What Level of Parts Cleaning is Right for You?

Different machining applications call for different methods of parts cleaning. It’s not always easy to determine which is most suitable, but here are some resources that can help.

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Different applications call for different methods of parts cleaning. It’s not always easy to determine which is most suitable. Some shops, such as those serving medical or aerospace companies, may face extremely rigid cleaning requirements. Other shops may find it sufficient to take a rag to the parts to minimally remove excess cutting fluids. Still others might not be doing any cleaning at all, as they box up their parts and ship them off to the customer, who ensures their standards are met by applying their own cleaning processes. But as requirements for surface quality and cleanliness increase, more shops are looking to advance their own parts cleaning operations to meet their customers’ needs.

As with any capital equipment purchase, selection of a cleaning system should involve consideration of current and future needs. In the column, “Choosing an Appropriate Cleaning Solution,” Doris Schulz reviews a full list of types of cleaning systems, matching them up with applications for which they may be well suited. For a more focused look, check out “Selecting a Cleaning System for Small Parts” for a review of system options and how they relate to various application requirements. This article also provides a checklist of project details that should be discussed with potential cleaning equipment suppliers during the quoting process.

Once a specific type of cleaning equipment is selected, further narrowing is typically required to determine what features and capabilities may be required. “Choosing an Aqueous Parts Washing System” delves into the finer details of what to look for in an aqueous system relative to a shop’s needs.

For further information about aqueous cleaning, take a look at the May issue of Production Machining, which includes our quarterly Parts Cleaning section. This month features two articles covering aqueous processes. In “Optimizing Aqueous Cleaning Requires Proper Design and Maintenance,” we examine how a well-designed and proactively managed aqueous washer program can provide premium performance. “Choosing the Right Aqueous Cleaning Operation” shows that for most machining processes, water-based solutions treated with surfactants to cut oil, remove debris and deburr rough edges provide a clean, green strategy that can be tailored for specific applications.

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