7/16/2007 | 3 MINUTE READ

Optimal Parts Cleaning Aids Precision Manufacturing Company

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To achieve higher outputs with CNC machining, Technoturn addressed its parts cleaning problem by using Amsonic’s automatic EGAclean.

Running a successful business is two-fold: Not only does a company have to satisfy its customers, but it has to keep its employees happy as well. To do this, every aspect of a business needs to be explored to ensure that it is being run with the utmost efficiency and quality in mind. Of course, the operators’ safety and productivity must be taken into consideration also.

Technoturn (Hastings, England), a company established in 1997 that currently produces precision turned parts (with diameters of 32 mm to 45 mm) mainly for the automotive industry, was forced to examine such processes when it began achieving higher outputs by investing heavily in CNC machines. In 1998, when CEO Fred Moser found an article about non-stop production using CNC machines, he began the process of investing in this technology.

Because the company began producing more parts at a rapid pace, Technoturn needed to address its parts cleaning problem, specifically cleaning the turned parts that were full of oil and chips after manufacturing. David McIlwain, director of Technoturn, looked for an efficient, fast (6 to 12 minutes on average), economical and environmentally friendly cleaning machine that would use a small amount of solvent consumption (achieved through distillation) and one that keeps parts free of chips, even in recess holes.

The answer to Mr. McIlwain’s problem was to be found in Amsonic’s automatic EGAclean equipment distributed in Great Britain by Haesler Machine Tools. The machine is the result of applied research aimed at eliminating toxic chlorinated solvents (trichloroethylene). “Previously, we were cleaning parts manually with trichloroethylene. The EGAclean machine cleans the parts produced throughout the weekend and is finished by Monday morning. Our customers get clean parts, and we save manpower. The productivity and efficiency of the equipment is exceptionally high,” Mr. McIlwain says. He found only one other hydrocarbon machine on the market, but after comparing the manufacturing quality of the equipment, space requirements and cleaning test results, he chose EGAclean.

The EGAclean 4100, a mono-chamber machine, uses isoparaffin, a non-chlorinated hydrocarbon solvent (A3 type). Unlike trichloroethylene cleaning, it uses immersion cleaning in hot solvent (under a vacuum over the flash-point) with ultrasonics and micro-filtration, contains a vapor phase and vacuum drying. The equipment is encapsulated and operated under a vacuum, which ensures safety.

This cleaning machine’s concept uses the high temperature of isoparaffin to increase oil solvency. The continuous distillation saves solvent and guarantees a constant cleaning quality by separating the oils from the solvent. The isoparaffin efficiency is greater when non-chlorinated oils are used in manufacturing.

The machine has two tanks that are distilled daily, one for pre-cleaning and one for final cleaning. Because of the high-quality distillation, the same solvent can be kept for years, which allows the use of smaller tanks. The distillation sump is compensated with fresh solvent. No stabilizers are needed because the isoparaffin cannot become acidic.

Filtration removes particles as small as 50 micro-meters on the parts. The movement of the basket can vary in speed and mode—static, oscillating or rotating. The basket is chosen with the optimum mesh size in order to separate the chips from the parts.

The process control includes 99 programs and is user friendly. The solvent’s temperature can be varied for specific applications to improve the oil solvency. The Nanofilm of isoparaffin protects the parts against corrosion for approximately 1 month.

The implementation of EGAclean has also allowed the Technoturn to extend new services to its customers by offering plating, CVD and PVD coating, welding and thermic operations.

According to McIlwain, the advantages of using this Amsonic machine are dramatic. “With the previous system, there was toxicity with the trichloroethylene, but now it has been eliminated.” This provides a safer atmosphere for the operator. He adds that the machine has allowed for faster cleaning when compared with the usual manual operation; this, in turn, has saved manpower and solvent with a payback period of approximately 1 year. “Customer satisfaction is now greater. The Amsonic EGAclean has greatly improved the quality of our cleaning process.”

Because of the positive experience with the EGAclean at the Hastings location, Technoturn has purchased a second machine of the same type for its other manufacturing facility.

Previous owner of Amsonic, Inc., Jean-François Fallot’s background is in economics, and he has specialized in surface treatment for 30 years. His interest lies in the development of solvent machines—non-chlorinated—to improve the quality and environmental aspects of cleaning.