New MecWash Duo aqueous component cleaning system - helping precision engineering specialist meet SED objectives

High quality component cleaning and drying coupled with an enhancement of environmental performance are now being enjoyed on the south coast at Picross Precision Engineering Co. Ltd. One of the leading companies in its field, the organisation undertakes both commercial production and laboratory-based research activities and is among the first to benefit from the new MecWash Duo component cleaning system. It is already reporting excellent results from the installation, which has not only become a key element in its manufacturing processes, but is also helping to meet solvent replacement objectives - at the heart of the Solvents Emissions Directive compliance.

"We have developed the Duo to offer the optimum combination of washing, rinsing and drying capability in a 'value for money', highly compact and energy efficient unit," comments MecWash Systems Director, Paul Young. "The versatility of the design allows Picross Precision Engineering to clean a wide range of parts, as required in the general sub-contract engineering industry, thereby meeting precise customer requirements. As a result, we understand that it is providing a level of aqueous cleaning quality and throughput that has not been possible in the past."

He also points out that the installation of the Duo has removed a production bottle-neck which arose from the mixture of small tanks, solvent equipment and the need for manual input at the site. In turn, this has significantly reduced the time involved for cleaning - thereby allowing inspection and other duties to be conducted more efficiently.

David Patfield is Managing Director at Eastbourne-based Picross Precision Engineering and draws attention to the importance of quality cleaning within this production process -

"Our success over more than three decades has been based on our ability to provide a versatile and comprehensive development and manufacturing service to our customers, " he says, "and component cleaning has therefore always been high on the agenda.

"Previously, we focused in the main on solvent-based systems but now with the MecWash Duo 400, we are not only producing excellent results, but also reducing operating costs and enhancing our environmental performance. The latter is particularly significant both from our own stand-point and also because this is becoming an increasingly important performance measure used by our customers."

A wide range of materials from aluminium and steel to titanium and hastelloy, are processed by Picross Precision Engineering through a number of machining stations located at key points on site. The cutting oils used and swarf that is inevitably produced both need to be fully removed from each component - a requirement that is now being comprehensively met by the MecWash Duo.

"Apart from the environmental benefits arising from the replacement of a solvent system with the aqueous MecWash design, we have also specified an Aqua-Save Junior from the company as part of the installation," continues David Patfield.

"This is a mobile unit that connects directly to the Duo and, using a process of evaporation, continually recycles the wash and rinse water. This leaves only 5% of the original volume as concentrated waste for off-site disposal. Clean water is then returned to the wash system to help maintain high levels of cleaning performance whilst significantly reducing the need for draining, cleaning, maintenance and disposal. We are also actively investigating other opportunities for the Aqua-Save in our factory, including the treatment of waste coolants and floor moppings that are currently stored and tankered away," David Patfield adds.

Based on the well-established MecWash design of a rotating drum, within which components are held either in baskets or in tailored fixtures, the MecWash Duo features twin wash and rinse tanks which allow it to deliver both a high volume flood/immersion wash cycle and a powerful rinse stage. Coupled with a highly effective drying function, parts pass through the Duo according to pre-set programmes with each cycle taking typically no more than 10 minutes.

"Picross Precision Engineering has also specified a larger chamber - some 800 mm in depth - extending its ability to allow the full range of its manufactured components to pass through the cleaning operation," adds Paul Young at MecWash. "As an example therefore of the versatility and the performance capability of our new Duo system - and, more importantly the benefits it offers both to our customer and indeed his own marketplace - we believe the application at Picross Precision Engineering pays an excellent testimony."