Aqueous Parts Washers
Parts washers are a type of automated or semi-automated equipment that is designed to clean, degrease and sometimes dry mass quantities of large or small parts in preparation for distribution or surface treatment. This is a necessary process since newly machined, forged or fabricated parts are usually coated in oils, chemicals, burrs and other residue left over from the fabrication process. Coatings such as zinc and electroplating cannot be effectively applied atop grease or contaminating dirt.
Aqueous parts washers use water-based chemical or natural solvents, boiling, pressure boiling, blasting and soaking to remove these contaminants from a virtually limitless variety of unfinished parts. Aqueous parts washing is the most common type of part washing, and there are many different kinds of aqueous part washing machinery that accommodate different sizes and shapes of parts as well as different levels of cleanliness. One of the most common aqueous parts washer is the spray washer; most spray washers are built with an enclosed conveyor system that moves parts through the cleaning machine, which sprays newly fabricated parts with aqueous solvents, rinses water and sometimes a corrosion resistant coating. Other types of spray washers guide products through on an overhead conveyor, or monorail, while others use a cabinet, or cell washer, in which a stationary basket is placed within a cabinet lined with spray nozzles, much like a household dishwasher. Spray washing is effective for parts that require light to medium surface cleaning. The common alternative to aqueous spray washing is immersion washing, in which uncleaned parts are submerged in hot or boiling water or aqueous solvents and soaked or agitated. Immersion washers usually hold parts in a wire mesh basket as the basket and all the parts it contains are rotated, turned and shaken within an aqueous solution.
Ultrasonic parts cleaners are a type of immersion washer that use tiny underwater air blasts against the surface of a dirty part in conjunction with organic or chemical solvents to precision clean the surface of parts. This method is highly effective and uses far smaller amounts of organic or chemical cleaning solvents than non-ultrasonic methods; it is used frequently in industries that require precision-cleaned parts such as medical, surgical, dental, automotive, electrical, aerospace and defense. Rotary drum washers are neither spray washers nor immersion washers, but use instead the technique of rotary tumbling and mass abrasion that tumblers use to wash, rinse, dry and sometimes coat or paint mass quantities of small parts. Industrial fasteners are often cleaned, coated and dried in large rotary tumblers; different sections of the rotating cylinder spray, rinse and dry the fasteners, and the abrasive action of the fasteners tumbling against each other agitates off dirt with the help of overhead spray nozzles. Aqueous parts cleaners have traditionally used chemical solvents to strip parts of grease and dirt during the cleaning process, but recent environmental concerns and regulations have encouraged the innovation of natural, non-chemically based solvents. Ultrasonic washers use the lowest amount of solvent and can be made effective with either chemical or organic solvent compounds. Recent innovations have introduced several organic solvent compounds to the parts washing industry, and more manufacturers are incorporating organic solvents and waste-reducing techniques into their manufacturing processes. Aqueous parts washing is a market that maintains a high level of innovation as advances in industrial technology require more stringent levels of precision cleanliness.
Biggest Benefits of Aqueous Part Washers
Parts washers are an integral piece of equipment for manufacturing and automotive businesses. These machines help clean process equipment. Part washing systems ultimately lead to superior performance of the industrial machinery they clean. There are a variety of part washers available on the market; some of which are: aqueous cleaning systems, solvent cleaning systems, small parts washers, spray washers, automatic parts washers, and drum washers. All these devices have different features and functions; however, one feature is common to all—aiding machine operators to clean and upkeep the equipment they use.
Aqueous parts washers employ pH neutral (or alkaline, water-based) solutions that potentially remove dirt and other pollutants from surface of the parts of machines. Semi-aqueous part cleaners are also available and can be used for effective laundering of small parts. The semi system utilizes small amounts of solvents, saving big on cleaning solvent cost.
The reason why aqueous parts washers are a great utility for most industrial cleaning operations is the technique these machines follow. The devices use hot water and detergents plus mechanical energy to remove particulates and disinfect the part surfaces to optimize the production routine. The biggest benefit of these water-based cleaners is their safety features. Aqueous part washers do not use petroleum-based chemicals or solvents. That means there is no risk of catching flames and ignite a serious hazard at the facility.
Low-hazardous waste production – In addition to being a less menacing method, these systems do not produce a large amount of dangerous waste. They can be leveraged as a safe solution for production facilities that deal with petroleum and other flammable products.
Limited emission of vapor mist – Smog is a major concern for any production facility. By using aqueous parts cleaning technology, you can minimize smog-causing vapors and aerosol mists and reduce health within your production environments.
Better cleaning – Hot water treatment is more effective than many other conventional cleaning procedures. Warm soapy water can effectively remove rigid dust and fumigate a large number of the pollutants that can have a direct or indirect impact on the quality of the final product.
Longer life of cleaning solution – When you use petroleum-based solutions, you need to ensure safe and airtight storage. Petroleum cleaning solutions are volatile and dry out quickly. Conversely, water-based aqueous cleaners do not present these issues. The life of solution in aqueous part washers is longer than petroleum-based techniques.
Best for light-duty applications – If you need to clean small parts, aqueous technology is the best solution.
Low setup cost – Another benefit of aqueous technology machines is that they do not require heavy investments or large spaces for installation.
Even given these advantages, aqueous parts washing these machines have some inadequacies. The microbial units they contain need a thorough maintenance in to keep the microbes alive. Further, these machines are generally unsuitable for cleaning large machine parts.
How Aqueous Part Washers Help Industrial Manufacturers
Focusing on the ongoing operation of industrial machines that produce your final products, including adequate cleaning and routine maintenance, is a crucial business concern that ensures uninterrupted operations across your facilities. Equipment upkeep ensures that your production machines are working perfectly, smoothly, and with minimal downtime.
Aqueous parts washers and other washing appliances play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and endurance of your machines and the quality of your products. The following descriptions explain how these automatic parts washers help a manufacturing business.
- Improved Production Tolerances
Incorrectness of any machine part can spoil the entire lot, in addition to causing serious harm to your brand image and future sales. Moreover, it can ruin the performance and tolerance of your machine and even cause breakdowns. Parts washers clean all possible debris and help the machine to operate smoothly. Additionally, routine maintenance prevents surface damage that is the most troublesome issue for industrial machines. Using stock materials baskets and ultrasonic baskets can be beneficial in preventing part damage.
- Reduced Scrap Production
Waste products are a constant outcome of any production cycle. These scrap products only add to your production cost. By aligning the maintenance and parts cleaning of your machines, you can reduce the bulk of scrap production, which will allow you to keep your costs under control and save huge margins on your sales. Noticing and fixing the scratches on the parts’ surfaces, and removing the debris, oil and greasy elements, will help you attain this business goal easily.
- No More Production Delays
Production delays are a serious problem in any production facility and can cause drastic delays in your production output, which will eventually, as mentioned above, affect your product sales and brand image. Using parts washing line to clean the parts of your process equipment, you can be sure that no delays are caused due to unclean, soiled parts. Alternatively, you can consider using a customized basket line to avoid scratches and dents that are one of the biggest reasons behind production delays.
- Cost Cutting
Machines and parts that do not receive regular maintenance are prone to frequent repairs. Repairs and replacements of course demand an adjustment in your budget. Utilities like conveyor parts washers, parts cleaning systems, and industrial washers with their dependable performance reduce the need for repeated investment in repairs and replacement of your industrial machines.
Ensuring Safety and Cost Control with Aqueous Parts Washer Systems
Just like other industrial parts washers, the prime job of aqueous cleaning systems is to remove dust, oil, and pollutants from the surface of machine parts. However, the way these devices perform the laundering task is different from other washer types. Aqueous cleaners make use of water, detergent, corrosive agents, and heat to remove debris. Although they are considered relatively safe devices to operate, these machines can be a major threat if they become contaminated beyond regulatory limits. After crossing limits, they are more likely to achieve flash point of more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This factor can make parts cleaning a highly flammable process.
In addition to high heat output, aqueous cleaning systems can pose other safety concerns. Inadequate supervision can lead to aqueous cleaning systems achieving pH level of lower than 2.0 and higher than 12.5 – both having a significant impact on the environment according to guidelines set by the U.S. government.
Minimizing Waste with Aqueous Cleaning Machines
As their name implies, aqueous cleaning machines employ water to bathe machine parts. Manufacturing businesses need to control the amount of water they use in order to adhere to EPS guidelines and keep their water bills under control. If your facility utilizes aqueous cleaning appliances to wash pieces of process equipment, here is a list of activities that you can employ to control water usage:
Use parts washer machines only when truly necessary.
Do not use chlorinated aerosols, such as brake and carburetor solutions, as they can adversely contaminate the outlet supply and cause the need for proper filtration.
Install a filtration system ahead of the inlet supply on the part washer machine. This system will increase the span of the cleaning solution being used.
Make sure that no taps or supply pipes are open before cleaning. All input lines should be kept closed and turned off when not in use. Adequately drying the machine parts also keeps airborne contaminants away from the solution.
Checking the Toxicity of the Cleaning Solution
To ensure the safety of your final manufacturing products and your workers during production and cleaning routines, you need to keep a track of how hazardous the cleaning solution becomes. Several part washing systems are sold with the promise of being non-toxic ornon-hazardous. However, over a period of time and after several parts washing cycles, these “safe” solutions become a potential threat to machines and people. Cleaning solutions become increasingly toxic and high in metal-bearing oils and greasy elements.
Using the following methods to control the level of toxins in a cleaning solution:
Never let the flash point level cross the 140 degree Fahrenheit level. At this point, the solution becomes inflammable.
Maintain a record of tests performed on parts washing machinery. Also, keep an eye on the level of rising toxins.
Change the filter to ensure that the cleaning solution is kept separate from possible contaminants.
Follow maintenance guidelines to properly store and dispose of the waste/discarded solution.
Ultrasonic Cleaning with Aqueous Parts Washers
Aqueous cleaning has been used for many different cleaning methods, but none has proven to be so effective as ultrasonic cleaning. Ultrasonic aqueous parts washers provide many benefits over traditional hand washing or even solvent cleaning methods.
Most ultrasonic cleaning methods can provide many benefits, including a 5-7 minute wash that cleans and dries the parts in a single step. This fast cleaning method can save thousands of dollars a year over other cleaning methods- sometimes up to $20,000 per year or more for most factories and businesses. An ultrasonic machine can also clean parts much faster and in larger batches than hand washing, which can lead to other cost savings.
Ultrasonic systems are surprisingly effective over other cleaning methods. Spray cleaners are inefficient at reaching all the crevices and parts of varying parts and pieces. Some factories are able to increase their cleaning potential by 200 percent or more with the implementation of aqueous cleaners.
Another benefit of the system is the low dissipation, low porosity, and high density. This helps improve the performance of the products and minimize the wear and tear on the parts. This can benefit a company in ways that are beyond the initial improved cleanliness and initial cost savings.
Any company looking to save money, energy, and green their business can benefit from the addition of ultrasonic aqueous parts washers. These washers work in industries ranging from the automotive industry to the parts manufacturing industry.