When it comes to cleaning parts, there is a multitude of ways that a part can be handled during the cleaning process. One very popular method for cleaning a high volume of parts is by placing them on a continuously moving conveyor belt. Parts placed on the belt will be conveyed through the process zones. For some cleaning applications, simply placing the parts on a moving belt is not sufficient to get the desired level of cleanliness. For general cleaning a moving conveyor may suffice, but for cleaning specific part features, blind holes, and other sensitive areas indexing is the conveying method of choice.
Indexing systems can come in a variety of configurations, but the most common is a lineal motion dual chain with attached part fixtures. Typically indexing fixtures are design to accommodate a specific part or family of parts. Parts are loaded and unloaded into the fixture either manually or by automation. Sensing devices positioned at the load and unload sense if a part is in position before advancing the conveyor. Index timing is programmed based on the part cycle time. The machine length and number of index positions is determined by cycle time, part complexity, and desired cleanliness/dryness.
Servo motor controls are designed to continuously stop and start the conveyor. By stopping the part, it offers several distinct advantages over continuous motion. In a stopped position, spray and blow-off nozzles can be precisely positioned for targeting specific features and critical areas. Stopping the conveyor also allows the ability to probe into hard to reach cavities. When conveying parts in a lineal motion, cleaning the leading and trailing edges of the part is always a concern. With an indexing system, when a part is stopped, spray or blow-off manifolds can be actuated to address front and trailing part surfaces and features.
Loading and unloading parts into the fixtures can be done either manual or with automation. Indexing systems can run fully automated for automation interface on one or both ends of the machine. For applications requiring manual load or unload, guarding with light curtains are required for operator safety. A part profile plate at the entrance is used to stop the conveyor in the event of a misload.
Alliance’s Aquamaster CI (conveyorized indexing) systems are designed for cleaning parts with critical part features, ensuring that it will meet the customer’s cleanliness specification. Alliance has a wide variety of indexing machines in operation, cleaning parts across several industries. Our engineers are well-versed in the intricacies of proper indexing machine design and operation. Read more about Conveyorized Indexing Parts Washers.