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Unmanned Chemical Lab (UCL): autonomous control system for the remote management of soluble and emulsifiable metalworking fluids

Project description

A hot new platform will help keep metal parts cool

When metal parts rub against each other in mechanical systems to do their jobs, the friction creates heat that can damage the structure and function of the materials. Metalworking fluids are routinely used to cool and lubricate components, ensuring smooth operation and enhancing the lifetime of machines. However, these fluids are subject to deterioration and additives are often used to prolong shelf life. When they are not added in time, the fluids can become useless and companies are faced with both the cost of replacement and the environmental cost of disposal. The EU-funded UCL project has developed a modern solution in the form of a cloud-based platform that continuously and automatically monitors process fluids, determining and pouring the optimal amount of additives. The system will reduce the loss of metalworking fluids while enhancing the health and safety of operators whose contact will be minimised.


Several industries such as transportation, machinery and metal fabrication rely on metalworking fluids (MWF) for smooth operation. Water-based MWF, especially emulsions are susceptible to deterioration due to factors such as bacterial growth or evaporation of water which alter the fluid characteristics. In order to keep MWF properties at their optimum, additives must be used. Currently, however, testing of parameters is done either once a week using hand-held devices or using automatic systems which send information to operators alerting them to intervene. If additives are not poured in time, the MWF become unusable and need to be disposed. MWF disposal is associated with high costs of waste management and negative environmental impacts. In addition, both MWF and additives pose health risks such as skin reactions and respiratory conditions. REYS S.p.A an expert chemical production and fluid management company has developed the Unmanned Chemical Lab (UCL), a cloud-based platform that automatically predicts fluid degradation events, remotely manages and controls process fluids reducing drastically the health exposure risk to workers. Based on an extensive database on MWF parameters and interventions taken by operators, our system has an artificial intelligence (AI) software capable to determine the amount of additives required to restore parameters to their optimum and pours the measured additives automatically. UCL novelty relies on four major pillars: (1) AI powered software enables continuous, automatic and highly accurate monitoring of the emulsion providing correction of MEW parameters in real-time; (2) usage of less than 2% fluids and additives; (3) reduce MWF disintegration by 100% enabling the fluid to last its full-service life of a year and (4) 100% reduction of health and safety operator risks associate with in situ MWF measurements. We foresee to generate a cumulative profit of €2.4M a ROI of 4.45 and +12 personnel, 5 years post commercialisation.

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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
Via cesare battisti 78
20862 Arcore

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Nord-Ovest Lombardia Monza e della Brianza
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 21 429,00