High quality component cleaning, within strict temperature constraints, is now being achieved at cable management solutions specialist Hellermann Tyton, as the result of an aqueous-based MecWash Systems cleaning installation. The facility, comprising a MecWash Midi wash system with an integrated Aqua-Save waste water recycling system, is now central to production at the Devon-based company and, critically, it has been configured to avoid the risk of product shrinkage. Lina Ficken, Engineer Team Leader, explains -
"Our manufacturing output includes a wide range of routing and insulation materials designed to provide cable protection for customers in markets both at home and overseas - including the utility, military and automotive sectors," she says. "It is important that, following the expansion process, mouldings are comprehensively cleaned before further handing and assembly processes, not least to remove a silicone coating used during the manufacturing process.
"The cable protection systems are applied by our customers on site via the application of heat which shrinks them into position, so temperature is clearly a factor that needs to be tightly controlled during manufacturing," she continues. "MecWash have been able to configure the cleaning system so that wash temperatures are held at no more than 40°C, which in conjunction with the tailored AC33 chemical solution that the company was able to develop for us, ensures that all material leaves the cleaning process in the optimum condition."
Mouldings of between 2 and 30 cm in length and to a variety of diameters - including the company's acclaimed ‘Heat Shrink Shape' range - are loaded loose after production into stainless steel mesh baskets which have also been supplied by MecWash Systems. With a covering lid holding components securely in position, baskets are then loaded into a rotating drum that is at the heart of the MecWash design. A seven-minute cycle of spray and flood wash, rinsing and drying is then undertaken before products are removed for onward processing.
"MecWash worked closely with the Hellermann Tyton team for many months developing the AC33 chemical, which is formulated to clean the plastic components effectively at low temperatures," explains John Pattison, Managing Director at MecWash Systems. "MecWash's expertise in wash chemistry is based on years of designing tailored chemicals for the most testing wash challenges for individual customers, as well as manufacturing our own range of general wash chemicals and inhibitors.
"Significantly, Hellermann Tyton opted for a built in Aqua-Save waste water recycling system," he adds. "This separates dissolved and emulsified contaminants from the wash and rinse solutions for disposal, with the recycled water returned to the MecWash Midi, which has a significant cost reduction impact on waste disposal," he continues. "Because it is separate from the wash chamber, we can raise the temperature in the Aqua-Save over 80°C, which also has the added benefit of destroying any bacteria that may be present.
"This is clearly a carefully controlled process where cleaning procedures have to be retained within very tight, pre-defined parameters, typically for a full 16 hour double-shift each day," adds John Pattison. "We are delighted to have been able to supply one of the leading company's in the industry with an ideal solution that meets both operational and environmental objectives."