Page 13 - MetalForming March 2019
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  without damaging parts. In addition, employing the new system and new fluid reportedly has delivered a 50-percent annual reduction in usage of cleaning fluid, with 75 percent more parts cleaned.
For 30 years prior to the switch, LCS Co. used TCE and a vapor spray degreaser to clean parts prior to shipping. TCE, an established and inexpensive solvent, cleaned very well. However, in recent years TCE has been proven to be a car- cinogen and is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) watch list as a health hazard to humans and the envi- ronment. The LCS management team, concerned for employee safety and well- being, sought an upgrade to a better cleaning process and cleaning fluid.
Blackstone from DGB Sales recom- mended upgrading the company’s cleaning equipment from an open-top vapor spray machine to a new submersible vapor degreaser that allows parts to be dunked, soaked, cleaned and dried in one opera- tion. LCS Co. chose a 9-sq.-ft., 125-gal. model with cooling, working-mode cover and super-heat systems.
Also, Blackstone initially recommended a fluorinated, nonflammable fluid for use with the new degreaser. Though safer to use and more environmentally friendly, that formulation was costly. LCS Co. looked for a more economical alternative that worked just as well, if not better.
Blackstone then recommended Micro- Care Tergo MCF, a formulation new to the market. Testing confirmed efficacy and LCS Co. chose the new cleaner.
Specializing in electric-motor lamina- tions and with about 80 percent of its parts featuring special electrical coatings, company personnel noticed that sprayed TCE would soften the coating, causing the tightly racked and stacked parts to stick together. This problem required addi- tional labor to pry the parts apart and then to re-inspect and re-clean them if necessary. Tergo MCF, with its low surface tension and low viscosity, cleaned all part surfaces without damaging the substrate or coating.
“Since installing the new vapor degreas- er and the Tergo MCF fluid, it’s like the
stars aligned,” says Schmidt. “We’re degreasing more than we ever have before.”
With the new cleaning fluid, LCS Co. no longer must submit National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants reports twice per year. Also, the fluid is accepted by the Significant New Alternatives Program, created by the EPA to ensure
that new chemicals do not harm the stratospheric ozone layer. Plus, the company reports a smooth recent OSHA inspection of its vapor degreaser operations.
“We are very happy and proud to be ahead in the regulatory ball game when it comes to safety and compliance,” Schmidt says.
Tech Update
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