Parts washers embody one of the last steps in the parts manufacturing process; they are designed for the precision cleaning, degreasing, and drying of mass quantities of small or large parts in preparation for surface treatment and distribution. Newly machined, forged, or fabricated products are usually coated in oils, chemicals, burrs, abrasive dust, debris, paint, and other residue left over from the fabrication process; finishing coatings such as zinc and electroplating are not effective if they are applied on a dirty surface. Parts washers solve these problems by cleaning them.
Industrial parts washers are used extensively to clean carbon, grease, metal chips, cutting fluids, or other contaminants off various metal pieces. Their application ranges from small metal pieces, such as nuts, fasteners, and screws to large metallic bodies, including automotive assemblies, rail bearings, diesel engine blocks, and even wind turbine gear boxes.
Aside from industrial manufacturers, the electronics, automotive, and medical industries frequently use industrial cleaning equipment. They clean equipment, furniture, and technologies that require painting, powder coatings, zinc coatings, lubricants, electroplating, and other surface treatments that would not be possible without thorough parts washing.
Large Conveyor Parts Washer - Jenfab
Aquamate RF-3036 Cabinet Parts Washer - Alliance Manufacturing, Inc.
Powerjet Model 5846 Automatic Parts Washer - Equipment Manufacturing Corporation
Model T50 Industrial Parts Washer - TEMCO
Stainless Steel Cabinet Washers - Jayco Cleaning Technologies
TYPHOON SI Spray-Immersion Parts Washer - PROCECO
Parts cleaning technology was first developed in the mid-twentieth century for use in automotive transmission and engine repair shops. There, parts washers improved upon the previous "soak tanks," which were simply vats filled with detergent and water, in which mechanics placed parts to soak for hours. Parts cleaning equipment and systems made the process of rinsing of soiled parts much faster, easier, and more effective.
Initially, solvents were composed of mineral spirits, naphtha, or organic trichloroethylene, xylenes, and benzene. The system of cleaning was simple; a low amp, flame-tight electric liquid pump skimmed the dirty metal piece with solvent until it was cleaned in drum washers or rotary drum parts washers.
In the late 1960's, manufacturers began refining their methods in order to lessen environmental impact and improve safety. At that time, they transitioned from using degreasers like gasoline, diesel fuel, and kerosene, to slightly gentler cleaner and degreaser types, like vapor degreaser and chlorinated solvents. In the 80's, chlorinated solvents for parts cleaning were banned. After that, aqueous-based cleaning systems, which were first developed in 1971 by Gary Minkin, became the industry standard. The prominence of aqueous solutions and systems ushered in many improvements, like the use of hydraulic impact pressure, which improved cleaning power.
Today, thanks to a few key changes, many parts cleaning equipment and systems are environmentally-friendly. In the past, water-based cleaning solutions were not as effective as chemical cleaning. Today's technology has changed that; the newest forms of parts washers use biomatic parts. They use a heater washer containing a PH neutral cleaning solution combined with a microbe colony that breaks down grease, oil, and other contaminants to give the parts a cleaning that is highly effective and environmentally safe. Another key improvement of modern parts washing has been this integration of CNC programming. CNC programming manages the whole process, saving labor and time.
The future of parts washing is bright; likely, as the years go on, engineers will find ways to make the cleaning systems and processes even more efficient, thorough, environmentally-friendly, and cost-effective.
Parts cleaning equipment typically consists of a water heater, a filtration system, pumps, scrubbers, brushes and nozzles, and a cabinet.
Water heaters can be gas, electric or steam powered. The filtration system collects waste and debris generated by the cleaning process. Pumps increase the pressure of sprayers, and scrubbers and brushes help dislodge contaminants from parts. Hot water, detergents, solvents, vapors, acids and alkaline solutions, some synthetic and some natural, are used to break down contaminants and remove them from parts. Cabinets (also called enclosures or housings) are often made of stainless steel, though some cabinets also feature glass and plastic components.
When designing parts washers and systems, manufacturers have many design options. For example, some washers are fully automated and controlled by CNC machines to adjust settings, while some require manual loading. The parts being washed can be front or back loaded, and they can be washed in a basket, tray, rack system, by a robotic arm, a rotary table or conveyor belt. Most part washers are aqueous, meaning they use water and a water-based chemical or natural solvent in which they boil, blast or soak the dirty parts until they have been cleaned. Some solvents have additives, called inhibitors, that impede harmful chemical reactions between an aqueous cleaner and a non-ferrous metal substrate.
Because there are as many types of unfinished parts to wash as there are fields of industrial manufacturing, an industrial parts washer manufacturer will typically offer custom designs. These parts cleaners may be as simple as a stand-alone basket immersion washer, or they may be as complex as a five-step deburring, aqueous tumbling, rinsing, drying and paint coating machine. Innovative industrial technology makes it possible to combine many parts of the finishing process into one specialized machine.
Broadly, washers either are solvent-or aqueous-based:Solvent Parts Washer
In addition to these categorizations, parts washer systems can be broken down by their level of automation, from manual to semi-automatic, and, most commonly, fully automatic.Manual Cleaning Washer
Some modern washers are classified based on their functionality:Cabinet-Style Parts Washer
Finally, some other parts washer varieties include green washers, spray washers, rotary drum washers, drum washers, conveyor parts washers, immersion/agitating washers, small parts washers, and automotive part washers.Green Washer
After the materials are used by the microbes, the hydrocarbons are converted into carbon dioxide and water. The water is then filtered and used again. Oxygen is pumped into the solution to keep the microbes healthy and happy. When this form of system is used, not only is it beneficial for the environment, but it can be reused almost indefinitely, making the entire process cost-effective and extremely friendly to the environment.
Typically, after the parts are underwater and coated in a solvent, mechanical energy creates a vibrating and mixing action via impellers or paddles. Both of these immersion methods are effective in cleaning parts ranging from small to large. In addition, these cleaners are mounted in a way so that the high-pressure spray can clean different areas of the machine parts within a moment. Whether the cleaning arrangement is indoors or outdoors, this method can be ideal for both the areas. This system is more effective than ultrasonic washing.
There are many advantages to parts washing. These include:
To make your parts washing projects easier, there are a lot of accessories out there. Some you should consider investing in include cleaning brushes, oil absorbing pads, washer heaters, washer filters, turntables, and parts baskets. Find out if one or more of these are appropriate for your application by talking to your supplier.
Every industrial part washer is different. Learn how to properly install your parts washer by following the instructions offered to you by your supplier.
For metal parts washers to work optimally, there are numbers of things that you have to be mindful about.
Here are some expert tips for running your parts washers efficiently and for many years.
1. Avoid storage of to-be-cleaned metal pieces: Parts that need cleaning should be directly moved from the production line to the cleaning resource. Stored parts that have oil and grease on them accumulate more dirt during storage, putting extra pressure on parts cleaning machinery, which results in longer cycle times, affecting operation costs. This also affects the maintenance and repair costs of the parts cleaning equipment.
2. Burring complicates cleaning-avoid it: Metal parts that have burrs complicate the cleaning process, making it difficult for the cleaning detergent or solvent to reach and penetrate the area around the burr. Moreover, sometimes, burrs come off while washing, making work harder for the filtration and cleaning systems. Removing burrs before cleaning can make the process easier.
3. Don't put too many parts in a batch: If you fill the basket to it's limit, it leaves less space for cleaning action, and this may lead to unsatisfactory cleaning. This may decrease output, but it will improve cleanliness significantly because it allows more solvent to access the parts.
4. Choose the right cleansing solution: If contaminants on the metal parts are oil-based, like cutting fluids or coolers, a hydrocarbon cleaning process gives optimum results. If contaminants are water-based, like grinding or lapping compounds, aqueous parts washers perform well. This small consideration can affect cleanliness levels and cycle times.
5. Make sure your operators are properly dressed: In manufacturing environments, humans unknowingly transfer contaminants, such as oils and strands of hair, which complicate the running of metal parts washers. For that reason, we recommend that the operators wear hairnets, lint-free gloves, work coats, and body suits while handling the washers. This clothing will also protect them from potential harm from corrosive wash materials or chemicals.
Because you will be using your parts washer with workers around, it's always a good idea to make sure that your wash system is OSHA compliant. We also generally recommend asking for ISO and/or ASME certification. These certifications offer general quality assurance. From there, standard requirements are dependent largely on your application. For example, a parts washer used to wash military products needs to meet Mil-Specs.
The concept of a parts cleaning system is easy to understand, but selecting the right part washers that can provide adequately clean your machine parts is certainly not easy.
To help you choose your wash system, use the list considerations below.
Armed with these considerations, you are ready for the last piece of the puzzle: your manufacturer. How do you find the right industrial parts washer manufacturer for you? Start by browsing our listing above. Check out their websites, and call them with your questions. Be on the lookout for a manufacturer that is not only knowledgeable but also considerate. The ideal manufacturer will use their superior skills to design you a high quality system that fits all of your specifications while respecting your budget and timeline.
A substance for aggressive cleaning, typically sand, garnet, steel or
- Any aqueous mixture having a pH less than seven on a one to 14 scale. Any acidic solution with a pH lower than three is considered strongly acidic.
- Cleaning utilizing acids combined with surfactants to removing rust, metal or scale. Acids with a pH lower than six do not work as degreasers.
- The use of mineral acid to remove scale and rust from metal.
- A device that provides a pressurized "curtain" of air for cleansing, cooling or drying.
- An aqueous cleaning process done with a greater than 7 pH level utilizing phosphates, silicates or other alkaline salts combined with surfactants in water.
- Materials that microbial activity can naturally reduce from their original state into simple chemical compounds.
- Nature's way of cleaning using microorganisms (bacteria, enzymes, fungi) to break down the organic compounds in waste or pollutants.
- The use of pressurized air to clean or remove excess water.
- Solutions of salt in aqueous cleaning systems that maintain a preferred pH level. Aqueous cleaners use buffers since the precipitation and solubility of metals affect the pH level.
- These additives enhance the effectiveness of detergents by sequestering metals like magnesium and calcium. A problem is that a lot of builders contribute to environmental damage, with substances such as phosphates.
- A rinsing process that involves transferring product through a sequence of tanks, in which the rinse water in the last rinse tank runs over to previous tanks in the sequence (a countercurrent flow). This permits the product to be subjected to progressively pure water.
- A drying process using a basket quickly spinning for separation of excess oils, water or other substances from parts. A turbine fan installed underneath the basket pulling the air through improves the process.
- A parts cleaning system in which the water is purified and then re-circulated through the system after purification treatment; in aqueous cleaning systems, it goes back into the wash and rinse tanks and is a cost saving measure. Membrane, reverse osmosis and ion exchange filtration are typical techniques to purify the water.
- The degree to which an aqueous mixture can conduct electricity and an indication of the purity of the water. The level of conductivity is reciprocal to the level of resistance (e.g. the lower the conductivity, the higher the resistance and the greater the water purity).
- The use of companies through contracts that specialize in cleaning industrial parts and components and provide services to a wide range of industries and are comprehensive in their operations - from simple aqueous and solvent cleaning to analytical testing.
- A chamber that evaporates water from cleaned components through heated air.
- A substance used to slow the chemical reaction that causes rust.
- A cleaning process that utilizes at least two solvents to achieve the cleaning and rinsing. The action of cleaning results from the combination of the characteristics of each solvent involved, which are selected for the greatest optimization of the system in relation to the particular contaminants involved.
- A solvent or combined material for removing grease, oils, or fat from substrates.
- Water that has enhanced purity resulting from the elimination of ionic species.
- A solution that is a combination of surfactants comprised of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic material for making grease and oil water soluble. Cleaning is actually done when the soil attaches to the hydrophobic group and when the detergent soil mixture is emulsified in the water; the detergent's cleaning capabilities are increased through the addition of builders or other additives.
- Solvent cleaners that have an insoluble aqueous level that is typically utilized along with paint strippers; when combined with denser chlorinated solvents, the water becomes the upper level.
- This material enhances the stability of particles emulsified in a liquid-solid or liquid-liquid suspension and is also known as an emulsifying agent.
- The creation of micelles in a cleaning procedure resulting from the dispersal of liquid or solid globules or fine particles into a bulk liquid.
- A device that circulates large amounts of solution in the tanks.
- Cleaning the cleansing solution and trapping the contaminants so the solution can be used for a longer period and so the components being cleansed don't retain any of the soil or particulates.
- A surfactant molecule that results in the proclivity of the molecule to be water soluble.
- A water resistant substance.
- Also known as cold cleaning, it is the cleaning that takes place in a tank, usually of a rectangular shape, using an aqueous solution. The cleaning is done primarily through soaking in a water chemical solution.
- Additives that impede harmful chemical reactions between an aqueous cleaner and a substrate. Inhibitors typically retard the corrosion process of non-ferrous substrates in high pH or iron.
- The use of mechanical energy via a circulation pump to circulate cleaning solution, effective for components with flat surfaces or those that have a simple configuration.
- An amalgamation of solutions with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties that trap non-water soluble oils. Dispersal of detergents and other surfactants results in micelles.
- The use of nozzles to aim air at specific areas of a component for water removal.
- To flood the washed components with clean water or a rinse solution.
- A binding agent that prevents chemical reactions.
- A substance's capability to dissolve within another substance, usually a solid in water. Quantification is in grams per liter, and the general classifications for material solubility are fully soluble, partially soluble, slightly soluble and insoluble.
- In cleaning systems, a liquid substance that cleans a part by dissolving the surface contaminants.
- Heavy soils that sink to the bottom of an aqueous solution.
- Allowing components to rest in cleaning solution so chemicals can "lift" the dirt.
- In reference to industrial part washing, any item with contaminant or soil on it that is being exposed to a cleaning process.
- An abbreviation of "surface active agent," it is a common additive for lowering the surface tension between an aqueous cleaning solution and hydrophobic soils in order to loosen the soil or other contaminants. Detergents are principally composed of surfactants.
- Organic compounds that occur naturally and are usually found in essential oils. Utilized as cleaning agents in semi-aqueous cleaners, they come from natural sources like citrus fruit or pine trees.
- A process that is particularly useful for evaporation of water at a relatively cool temperature. A vacuum pump is used to dry the product.
- An up-and-down movement of components to allow cleaning solution to remove contaminants; vertical part agitation is effective for parts with cavities.
- Soiled water from the cleansing process.