Case Studies: Ecolink at Work for Manufacturing
- Precision Parts Cleaning
Diamond lapping, carbide parts cleaning
- Assembly Line Production Cleaning
Hand wipe of wood surfaces prior to painting
- Pharmaceutical Industry Process Cleaning
Wax removal from suture racks
- Assembly Line Production Cleaning
Removal of machining oil from metal brushes
- Ultrasonic Production Cleaning
Removal of machining and polishing soils from metal parts
Problem — A major manufacturer of precision carbide parts experienced an unacceptable rejection rate at final inspection due to soil contamination. Residual lapping compound still remained on parts after cleaning in a commercial aqueous cleaning solution.
Solution — Ecolink reviewed the process and developed a new cleaning strategy. Ecolink recommended using ultrasonic cleaning equipment in conjunction with Ecolink’s HEAVYWEIGHT non-butyl detergent.
Result — In combination with a bank of immersion cleaning tanks retrofitted with ultrasonics, this low surface tension aqueous cleaner easily penetrates into blind holes. The result: 100% removal of the target soils. The rejection rate of manufactured parts has been reduced to near zero.
Savings — By virtually eliminating rejection and rework, the savings paid for the process improvements in less than one year and will yield significant cash savings in subsequent years.
Problem — For years, this large fabricated window manufacturer relied on lacquer thinner to clean grease and process soils from machined wood components prior to painting. The high-volume use of lacquer thinner had become a health risk due to its toluene, xylene and ethyl benzene content.
Solution — Ecolink studied the target soils in question and discovered that because they were non-polar, they could easily remove with one of Ecolink’s aggressive non-polar solvents. After shop trials, VORTEX was chosen because of its excellent cleaning ability and very low toxicity.
Result —Lacquer thinner, a hazardous solvent blend, was replaced with an environmentally preferred alternative. Cleaning time was reduced thanks to the superior Kb value (solvency) of VORTEX.
Additional Benefits — Because line workers are now confident that all target soils are being removed more quickly, production throughput has increased while worker complaints about solvent exposure have been eliminated.
Problem — This large pharmaceutical device manufacturer immerses racks wound with suture into liquid wax and then cures the waxed sutures. After removing the finished product, this company was using methylene chloride to remove the cured wax that built up on the suture racks after immersions.
Solution — Ecolink’s SAFE STRIP is an environmentally preferred alternative to methylene chloride and ketone solvents. SAFE STRIP quickly and easily removed the cured wax build up without harming the metal substrate of the racks (which would be problem with caustic cleaners). SAFE STRIP, heated to 140 degrees F, proved to be aggressive enough to remove the contaminants just as quickly as the chlorinated solvent, insuring smooth production runs.
Result — The manufacturing operation has eliminated 100% of its methylene chloride use, and no longer has to report TRI emissions of this toxic chemical. Because of SAFE STRIP’s comparatively low volatility, the facility uses much less SAFE STRIP.
Problem — Prior to a critical bonding process, this manufacturer used 1,1,1 TCA to degrease wire brushes and to remove lubricating oils and fine metal particles. When 1,1,1 TCA was phased out of production, the manufacturer was challenged to find a replacement that would not result in emissions of a more toxic solvent. Flammability was also a concern, as the process is performed in an area that contains potential ignition sources.
Solution — Based on our work with other manufacturers Ecolink recommended QED quick-dry critical hand wipe solvent. QED’s balance of good solvency and rapid evaporation with a comparatively high flashpoint allowed users to successfully migrate away from 1,1,1 TCA without compromising product quality or production time.
Result — Elimination of 1,1,1 was achieved ahead of the phase out. No additional equipment was required to implement this near drop-in replacement.
Problem — A producer of instruments and process control devices needed to clean stainless steel and Inconel parts in their manufacturing process. The specific problem is to clean machined parts after machining, deburring, polishing etc. The parts are cleaned manually in tubs and then they are put in small heated ultrasonic tanks.
Solution — Riptide was found to be an excellent cleaner for this application. Not only is Riptide aggressive enough to remove the tough soils, it is gentle enough for the workforce to handle the parts with or without protective gloves.
Result — Riptide not only provided a safe and effective way to clean these high value parts, it has now been implemented by the maintenance department for their parts cleaner and also for general cleaning of floors and walls.