As Clean as Necessary, as Economical as Possible
Solutions for Parts and Surface Cleaning in Manufacturing and MRO Processes
Whether injection nozzles, implants, turbines, micro-parts or electronics components are involved – in nearly all industry sectors, manufacturing companies are required to fulfil significantly stricter requirements for parts cleanliness. On the one hand, this leads to increased cleaning costs. To be on the safe side, the solution of choice is frequently “as clean as possible”. But economic efficiency, and thus the company’s competitive edge, usually suffer as a result. Parts and surface cleanliness is playing a more and more important role in the field of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) as well. In many cases, manual cleaning work is still common in this area. Apart from the lack of reproducibility and reliable results associated with this process, it also results in high costs.
In the areas of industrial manufacturing as well as MRO, costs can be reduced and results can be optimised through the use of an appropriate cleaning concept which is matched to the specified requirements. This, however, necessitates knowledge regarding the performance capabilities of the various cleaning processes and how they can be used in an optimised fashion. As a technical trade fair with the world’s most comprehensive offerings for parts and surface cleaning, parts2clean provides this know-how, and will be held at the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre (Germany) from the 25th through the 27th of October, 2011.
Requirements-Oriented Cleaning in the Manufacturing Process
Depending upon the degree of completion within the manufacturing process, cleaning tasks vary in parts production from rough or intermediate, right on up to micro-cleaning. However, the respectively relevant parameters such as component geometry, material, degree of contamination and cleanliness requirements are usually known. In consideration of the respective technical and economic aspects, this makes it possible to select the best possible solution from the great variety of available processes. For example, this could be a wet chemical process which makes use of an aqueous cleaning agent or a solvent. These are used frequently as a decentralised solution for intermediate cleaning, for example immediately after a machining process. Amongst other advantages, the mixing of various processing media is thus avoided as a result, which may lead to later cleaning problems and, consequently, higher costs. Advances in the field of cleaning media allow for increased economic efficiency, environmental compatibility and shorter processing times. Media treatment also influences cleaning process quality and costs to a considerable extent. Effective filtration and separating systems (e.g. oil traps, particle filters, membrane filters and water treatment) contribute to extended bath service lives and reduced disposal costs.
Cleaning technologies such as high pressure water jet systems and dry cleaning methods including CO2 and plasma cleaning, as well as blasting and vibration processes, are frequently used for cleaning individual parts. They generally provide for high degrees of automation, which simplifies in-line cleaning within the production process. Depending on the task, combinations of various cleaning technologies can also be taken advantage of, for example where functional surfaces need to cleaner than the rest of the workpiece for a downstream manufacturing step.
Cleaning in MRO Processes – a Constituent of Maintenance and Repair
Where cleaning processes in the field of MRO are concerned, maintaining or restoring the appearance, functionality and efficiency of machines and equipment is at the centre of attention on the one hand. On the other hand, contamination, as well as functional or protective coatings, i.e. carbon deposits or paint, have to be removed from parts and components. General conditions such as accessibility and composition of the respective type of contamination are not always known. The selection of a suitable cleaning process is not only rendered more difficult as a result, there are also fewer requirements-oriented solutions available for cleaning tasks in MRO processes. Available processes which allows for efficient cleaning in this area include, for example, dry ice blasting, dry steam compressed air cleaning, cleaning with saturated water vapour and ultrasonic cleaning. Special cleaning agents are available for the implementation of wet chemical processes. These technologies often make it possible to clean components and systems without any dismantling and reassembly. Furthermore, negative influences on employee health and the environment, as well as damage to the components to be cleaned and surrounding attachments (i.e. scratches, deformation or excessive wear), which frequently occur during manual work procedures, are avoided.
In addition to information offered by the exhibitors, the parts2clean expert forum, held in German, provides lots of know-how regarding parts and surface cleaning in production and MRO processes. Further information and a preliminary exhibitor list are available at www.parts2clean.com.
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