Clean and Be Seen
Most shops I visit have a parts cleaning operation. Customers increasingly demand clean, burr-free and dry parts from their suppliers and go so far as to write those demands into the specification. However, many shops seem to place a lower priority on their cleaning operations by under-investing in available technology. Perhaps this is because parts cleaning is considered a cost—a non-value added operation. But so is measurement and inspection, which ironically can often be found in “clean” rooms. This is not true for parts cleaning. Generally, the aqueous, degreaser or ultrasonic equipment is tucked away in a far back corner of the shop. I have encountered some shops that have begun to realize consistently meeting clean part specs for their customers makes sense, and by reducing returns is indeed a value add. They’ve taken parts cleaning out of the corner and into the process flow. We’ve written some articles on these enlightened shops and the technology they use, including “Improved Parts Cleaning Technology Leads to Environmental Compliance," "Clean Up Your Act With An Aqueous Parts Cleaning System," and "Parts Cleaning in a Vacuum."
Outward appearance is often considered a strong indication of what can be expected of the final product. That’s why this shop goes the extra mile to look good in all areas of its business.
Cleaning is loosely defined as the process of removing unwanted contaminants or dirt from a surface. It does not alter the surface physically or chemically. A properly cleaned surface is just the same as it was prior to cleaning, except it is missing the dirt.
After trying an array of parts cleaning methods over the years, this shop has implemented an environmentally friendly, relatively simple system to clean every part it produces.