How To Cost-Effectively Clean Machined Parts & Be Kind To The Planet
In many high-volume production applications, the customer may demand that parts be thoroughly cleaned of any cutting oil, chips or other debris prior to delivery. In some cases, water-based cleaning agents may suffice. However, many complex parts and those made from metals that don’t react well to aqueous cleaning require the use of hydrocarbon or modified alcohol solvents. These chemicals, of course, can have serious environmental and worker safety issues if not used properly.
Fortunately, modern vacuum parts washers internally recycle solvents using a distillation process which protects users and the environment, while recapturing and reusing the cleaning agents.
While this method reduces the cost of using solvent-based cleaning agents, simply immersing parts in a cleaning bath may not be effective enough in all cases. This is particularly true of parts with ID threads, blind holes and cross holes. For this reason, it’s wise to select a vacuum cleaning system with a variety of cleaning options in addition to immersion, including:
- High-pressure sprays to mechanically force debris from holes and other hiding places.
- Agitating and tumbling parts within the cleaning chamber to shake loose contaminants.
- Ultrasound technology that uses high frequencies to produce tiny bubbles that implode upon striking the surface of a part to gently remove debris.
- The ability to combine any of these cleaning methods into a program for each specific type of part, that can be called up as needed.
Because the system vacuums air out of the cleaning chamber, the parts are washed in a sealed environment free from airborne dust, cutting oil or other contaminants. Plus, the system not only recaptures and reuses cleaning solutions, but eliminates the cost of disposing of spent solvents or aqueous cleaning agents.