The best industrial machine for metal cleaning is the one that allows to reach the cleaning requirements by respecting the configuration of the treated components.
The concept of component configuration concerns:
- the level of complexity of the geometry of the parts;
- the type of material with which the parts are made;
- the quantity and type of contaminants to be removed.
Addressing the “cleanliness requirements” factor by analyzing more in-depth contaminants
To achieve the predetermined cleaning results (according to the standards of each industrial sector) it is necessary to study the contaminants present on the surface of the metal components.
In principle, the contaminant particles are extremely small in size.
Pollen grains and other similar residues are about 30 microns in diameter but there are some dirt particles that are 15 microns or less in diameter.
On the basis of this information, an appropriate filtering system must be chosen that allows to reduce the quantity of these contaminating particles, in particular those that are deposited or redeposited on the components:
Moisture, capillary forces and the fluids used during metal production favor the occurrence of this condition.
According to some official data, the maximum number of particles with a size equal to or less than 25 microns has been reduced by a factor of ten, but not all companies are able to meet this requirement due to the difficulty of finding alternative materials that can be used during the various processes.
To limit the amount of contaminants it is necessary to act on the source of contamination itself and do everything possible to reduce it.
Who / what is responsible for the contaminant particles
Particles of contaminants are often produced by upstream machining processes, see grinding, sandblasting and polishing.
In these cases the cleaning agent must be respectful of the metal alloy of the treated component and, at the same time, must be energetic in removing contaminants from the surface without altering it, preparing the component for other non-abrasive processes such as heat treatments and welding. .
Often these activities are part of the primary processes of the component production process, so they cannot be eliminated: managing the level of residues produced remainsthe only solution.
It is possible to identify other “sources of particle production” related to the component washing environment:
- ventilation ducts located near the part washing machine;
- proximity to other workstations where residues and dust are produced during operations;
- the presence of dirt in the environment where the components are stored;
- the movement of components from the cleaning area to test areas.
Finally, there may be inadequacies in the production processes, those of tests or in the environment itself.
Think for example of a laboratory where the ventilation system is not adequate and which is located near the machines used in the production process. The risk of contamination of the components with residues of dirt and other similar particles increases when the personnel carrying out the various tests do not wear, in addition to gloves, suitable and sterile clothing.
Water washing systems and solvent washing systems: what changes when the company needs to treat different components
In washing systems that use water technology, the washing agent is chosen based on the type of metal, to be sure to use the correct product in terms of acidity, neutrality and alkalinity.
Everything goes the “right way” when the type of metal treated is only one.
When the need to wash components of different materials emerges, various incompatibilities emerge and problems such as corrosion .
For example, specific additives that modify the surface of metals are added to the aqueous matrix detergent to clean the components being ground.
Unfortunately, the added additives often make the detergent too aggressive.
If used correctly, however, solvents are compatible with all types of metals.
The use of solvents is strongly recommended:
- when the parts have complex geometries and small dimensions: thanks to the lower viscosity and the low surface tension it penetrates into the tightest spaces, eliminating dirt and evaporating at the end of cleaning;
- to reduce the problem of humidity inherent in aqueous detergents which increases the likelihood of corrosion when the piece is not dried properly;
- to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination (to be particularly kept under control when the components are intended for the medical sector).
The company must therefore:
- how the washing system being evaluated cleans the metal parts and optimizes the surrounding environment accordingly;
- make sure that the same system allows is able to guarantee a final cleaning result that meets the industry standards and, obviously, the customer’s needs.
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