PCx Attendees Gain Technical, Product Awareness

The Parts Cleaning Expo (PCx) 2017 was held in April in Columbus, Ohio, and featured a “who’s who” lineup of industry speakers at the technical conference, which was held in conjunction with the Precision Machining Technology Show.

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Seacole Specialty Chemical’s Paula Crawford-Anderson wishes the biennial Parts Cleaning Expo (PCx) held in April had been in existence when she first started in the manufacturing industry.

“I wish I would have had this training within my first few months of starting employment in the industry,” says Ms. Crawford-Anderson, Seacole’s business development manager. “The classes were the right blend of general information and specific topics tailored to the different groups of people in attendance, such as equipment OEMs, end users of that equipment and vendors to the industry. It was some of the best trade show-related seminars I’ve attended.”

PCx 2017 was held in Columbus, Ohio, and featured a “who’s who” lineup of industry speakers at the technical conference, which was held in conjunction with the Precision Machining Technology Show. The show was presented by the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) and co-hosted by Production Machining, Products Finishing and Modern Machine Shop magazines.

“It was my first time attending the show, and I found it to be well organized,” she says. “The information I got before the show let me decide what I wanted to see and helped me find it quickly during the show.”

PCx was held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, but will move to Cleveland for the 2019 show and will be held April 2-4.

Latest Cleaning Technology

Marcia Snyder, technical services and key account management for DeForest Enterprises, says she enjoyed visiting the Parts Cleaning Pavilion, where the booths of companies offering cleaning solutions were in the same area on the show floor.

“This made it easy to see all the suppliers during breaks without having to run around the entire show floor,” she says.

The goal of the PCx Pavilion was to give attendees the opportunity to see the latest advances in cleaning equipment, chemicals and services, alongside machine tool builders, cutting tool companies, software vendors and more under one roof.

Mark Crosby, clean room supervisor at Kurt J. Lesker Co., has attended several PCx shows and rated the 2017 show as the best he has attended.

“This year I feel was by far the best experience I have had,” Mr. Crosby says. “I spent a lot of time on the floor making contacts and seeing what’s out there to take our current process to the next level.”

He also liked attending the two-day technical sessions.

“The sessions I attended were very well put together and very educational,” Mr. Crosby says. “And it was great to see individuals from all perspectives of the process were involved and passionate about the cleaning process. It’s always great to see and hear that there are others out there with the same concerns and commitment to precision cleaning.”

 

Finding Solutions

Walter Hutter from THK Rhythm in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada, says the 2017 show was more focused than past shows he has attended. He enjoyed the technical presentations, which he says were “general enough for a lay person to follow, but technical enough to keep from getting bored.”

Mr. Hutter says one reason he attended PCx was because of a specific cleaning problem faced by his company, which manufactures ball joints, tie rods and various suspension arms and components for all major automotive companies.

After a quench, a clean/anti-rust coating is applied during an induction hardening process that he says leaves a sticky film on their ball studs, which then wreaks havoc on the torque requirement of the assembled joint.

“During one of the presentations, it was stated that we need to know what soil we are dealing with in order to clean it properly, but my problem is that my cleaner is my soil,” he says. “After the presentations were over, I approached some of the presenters on the show floor, and they were able to address my specific problem with some good suggestions. The quest for a solution to my problem continues, but the presenters welcomed continued dialogue to help solve my problem.”

Mr. Hutter says he also gleaned some useful tips while attending some of the technical presentations.

“A suggestion made by one of the presenters was to take a sample of your soil and place it on a 45-degree angle, then add some of your cleaner and observe what happens,” he says. “If the cleaner does not ‘cut’ the soil, then adding more cleaner becomes a waste of resources.”

Mr. Hutter says the suggestion was so simple, when he got back to his facility, he placed a drop of his quench fluid on a metal plate, then added a few drops of cleaner and observed.

“The cleaner did not ‘cut’ the quench fluid,” he says. “Because of this simple test, I know what my next move is going to be.”

 

It’s Worth Admission

Adam Abbas, a manufacturing engineer in finishing with TriMark Corp., says it was the first time he had been to PCx, and called it “fantastic.”

“We came looking for specific information regarding NPB1, and we got exactly what we were looking for,” he says. “Just hearing one of those presentations would have been worth the admission alone. We will be implementing a test for cleanliness after hearing Darren Williams’ session on contact angle analysis. PCx was a great asset to me and our company, and we will be attending in the future.”

Many of the attendees came to the show because of mandatory cleaning requirements placed on them by Tier-1 and Tier-2 suppliers to OEMs, says Francesco Piscani, applications specialist for the Scientific Solutions Group, Industrial Microscopes and Metrology at Olympus Corp. of America.

“I expect this process to continue, as European cleanliness requirements become commonplace in U.S. manufacturing,” Mr. Piscani says. “Some of these companies range from Silicon Valley smartphone manufacturers to manufacturers of high-precision valves for water equipment. These companies need all of the products that the Olympus industrial group offers, from our non-destructive testing equipment, to our industrial microscopes.”

Ben Lang, supervisor of product development engineering at Acument Global Technologies, says PCx was a well-run show with plenty of exhibitors and great technical presentations

“One common theme of the technical presentations was that cleaning and inspection processes need to be tailored to the components or systems in question,” he says. “The expo floor offered a wonderful opportunity to collaborate and build relationships with suppliers and customers alike. I had some excellent discussions and made several new contacts.”

 

Challenging Topics

David Gotoff, product manager for Chemetall U.S., presented at the conference and says the technical talks do a good job of jumping right in and addressing some of the more challenging topics, such as health and safety of solvents used in vapor degreasing.

“The conference allowed for some counter positions to be voiced in a constructive manner,” he says. “We saw some interesting presentations on cleanliness and some novel approaches and technology for system control. I found it to be very insightful.”

Mr. Gotoff says the show floor was active with high

quality displays that were staffed well. He says it was organized well and covered a good variety of applications that were appropriate for component manufacturers.

“What I really find unique about PCx is how it stands as a crossroads event for the solvent and aqueous cleaning markets—something evident in the technical sessions,” he says. “It is a great forum to present the positives of both approaches—along with the negatives—and allow the visitor to make an educated decision on what should be best for their particular process, a decision that can be challenging to make.”

Greg Terrell, director, business development for Coventya, says he hadn’t attended the show in a while, but was impressed by the overall attendance both on the show floor and the technical sessions.

“The sessions I witnessed were interactive and interesting,” Mr. Terrell says. “We are not involved in the ‘critical’ cleaning market vertical, but I was still able to glean good information for our segment, as well as network with like-minded people who could benefit from our experience.”

Mr. Terrell says it was interesting to learn about the European cleanliness specifications, VDA 19 and ISO 16232, which potentially could come to the U.S. and impact applicators.

“Regulation continues to be the No. 1 driver in our market,” he says.

Rich Edmonds, process improvement engineer and quality clinic coordinator at Ferrotherm Corp., attended PCx for the first time and called the show “expansive.”

“Everywhere we went we found professionalism and seasoned experts more than willing to share,” he says. “It was impressive the amount of new technology on display. It took us all three days to go the entire length and width of the show. We will be back.”  

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