Features of Alliance’s Parts Cleaning Systems
Corrosion-Resistant Fabrication Materials: Water, heat, and air lead to corrosion. Corrosion will occur, regardless of the chemical/rust inhibitors used. In addition, water quality throughout the country varies greatly, which can cause premature corrosion. Stainless steel, fiberglass, plastics, or similar corrosion-resistant materials are recommended. Solution pumps and exterior piping may be of other materials (unless otherwise dictated by the cleaning/rinsing process) since they are repairable or replaceable.
Thickness Or Gauge Of Materials: Heavier materials generally equate to longer equipment life and better fit-up of components. Using lighter materials is a way for manufacturers to reduce their costs.
Pumps: Two styles of pumps are typically offered for most parts cleaning systems: vertical and horizontal. Vertical seal-less pumps require less maintenance due to their design, whereas horizontal pumps will have seals which need periodic replacing. Should a vertical pump need servicing, it can be lifted directly off the tank without draining the solution. Horizontal pumps often require the tank to be drained for removal.
Flow/Pressure Control With Gauge: All pump discharge lines should have a flow/pressure control valve. Lightweight parts require pressure regulation to prevent them from being sprayed off the conveyor belt or being repositioned in a way detrimental to proper cleaning/drying. A pressure gauge is recommended for each pump discharge line for reference and for determining if nozzles are clogged.
Secondary spray zones should have dual filter screens at a minimum. Dual screens are required so one screen can be removed for cleaning while the other remains in place. Again, the perforations should be smaller than the orifice opening in the nozzle to help prevent nozzle clogging.
Both filter baskets and filter screens separate solids from the solution and provide pump protection. When comparing both methods of filtering, filter baskets are better since they collect debris. Whereas, filter screens do not capture these same contaminants. Auxiliary filtration such as filter bags, cyclonic separators, etc. are customarily offered as options.
Drain Zones: Adequate draining from between spray zones is essential for minimizing cross tank contamination.
Ease of Maintenance
Interior Accessibility: This is critically important! Parts cleaning systems do a dirty job and in turn, they become contaminated. Soils will accumulate inside the machine and clog nozzles. Access to clean nozzles should be easy, safe, and require little effort. If the operator or maintenance personnel feel any one of these conditions do not exist, the machine may run for longer lengths of time before interior maintenance is performed. This, in turn, will have a direct impact on the cleaning performance and life of the machine.
Some manufacturers offer “gull wing” hinged doors which offer reasonable access. However, these types of parts cleaning systems will expose employees to dripping chemicals from the door in the “up” position. In addition, should the mechanism holding the door up fails or should the door come down, an employee may be injured.
Alliance Manufacturing is the only manufacturer of parts cleaning systems which offers safe, unobstructed access to all interior areas.
Alliance’s patented (U.S. Patent No. 5,630,435) “Full Access” canopy design allows fiberglass canopy segments to be easily removed without the need for a hoist or tools. Our special overlapping joint design prevents steam and moisture from escaping without the need for gaskets or seals. As with other industries, such as over-the-road trucking and recreational boating, fiberglass composites have proven to be extremely durable and long-lasting. Additional benefits include thermal efficiency and sound dampening.
Quick-Release Spray Nozzles: All nozzles clog, so removal should be easy and without the need for tools. Spray zones typically have many nozzles. The quicker each nozzle can be removed, cleaned, and replaced will save a considerable amount of time. Alliance’s clip-on nozzles are easy to remove without the need for tools. Screw-in nozzles require tools and can possibly cross thread causing damage to the interior spray piping. Some manufacturers offer manufactured tubes with nozzle orifices, which require the entire tube to be removed in order to clean only one nozzle opening. This is far too time-consuming for the simple task of cleaning nozzles.
Hinged Clean-out Doors: Hinged, stainless steel clean-out doors provide quick, easy access to tank interior and bottom for periodic maintenance. The door frame is flush to tank bottom to facilitate easy tank cleaning.
Easy Height Adjustment: For optimum performance, air knives should be positioned as close as possible to the parts. This may require periodic product clearance adjustment of the air knives. Adjustable air knives (non-fixed) are best. Fixed air knives (non-adjustable) should be avoided. In addition, a design that does not require tools for making adjustments is recommended. Alliance’s part cleaning systems are all about efficiency and part cleaning optimization.
Solution Collection: All solution blown-off should be collected and drained back to the last solution tank thus reducing water and chemical consumption.
Lower Air Flow Control: Lower air knives should have a slide gate or similar airflow control device. Air from lower high-velocity air knives may blow light parts off the conveyor or not allow them to pass.
Belt Support: Conveyor belts are typically supported by a slider bed or rollers. Slider beds incorporate angles of flat bars placed on the edge with wear strips attached. Due to the friction of the moving belt, wear strips require frequent maintenance. In addition, if not captivated, wear strips may shift causing excessive wear to the conveyor belt or may cause a conveyor jam. Alliance’s parts cleaning systems offer conveyor rollers which greatly reduce the friction commonly caused with slider beds, thus allowing heavier loads to be conveyed. Rollers also require far less maintenance since the friction load is reduced and there are no wear strips to replace. Cross-contamination between solution tanks is also eliminated with rollers. Whereas, water may travel across slider bed supports between spray zones causing cross tank contamination and/or overflow conditions.
Variable Speed: Variable conveyor speed allows the flexibility of increasing the through put should an increase in production occur. In addition, the conveyor speed can be slowed for difficult-to-clean and/or dry parts. Variable speed controls may be mechanical or electrical.
Product Lane Guides: All conveyors should incorporate side guides to prevent parts from falling off the conveyor.
Open Belt Design: Conveyor belts need to be as open as possible to minimize part-to-belt surface contact for optimum cleaning and to reduce the amount of moisture conveyed into blowoff zones. In addition, conveyor belts with maximum open area minimize cross-tank contamination.
Jam Protection: All conveyor systems should incorporate a jam sensing device to prevent damage to the equipment and parts being cleaned. Sensors may be electronic or electro-mechanical. It is absolutely critical that if the conveyor shuts down as the result of a jam, it does not start-up automatically when the jam is cleared. An automatic start-up condition can cause injury to personnel working on or near the machine.
Automatic Solution Make-up: During operation solution levels will be depleted through evaporation and/or carry-out. Each solution tank should be equipped with a method to add water automatically. If left unattended, manually filled parts cleaning systems may run low causing the machine to shut down, which can possibly damage pumps and heaters. Manual water make-up systems should be avoided.
Low Water Protection: Every solution tank should be equipped with a device to sense a low water condition. If a low water condition occurs, pump(s) and heaters should automatically shut off to prevent damage.
Short Circuit Protection Disconnect: Electrical panels should have a fused or breaker disconnect switch at the control cabinet to prevent entry while the power is on and for short circuit protection. Not all manufacturers include short circuit disconnect switches.
Canopy/Access Door Sensor: A sensor should be provided for every access way into a spray zone to shut off the corresponding pump, should a door be opened or a canopy segment removed. In addition, if a door is open or a canopy segment is off, the corresponding pump should be disabled, preventing the corresponding pump from being turned on. This is an important safety device often overlooked by manufacturers. Safety is a top priority for all Alliance parts cleaning systems.
Emergency Stop Buttons: An emergency stop push button should be placed at each end of the machine and on the control cabinet. As a minimum, emergency stop buttons should shut off the conveyor. For optimum safety, emergency stop buttons should shut the entire parts cleaning system off.