Parts Washing by RAMCO: The Industry that Industries Depend On
Virtually everything we use in our daily lives is made of parts. Cars, houses, lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners. Even something as simple as a jar consists of three parts: the glass container, the lid, and the label. Everywhere in the world, from the automotive industry to construction to aerospace to medical, to optics, to agriculture and many more, the use of heavy machinery and complex technology require routine maintenance and superior cleaning of all component parts. Even newly fabricated components that have never been used must undergo parts washing be free of all the artifacts that remain from the parts’ manufacture before they can be put to use.
While all parts washing machines serve one function – to clean parts – they vary greatly in size and configuration in order to accommodate and safely treat the specific parts that need cleaning. Every attribute of the parts themselves must be taken into account in order to avoid surface or internal damage as well as to avoid compromising the part’s intended purpose. A given part’s shape, size, weight, surface characteristics, the presence of grooves, holes or etching and more have to be factored in when choosing the proper machine and cleaning methods.
RAMCO’s CM72ESS with OR8
Most parts washers share basic features in common. The machine consists of an enclosure/cabinet which can vary in size and shape, a heater, pump, filtration apparatus, and a method of mechanical agitation. Most parts washing systems fall into one of two categories relative to the cleaning agents: they are either aqueous (water-based) or solvent-based.
Solvent Cleaning Agents
Solvents known as “oil eaters” are non-acidic and function well for parts that need degreasing. When washing part ultrasonic units, the cleaning agents are used to either a) emulsify contaminants where they remain suspended in the tank or b) demulsify contaminants which are then drained after the process is complete and the tank is washed out. The cleaning agents for these procedures may include enzymatic solutions, strong or mild alkaline solutions, deionized water, acid-based solutions or neutral solutions.
Aqueous Cleaning Agents
Water-based cleaning agents are generally non-toxic, nonflammable, non-irritant and ph neutral. They normally take the form of mild detergents, heated to specific temperatures and emitted by power nozzles or jet sprayers. In response to the growing concern for the environmental impact, many of the cleaning agents are now biodegradable while still being highly effective for removing oils, dirt, grease, grime and unwanted chemical residues.
The basic principle behind all parts washing methods is to apply mechanical energy in one form or another. As opposed to letting parts passively soak in a cleaning solution, mechanical energy in the form of oscillation significantly accelerates the parts washing process. Arguably the simplest configuration of mechanical energy is the agitation used for platform oscillation. Platform Oscillation is recommended primarily for industrial parts that are simple – free of complex surface features such as blind holes, undercutting, grooves, etc.
Placing the parts on a flat surface and agitating this surface allows the parts to repeatedly move through chemical cleaning agent. In so doing, layers of grime and other contaminants are effectively removed. So too, with the mechanical energy of every oscillation, the cleaning solution itself washes detergent and admixtures off the parts’ surfaces while administering new, uncontaminated cleaners that go to work on the previously hidden layers of dirt that are now exposed.
While many companies advocate the introduction of underwater compressed air apparatus in conjunction with platform oscillation, we at RAMCO do not recommend it. Compressed air will frequently dilute the strength of the cleaning agent, yielding substandard outcomes. Simple agitation with or without solution turbulation, when done correctly, will clean parts efficiently.
Machine Maintenance – RAMCO Stays Out in Front
Just as industrial parts must have routine maintenance, the sophisticated machines that do the washing require regular checks and upkeep in order to keep them running safely and at peak efficiency. The machines themselves must be meticulously cleaned and in some cases partially disassembled in order to clean their parts. Some machines, particularly those that undergo heavy usage necessitate a weekly cleaning regimen.
Filters must be examined for contaminant buildup that can cause blockages. How often they need to be changed out for new ones is dependent upon the type and frequency of usage. In some cases, filter life can be extended by pre-cleaning any parts that need to be washed prior to going into the washer itself.
All controls for RAMCO parts washers are accessible for ease of maintenance.
Many parts washers, particularly those that use powerful agitation, are subject to the movement that agitation causes. They must be checked regularly for position to ensure they remain stable and stay leveled. Pneumatic cylinders can wear out requiring change out and downtime. In this regard, the RAMCO patented Floating Cylinder greatly reduces maintenance. And our controlled motion CM tank and elevator greatly reduces stress to the structural members using a unique design. The tank bottom is welded onto I beam. The rear wall, external structural angles and tank bottom are welded together to form a unitized fabrication that transfers load forces to the floor.
Many companies that depend on RAMCO parts washers have been using the same machines for decades due to one precept: expert engineering designed to reduce maintenance and maximize production. This is how RAMCO stays out in front of maintenance regimens for all customers.
Join the hundreds of industries that depend on RAMCO’s parts washing systems. Contact our factory: 800-553-3650.