Aqueous Degreasing Technology from MecWash brings major turned parts production benefits

The benefits of aqueous degreasing from MecWash Systems Ltd., the UK’s leading component cleaning system manufacturer, are now being fully realised at specialist turned parts manufacturer, Rowan Precision. The company produces a wide range of turned and milled parts from 0.5 mm to 85 mm diameter in all materials and plastics and is achieving the highest levels of cleaning excellence – with none of the potential problems that can be associated with solvent cleaning.

A single MecWash Aqueous Vapour Degreaser (AVD) unit is now the focus through which the full range of parts produced at Rowan Precision’s Birmingham factory pass. The cleaning system design is centred on rotational spray/flood washing, rinsing and ultrasonics that together create a powerful cleaning process to remove all types of soils. This achieves very high standards of cleanliness on precision-machined components – in some cases surpassing those seen with solvent-based systems.

Contamination is broken down and removed in just minutes before high velocity hot air drying, which also benefits from variable temperature control, then ensures that parts exit the AVD unit in a dry condition. The particular focus at Rowan Precision is on swarf and machining oils – including neat cutting fluids – the removal of which is also aided by the use of MecWash AC32 multi-metal cleaning chemical. The overall result sees the company able to use just the single cleaning system for its full range of materials including aluminium, brass, steel and plastics.

In each case, parts are placed in a pair of stainless steel baskets – which include different mesh sizes – or plastic containers, all of which have also been supplied by MecWash. Many of the baskets and containers also feature individual compartments that allow sensitive parts to benefit from rotational washing without any risk of metal-to-metal contact. The variety of products also calls for extensive system flexibility, which is achieved via the availability of 20 programmes – all accessible through a user-friendly operator display. This controls the wash processes as well as drum rotation and oscillation.

“The flexibility of the system is very important because of the diverse range of products and customer requirements,” comments Rowan Precision’s Director, Martin Barker, who points out that orders can comprise anything from 100 to 1 million units.

“The decision to install the MecWash system has not only overcome the environmental issues associated with solvent cleaning but has also eliminated the need for regular cleaning of the wash system,” he adds. “We also specified the unit with a free standing Aqua-Save Junior waste water recycling system which has enhanced our environmental performance.” The Aqua-Save system, from the dedicated Aqua-Save Technologies division at MecWash Systems, ensures that only a small amount of waste product needs to be removed periodically from site.

Overall, the design of the MecWash installation helps Rowan Precision meet increasingly stringent requirements from customers – including many in aerospace, medical and electronics – who demand not only excellent results but also environmentally responsible procedures. In some cases, points out Martin Barker, customers have even been able to minimise their own in-house cleaning requirements because of the cleanliness of the products now being produced by his company.

“The installation in Birmingham demonstrates all of the key benefits associated with the AVD technology,” comments MecWash Director, Paul Young. “Apart from the cleaning capability, the ability of the system to handle the variety of materials used by Rowan Precision is also critical as is the flexibility of the programming system.

“Results have already shown it to be a highly effective step taken by the customer and we are delighted to be able to contribute to Rowan Precision’s commitment to maintaining the highest levels of quality production both now and in the future,” he concludes.