Aqueous Cleaning Systems
An Aqueous Cleaning System is a safe and effective alternative to solvent cleaning systems. They are used for cleaning parts. Aqueous Cleaning Systems use water based chemicals (which are less hazardous to operate) and heat and mechanical energy to clean parts. They are safer because they reduce the release of VOC (volatile organic compounds) which cause medical issues. Aqueous Cleaning Systems are available in automatic, manual or both with programmable solution temperatures and other features. There are two main process styles of Aqueous Cleaning Systems: jet spray process and the power wash process. During the cleaning, a heated solution is flooded or blasted on the parts depending on the kind of Aqueous Cleaning Systems that is being used. They basically work like dishwashers with a wash, rinse and dry cycle.
Aqueous Cleaning Systems work by breaking up dirt and grease using heat, pressurized water, soap, and agitation. There are different kinds of Aqueous Cleaning Systems. Spray cabinets clean by spraying heated solutions at high pressures in an enclosed cabinet. Spray cabinets range and vary greatly in size. Ultrasonic units are equipped with transducers along the bottom or side of the tank and the transducer generate high-frequency sound waves that allow for a microscopic scrubbing action on the surfaces of parts. Immersion units have a removable false bottom which allows parts to be submerged in the solution and loosen soils and reduce scrubbing time. Drum top units are the most similar to solvent units. They use microbes in the aqueous solution to degrade oils and organic contaminants. These microbes are safe and pose no threat to those who come in contact with them. All these Aqueous Cleaning Systems have an aqueous solution in them that helps with the cleaning.
Certain factors affect the cleaning results in an Aqueous Cleaning System. These include mechanical energy, temperature, detergent, and time. Changing or altering any of these factors affects the cleaning outcome. Aqueous Cleaning Systems use alkaline based detergents mixed with water to clean. Most Aqueous Cleaning Systems use an electric motor to drive a centrifugal pump which determines the power density of the machine. For two Aqueous Cleaning Systems to have similar cleaning results, their power density must be the same.
Considerations in Choosing an Aqueous Part Cleaning Machine
If you are a manufacturing business, you cannot deny the importance of washing your process equipment and machinery. These quintessential processes ensure the quality of your production environment, while keeping your costs and other expenses under control. No matter whether you clean your parts at your facility or hire a professional service for this task, parts cleaning contributes to customer satisfaction and the overall quality of your products.
Keeping your machines well maintained is key to smooth process operation. Cleaning and maintenance also help you in production control, time reduction, and cost cutting. Whichever industry you serve, customer expectations are high and you must keep your machines and appliances up and running all the time. To make this happen, ensuring the cleaning and maintenance of your machines is an inevitable aspect.
For parts cleaning, there are various washing techniques followed by manufacturing businesses. The aqueous parts cleaning method is one of the most used cleaning procedures. However, choosing the right process is tricky. When looking to buy an aqueous parts cleaner, it is important to get an adequate, reliable process equipment test completed by more than one qualified vendor. Most manufacturers perform these tests for their consumers free of cost to help them establish that their machines are suitable for their parts cleaning requirements. However, you may have to provide each test vendor with a sample machine part.
Additionally, you should also be aware of the cleaning method or process that your samples have gone through before being tested.
Staging the Aqueous Cleaning Process
If you are going to execute the cleaning process within an in-house facility, you first need to create a suitable solution (or a set of chemicals) to use in the process. Creating this solution is the first step before setting up an aqueous washing unit in your facility. The type of contaminants on your parts will help you determine how to set the pH level of the solution. The pH level should be based on the type of material the part is made from. Your process engineers can help you set this threshold. They will suggest how to use the slightest changes in chemistry to achieve the best possible results, while keeping the cost and time-involvement down.
Further, when selecting an aqueous cleaning system, it is important to pay attention to the type, quality and capacity of the machine. Apart from these factors, you should also be open to the type of heating element or energy that the application utilizes. The heater or energy source is the main component impacting the quality of the parts cleaning system and process.
The capacity of the heating application in your part washer is a major factor that determines your energy bills. Furthermore, another aspect is the hardware utilized in the parts washer system. The more durable your cleaning appliance is, the more you save on maintenance and repairs.
Improving the Performance of Aqueous Cleaning Systems
Aqueous parts cleaning applications can be difficult and costly to operate and maintain. If you are a manufacturing business and want to keep your overall cost down, the aqueous cleaning systems in your factory are likely to increase costs versus minimizing them. Cost is one of the major factors that face all manufacturers seeking to decrease contaminants in production facilities. However, there is no question on the robustness and efficiency provided by traditional aqueous parts washers.
A typical industrial washer includes a washing stage that uses rinsing and drying mechanisms to eliminate a large number of pollutants from the surface of machine parts. For added contaminant removal, an ultra filtration (UF) system can also attached to the aqueous cleaning appliance, segregating water-soluble oils and other emulsifiable fats and oils from the surface of the parts—ensuring smooth operation. Conventional systems of the past were not efficient for maintaining and attaining optimal cleaning. Most modern-day machines come with built-in ultra filtration features to deal with water-soluble oils and other fatty and greasy elements.
Improving the Performance of Aqueous Parts Bathing
When using parts cleaning machines, there are three major objectives for optimal performance— maintaining and enhancing the product quality, cost control, and reduced waste.
Typically, during a cleaning exercise, the cleaning solution’s price remains stable; however, it often increases whenever additional chemicals and procedures are introduced. Whichever add-ons are selected, the primary goal is to achieve effective parts cleaning. And, when there is a need to contain cost, UF systems can prove ideal. They are designed to allow fluids to move through a vacuum or high-pressure area, while sending the fluid back to the system.
UF systems can remove emulsified oils and fine particulates (of 0.05 microns) from the surface of parts washers. These innovative systems ensure minimal downtime and these modern systems can work for as long six months between cleanings. Apart from this, these systems require membrane replacement annually – that is another plus of UF systems.
Most of the time, the biggest challenge for aqueous parts washers is to deal with a variety of contaminants.
Considerations for Using an Aqueous Parts Cleaner with UF
Quality of water: Tap water or untreated water generally contains a number of contaminants and should not be used with UF system. Additionally, clean water should be recycled every week in order to maintain the quality of cleaning.
Chemical recyclability: Ideally, the solution that you select for part cleaning should be recyclable. This particular feature enables the UF system to prevent premature fouling and failures, while extending the membrane life. Additionally, the coating that the UF system renders on the membranes gives the parts an ultra-slick surface, which eventually prevents contamination.