The Schaus-Vorhies companies include metal cleaning amongst our array of services. We boast several methods of cleaning, from brute force sandblasting to our fluidized sand method enabling users to meet your needs whatever they may be. But why is metal cleaning necessary in the first place?
Even fresh from the factory, it is essential to ensure that our products are free from impurities. The process of machining metal of any kind will require the application of various lubricants to the equipment, chemicals used to treat the metal, to say nothing of the many impurities that can get on a piece of equipment just by being in an environment with many activities going on at once. Those chemicals, oils, and greases will leave residue on the final product, which can cause problems down the road. For example, those leftovers can inhibit industrial painting (done at our Paint-Line facility) and bring undesirable agents into highly controlled environments.
Metal cleaning is also important when it comes to rebuilding and refurbishing parts and even whole machines. Nearly all industrial facilities have a robust preventative maintenance program designed to keep their equipment operating for years longer than they otherwise would. In many places, thanks to their extensive maintenance programs, the same equipment has been running for decades. Part of those programs will involve cleaning old parts, removing old grease that has built up over the years, chemicals that might have coated the inside of pipes and valves, and of course, rust and other corrosion products. Depending on their capabilities, these parts can be refurbished on-site or sent off to a dedicated facility such as Schaus-Vorhies Kleaning (SVK) at our Fairfield, IA based plant.
Whether shipping off a brand new product fresh from our manufacturing plant or refurbishing an old but reliable piece of machinery, it is important to make sure that every bit of rust, chemical, and unwanted lubricant is removed before it is sent off to its final destination. If not, it may not work properly when put into service. Improperly operating equipment will lead to production delays, extra hours worked, and missed opportunities, all of which affect our clients’ bottom line. More important still, improperly operating equipment can create safety issues depending on the nature of the deficiency. Keeping all this in mind, SVK is dedicated to meeting and exceeding all of our clients’ expectations in delivering a clean and reliable product.
What are some of our methods of cleaning, and how do they work? Let’s take a look.
Sand-blasting – This is, without a doubt, the most common and straightforward means of industrial metal cleaning. Sand-blasters can be found everywhere from large industrial shops like our own to the humble backyard workshop of the do-it-yourself mechanic. Their method of operation is simple. The blaster uses compressed air to force out finely grained sand. The sand is so fine it feels more like a powder than sand. The compressed air turns the fine grains into tiny projectiles that are great for eating away old grease, rust, or paint (even the many layers of paint that can build up through numerous rounds of beautification). Naturally, this is done inside an enclosed area so that the sand doesn’t get everywhere. This method works well for clients who need something with the rough edges knocked off as quickly and cheaply as possible. It also works well as a preparatory step before more intensive forms of cleaning.
Acid washing – Acids are often used to clean aluminum. These acids make short work of any impurities on the alloy. However, it should still be rinsed thoroughly after the acid treatment to ensure that there is no unwanted residue left. Care should also be taken not to use an acid that is too harsh as it could damage some softer alloys.
These are just two of the methods that SVK uses to clean new and refurbished parts and machines for our clients. While these are adequate for the majority of needs, many clients require an immaculate product, with no residue left as it is shipped out the door. For that, more intense methods such as our fluidized sand beds are needed, which we will look into next time.