Following significant growth in production at Brompton Bicycles, the company needed a parts washing system that could manage the high-volume cleaning requirement at the factory. Brompton approached Tewkesbury-based MecWash to create a cleaning system that could cope with their specific and rigorous demands, a system that could clean the raw materials before brazing and still be adept at cleaning the finished components machined for the bicycle frame.
After consultation with the MecWash team, Brompton ordered the MecWash Solo 600 due to its effectiveness in cleaning preservative oils, machining lubricants, metal swarf and chips from machined components.
Christopher Glover, Manufacturing Engineer at Brompton, comments: “We contacted MecWash as they could create a system that could cope with the requirements at Brompton.
“One of the main selling points of the machine was the bespoke main frame fixturing that the design team came up with. It is our largest component which previously had no wash requirement. We then updated our machining processes to increase part quality, but this meant that we would now have to wash our largest component, which the Solo enabled.”
Christopher Glover, Manufacturing Engineer at Brompton, with the Solo 600
Paul Jarratt, sales manager at MecWash, said: “Brompton had specific requirements for their system. The Solo parts washer far outperforms traditional dunk washers, rotary basket, and tunnel washers for cleanliness and effective drying. The powerful rotational washing and hot air drying in a compact footprint provided the cleaning functions that Brompton required.”
Christopher Glover continued: “The Solo removes contaminants, including coolant and swarf, which were traditionally quite challenging. Since using the Solo 600, we have seen a drastic increase in capacity which has improved the efficiency of our process.
“The Solo 600 can clean both our large and smaller sized components in any combination of stacked fixtures. Our larger, more awkward fixtures fit easily in the 600x600 opening at the front. A further benefit has been the Health & Safety improvement, with far less lifting required from the team.”
The MecWash Aqua-Save system also reduces downtime by continually recycling the wash water to keep it at its optimum condition. It continuously recovers and re-uses the wash water in the parts cleaning system so the need for disposal is significantly reduced. Water quality is maintained throughout production ensuring that parts exit the system in a clean condition, without contamination with oily residues.
The only effluent resulting from the Aqua-Save is a concentrated waste, consisting of the oils, emulsions and soluble waste washed from dirty components, which represents typically less than 5% of the total water volume. Brompton’s continual investment in green technology is at the centre of the company’s ethos.
John Pattison, managing director at MecWash, said: “We were confident that the Solo parts cleaning system would be a great fit for Brompton. The high cleanliness specifications combined with the requirements for improved speed and efficiency.
“They are a fantastic company with a world-renowned brand and have become a standard-bearer for manufacturing in this country. The installation of the Solo 600 at Brompton has helped to create a simple, and effective cleaning process, and to reduce the risk of injury to the staff.”
Brompton is Britain's biggest bicycle manufacturer and have established the company as worldwide leaders in the manufacturing of folding bicycles. In the 1970’s, Brompton founder Andrew Ritchie designed the prototype for his folding bike, and ever since, Brompton has built its reputation around highly engineered folding city bikes that can be carried on to buses and trains.
It has become one of the country’s fastest growing manufacturers, a great example of how design and technology-intensive products can be made profitably in the UK and achieve global success, with successful stores in Tokyo and New York.
The ambitious and forward-thinking company is set to build a new £100 million factory in the UK, due to open in 2027. Currently, Brompton are based in their West London factory in Greenford, with a welding division in Sheffield. The welding division create the titanium framesets that are welded using TIG in the specialist Sheffield factory.
All Brompton core products are built by hand, and are assembled using brazing. Brompton’s’ processes include CNC machining and automatic brazing, as well as the hand brazing that the company is famous for.
For further information about MecWash Systems Limited please visit mecwash.com or call 01684 271600 to discuss your parts cleaning requirements.
The Solo 600 on the Brompton factory floor