Page 22 - MetalForming March 2011
P. 22

Powerful Cleaning
 manufacturing processes.
Ironically, Thomas Erie has had cus-
tomers reject parts for being too clean. In these cases, the company must process the stamped parts so that they retain a slight oil coating—but not too heavy a coating as to cause the parts to pick up dirt or prevent the customer from printing on the parts. It is a deli- cate balance: clean, but not too clean.
So, in addition to other require-
ments, when Thomas Erie recently went in search of a new parts-cleaning system, it specified a process that could result in “semi-clean” parts that would allow the parts to move smoothly through automated assembly processes.
Out with the Old
Thomas Erie entered the market for its new parts-cleaning system late in 2008, to replace its perchloroethylene-
based system. That system’s distilla- tion requirements allowed it to run only 16 hr. out of a 24-hr. day—8 hr. were required for the machine’s distil- lation process in preparation for the next day, an unacceptable amount of downtime to meet Thomas Erie’s capacity requirements. And, the sys- tem was providing inconsistent results. Operators would have to stop a partic- ular production process or stop the parts-cleaning machine and re-distill the cleaning solution, possibly delaying production and delivery.
While shopping to replace the aging system, Thomas Erie sought not only a system that could meet the “semi- clean” specification, but also an envi- ronmentally friendly system, even though an aqueous washing system had previously proven ineffective for its parts-cleaning needs.
Lastly, the company hoped to reduce energy consumption and the amount of waste produced from its parts-cleaning processes, while boost- ing capacity.
In with the New
The solution for Thomas Erie: a Dürr Ecoclean Universal 71C solvent-based parts-cleaning system, which uses non- halogenated hydrocarbons as clean- ing media. This setup allows the safe and economical use of solvents for removing oils, greases, emulsions and swarf between or after manufacturing processes. Thanks to its many different process variants using hot or cold immersion with downline vapor degreasing, Thomas Erie’s new parts- cleaning machine has proven ideal for meeting its requirements related to quality and functionality.
The new cleaning system boasts dual work chambers for increased capacity and an automatic feed option that the company can integrate later when it installs a planned conveyor system to further automate cleaning operations. The workpiece baskets at Thomas Erie feed automatically into the first work chamber available, sim- plifying and streamlining operations.
According to Morphy, the Dürr
MetalForming/March 2011

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