed under certain circumstances. The lubricants Lubrimax Alu Quick and Lubrimax Alu-Fleckfrei do not contain any sulphides.

2.3. How long can Twinmax be used as emulsion?

The product Twinmax can be mixed with water to an emulsion which should always be mixed together only in the quantities used for 1-2 weeks.

2.4. The Twinmax segregates very quickly as emulsion or even does not form. What are the reasons for it?

It is important for the mixture of emulsions that the concentrate is added into the clean water while stirring. Never add the water to the concentrate or remix it in the remaining quantity of the reservoir – a so-called “reversal emulsion” can be generated, which is not stable.

2.5. My safety data sheet got lost – can I have a new one?

Yes. You can download all safety data sheets from our homepage. We are also pleased to send you the safety data sheets by email or post

3. Foreign mediums

3.1. Can I use a medium with solid lubricant particles?

Mostly, graphite occurs as solid lubricant particle. Even if graphite is not an abrasive medium in the actual sense due to its lubricating characteristics, the solid form of the particles may lead to an increased wear of the seals. Consequently, the sealings in the mobile parts (for e.g. Lubrimat/Sawfix/Toolmat/Centermat/Pulsomat = pump) could be leaky in the devices.

The devices which spray the medium from outside by spray air (for e.g. Lubrimat Sawfix / /Spraymat ) need approx 50 NI/min per nozzle at 6 bar under normal conditions with the external lubrication. With the internal lubrication (Toolmat Centermat), the consumption amounts to approx. 20 – 150 NL/min per tool based on the size of the cooling duct. The “airless systems” Pulsomat do not have any relevant compressed air use.

3.2. Is it also possible to spray only water?

In principle, we do not recommend to sprayed. However, attention has to be paid to the following instruction for the reliability of the equipment function: Depending on the calcium hardness or the natrium concentration of the water, furring may occur in pipes and nozzles, which can reduce the quantity of spray.

For devices with piston pump function (for e.g. Lubrimat Sawfix Toolmat CentermatPulsomat), the medium to be used should have a lubricating feature so that the piston/cylinder and its sealings are lubricated. This does not apply for pure water.
If you want to use beside this water, add small quantities of a lubricant (for e.g. flushing medium* or lubricating oil) to the water. If this is not possible, you must consider one maintenance interval for the regreasing of the pumps.
  * = No alkaline liquids should be used. Hence, we recommend neutrally reactant detergents with non-ionic surfactants.

3.3. Can I use different mediums at the same time?

It would be better to fill only one type of medium into the reservoir. If you would like to use different mediums regularly, it is possible to use double reservoirs or exchange reservoirs for some devices. In any case, however, the compatibility of the mediums should be checked previously, since the mediums are mixed in the tubes or the nozzles.

3.4. I would like to use the medium XY of the company ABC. Is this possible for Steidle devices?

Steidle devices are designed for the spraying of mediums. Basically they should have the following characteristics: Fluid, not abrasive, not solvent based, not easily inflammable, not explosive, not segregating/depositing, not agglutinating, and not caustic, without solid particles. For pumping equipment, the medium should not be degreasing and should exhibit a certain lubricating function itself. In addition, you should pay attention to the material compatibility. A listing of the materials used is available for each device. You can ask the manufacturer of the medium regarding the compatibility using this listing.

3.5. I would like to use the medium XY of the company ABC. Will my warranty claims expire due to this?

The warranty for our systems does not extend to damages which are caused by using the foreign medium.

5. Service
1. Do you have a representative in …?

We have representations in several regions abroad. Please contact us.

2. Where does the company Steidle GmbH produce the equipment?

All our devices are developed and produced in the head office in Leverkusen, Germany. Thus, we can respond to the requests of the customer with flexibility.

3. Where can I buy Steidle equipment?

If known, you should order at the sales partner responsible for your region, since in most cases he knows your company and the purpose of use best and is consequently able to give you optimal advice. But you can also contact our head office.

4. Can I speak with a user beforehand, who has a similar application?

If we know customer using a similar application and this customer gives his agreement we can establish such a contact. Otherwise, the multitude of application examples in the general brochure / on the homepage can be useful to you.

5. Which delivery times must I take into consideration?

We have lubricoolants and fast selling spare parts on stock (subject to prior sale). In view of the large variation possibilities, we manufacture complete devices on order so that you receive your individual configuration.

6. I am looking for spare parts of the company Steidle in Langenfeld, Germany – are you the company mentioned?

Yes, in 1999, we have moved to a larger office in Leverkusen, Germany, which is only a few kilometres away.

7. I have an old model “Vapor-Lub” – are spare parts still available for it?

No. Until about 1986 the Spraymat S100 was called “Vapor-Lub”. In 2007, the Spraymat S100 was replaced by the Spraymat S700. Spare parts arn´t available any more.

8. My operating instructions got lost – can I have new ones?

Yes, we can send you another one via email. Please inform us about the exact product name, if possible with series number.

9. I have a problem with a Steidle device. What shall I do?

First of all, look whether the operating instructions include a chapter “Trouble shooting“ and follow the instructions described. If the problem still exists, please contact the consultant responsible for you or our headquarters.

10. How quickly can I expect help?

We will be happy to help you during weekdays every day by telephone. If necessary, one of our field representatives will visit to you. Spare part deliveries and repairs of devices returned will be given preference in the main work and therefore are completed at short notice.

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You have a question to one of our products? Please contact us, our support team gladly advise you.