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- Brass pressings manufacturer chooses Pero degreaser
Bodill Choose Pero Degreaser
Long Term road test for the 2500/0 Pero degreaser machine
Technology road test: Pero 2500/0 closed-loop vapour degreasing machine.
Supplier: Kumi Solutions
Installed: June 2004
Customer: Bodill Parker Group Ltd, Tipton, West Midlands
Core business: Subcontract precision pressings
Shift pattern: Single shift
Pero 2500/0 degreasing machine overview
- Closed-loop vapour degreasing machine with sub-zero air drying technology and PLC control.
- Rotary basket system with immersion, flooding, rinsing, ultrasonic and vapour cleaning cycles.
- Continuous vacuum distillation and filtration.
- Integrated parts handling system using automatic conveyors.
- Average cleaning duration for steel (50kg) = 4 minutes.
- Compliance with latest Solvent Emission Directive (SED).
- Built to CE standards.
- One of over 3000 Pero degreaser automatic cleaning and degreasing machines installed worldwide.
Overall verdict on the Pero degreaser from Philip Sabin MD of Bodil Parker.
With massive savings in solvent usage aiding a short payback period, the Pero 2500/0 degreasing machine makes sound financial sense. Throw in rapid throughput, enhanced cleanliness levels and happier customers and staff, and the degreasing machine proves itself a winner on all fronts.
Replacing an aging ICI gas-fired, open degreasing unit, the Pero degreaser 2500/0 machine has made significant reductions in solvent usage at Bodill Parker. The previous, open-top system consumed 4,800 litres of trichloroethylene every year, whereas the Pero unit combined with the SAFE-TAINER(TM) system uses just 100 litres a year of perchloroethylene, equating to a savings of £11,000+ per annum. Solvent consumption is therefore reduced by more than 97%.
Quality of cleanliness from the Pero degreaser machine
Parts emerging from the Pero 2500/0 degreasing machine are described by managing director Philip Sabin as “exceptionally clean” and “bone dry.” Rolling oils and machine oils collected by the parts during pressing operations are removed using ultrasonically agitated DOWPER(TM) MC (perchloroethylene) supplied by SAFECHEM Europe. Components are manufactured from brass, phosphor bronze, copper alloy, steel, stainless steel and aluminium.“Every scrap of contamination is removed using the Pero,” says Mr Sabin. “We’ve had no complaints from customers, which is crucial because many parts are subject to further processes such as plating, rubber bonding or powder coating, where dirty components cannot be tolerated.”
Pero Degreaser: – Speed/throughput
Processing approximately 25 million precision pressings every year, keeps the Pero 2500/0 degreasing machine busy for between 35-40 hours every week. In a 12-month period Bodill Parker cleans around 17,000 baskets (370 x 220 x 200mm) filled with parts ranging from 12mm diameter washer-type components, up to 60mm diameter cup-sized parts, equating to approximately 250 tonnes of material per year. Typical cycle times for a fully loaded basket are around 4 minutes.
Pero Degreasing Machine: – Reliability/maintenance
“The reliability of the Pero 2500/0 degreasing machine has been very good,” states the machine’s operator Les Hayes. “During the course of the past four years we’ve rarely required external help. We carry a small number of spares at Tipton, and on the odd occasion that a problem does arise, we are normally able to undertake the work ourselves.” In terms of maintenance, Mr Hayes says that he simply checks the solvent stability and performs a few visual checks on a weekly basis. The task takes no more than a few minutes and have rarely uncovered any problems. Mr Sabin added “this machine has less downtime or maintenance requirements than any other machine we own, delivering machine availability in excess of 96%.”
Pero Degreaser: – Health and safety
As a closed-loop system, the Pero degreaser 2500/0 machine complies fully with the recently implemented Solvent Emissions Regulations and offers a marked improvement when compared to the open-top system it replaced. “Our previous unit discharged solvents outside the factory via a flue,” explains Mr Sabin, “but it was very inefficient and vapours escaped into the working environment. With the new closed-loop Pero system we have no cause for complaint. Using the MAXICHECK(TM) test kits and MAXISTAB(TM) stabiliser maintains solvent quality, insuring clean parts, a protected plant, and reduces further any physical contact with the solvents.”
Pero Degreasing Machine: – Value/payback
At a supplied price of less than £44,000, Mr Sabin says that payback on the Pero 2500/0 degreasing machine has already been achieved, on the strength of solvent reduction alone, in under 4 years.
- Customer orders another Pero degreaser for precision turned parts cleaning
Parts cleaning turns the screw on VOC
Tenable Screw parts cleaning demands continued success
When the VOC solvent emissions regulations (SER) came into force on 31 October 2007, turned parts specialist Tenable Screw Co Ltd had already decided to take early measures to avoid potential fines by replacing an aging 22 year old Pero degreaser with a new Pero V1 universal parts cleaning solvent degreaser. They ordered their Pero V1 universal parts cleaning solvent degreaser from the sole UK agent, Kumi Solutions Ltd.
The SER restricts emissions from organic solvents to limit worker exposure and to protect health. Companies failing to comply with the emission limits set under the SER will face investigation and possible prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive. Firms may also face increasing compensation claims for associated health problems from affected employees, as well as hefty fines. Pero parts cleaning solvent systems reduce VOC emissions to below that of the incoming regulations and are, in fact, built to the tighter German laws 31 BImSchV and 2 BImSchV. All US and European emission regulations are surpassed. V Series machines from Pero work with the entire system under negative pressure, and the V stands for vacuum.
Another advantage considered attractive to Tenable Screw is that the machine can be used with all solvent types, hence the word ‘universal.’ In fact it is possible to swap from chlorinated hydrocarbons to hydrocarbons in a single day. Although Tenable Screw’s current focus is firmly on the former, Mr Runciman confirms that with constantly amended legislation, the move may prove fruitful in economic terms in future years.
Established in 1940, Tenable Screw Co Ltd has expanded from producing specialised screws by the hundred to the manufacture of high precision turned components by the million. Through a programme of continuous investment the company is one of the largest producers in the UK with a full range of turning capacity available, including 35 CNC machines, multi-spindle automatics, coil-fed automatics, rotary transfer machines and Pero parts cleaning equipment based at three sites: London, Wiltshire and Coventry. Current annual turnover is in the region of £7.5 million.
Typical products range from tiny precision pins and sockets up to 32mm diameter components in all materials. The electronics industry is a specialty of Tenable Screw, machining shells and pins for a huge range of electrical connectors. Terminals and screw assemblies are also produced by the millions to suit most electrical or electronic applications. Batch sizes at this ISO 9002 accredited company range from a 1000 up to millions. Other prominent industries served include automotive, aerospace and medical.
The Pero degreaser V1 parts cleaning machine works at full tilt during a single day shift at the company’s Marlborough site in Wiltshire. It is used to clean components ranging across Tenable Screw’s size range. Each basket can be loaded up to 80kg – the V1 is able to process 6-10 basket loads per hour depending on selected parts cleaning cycle.
“This is a significant investment for us,” states Simon Schlaefli, managing director. “The V1 was the most practical and suitable choice for our parts cleaning application available on the market. Whilst we have bought the machine in order to comply with the SER, ultimately our customers will benefit. Providing customers with good presentation of parts is undoubtedly an increasingly important factor. Today all customers expect parts cleaning machines to produce components that are super clean.”
- Cold formed aluminium parts require Pero degreaser for cleaning
Solvent Cleaning Equipment for CFP
Pero solvent cleaning equipment at CFP Solvent Cleaning Equipment degreases 1 million parts a month at Cold Formed Products.
East London-based Cold Formed Products Ltd (CFP) has installed a Pero V1 universal solvent cleaning equipment from exclusive UK distributor, Kumi Solutions Ltd. Installed in October 2007 – at the end of the production line at CFP’s Plaistow manufacturing facility – the new Pero solvent cleaning equipment is already cleaning approximately 1 million aluminium ‘impact’ extruded parts a month for a number of automotive and aerospace industry customers.
With over 45 years of history, CFP has grown to become a thriving, 40-employee second-tier automotive supplier to some of the biggest names. Until recently, however, the company had relied on an aging open-top solvent cleaning systems to clean the vast number and range of components it produces, something that clearly needed to change in light of the EU’s Solvent Emissions Directive (SED), which came into force at the end of October 07.
Cold Formed Products and the solvent cleaning equipment challenge
“We first heard about the impending SED legislation three years ago,” states the company’s technical director, David Binks. “At first we thought the best approach would be to try and replace solvents altogether, so we looked at aqueous-based degreasing solutions. But to be honest, the trials we conducted were far from convincing.”
Undeterred, the company refocused its attention on solvent cleaning, but this time Mr. Binks and his team examined hermetically sealed solvent cleaning equipment. “We visited four of five suppliers of sealed solvent cleaning equipment, but again the results were not impressive. It was only when we spoke to our supplier of solvents that I heard about Pero solvent cleaning systems. We subsequently contacted Simon Graham at Kumi and he recommended the Pero V1 machine. After trials in Germany we were relieved to find that it did the job very well.” Operator love the Pero Pero solvent cleaning equipment CFP has developed its own in-house methods for measuring part cleanliness that replicate the procedures used by its customers, to determine whether or not components are sufficiently clean.
According to Mr Binks, one of the differentiating factors in favour of the Pero degreaser was its vacuum system, which is used to evacuate the chamber of residue. Many competitor systems use a ‘regenerative carbon stack’, which can be a time consuming alternative. CFP also claims that the V1 solvent cleaning equipment was priced more competitively.
The Pero degreaser represents a significant step forward in cleaning technology as the machines are “universal”. That is, they employ almost any type of solvent, from chlorinated hydrocarbons, such as trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, to methylene chloride, modified alcohols, such as Dowclene 1601, and any standard hydrocarbons, for example, A3 category products with a flash point in excess of 55°C. A V-Series system can be changed from one solvent type to another in as little as one day.
The V-Series solvent cleaning equipment are hermetically sealed to provide “near zero” emissions and so comply with the new SED. The machines are run under partial vacuum conditions, thus helping to lower the boiling point of the solvent. This has many advantages, such as improved energy efficiency, reduced solvent consumption and the ability to clean more delicate materials, such as thermoplastics and coated parts.
Solvent condition is monitored automatically with solids, oil and water separated as part of the process. Sophisticated drying using two or three vacuum pumps is also fully integrated. The V-Series solvent cleaning systems come in five sizes ranging from a basket-type system with 380 x 220 x 200mm capacity, up to a Euro pallet size capable of handling a 1500kg payload.
Installed in October 2007, the CFP Pero V1 solvent cleaning equipment was commissioned (using perchloroethylene) within two days without any interruption to the company’s production.
Depending on the size of component, CFP places between 150 and 2000 units in each basket. The machine runs for 10 hours a day, five days a week. “In total the Pero degreaser cleans 2.5 tonnes of aluminium a day, which is 25% more than we could do previously,” says Mr Binks. “Furthermore, the V1 only requires cleaning once every three weeks, whereas we had to clean our previous open top tank every week without fail – and the process was much more labour intensive.”
CFP operates in what it describes as an intensely competitive automotive industry. The advantage it offers its customers lies in its impact extrusion process, which can deliver up to 3000 parts per hour. The company also offers subsequent CNC machining to supply finished parts, which undergo degreasing in the Pero solvent cleaning equipment.
- Pressed steel parts cleaned using a Pero Degreaser
Solvent degreasing works for Clamason
Pero degreaser meets SED legislation & slashes solvent use at volume pressings manufacturer.
Established 60 years ago, Clamason Industries is a highly service-orientated, independent UK manufacturer and assembler of precision pressings serving a broad spectrum of global customers from its manufacturing bases at Kingswinford (West Midlands) and Nitra (Slovakia). Current turnover is spread over half-a-dozen key market sectors – automotive engineering and medical together comprising two-thirds, with the remaining third consisting of home entertainments, building products, electrical accessories and disparate niche markets.
Clamason has a core competence of making technically complex metal parts in medium to high volumes on presses of 5 tonnes up to 250 tonnes. 90% of Clamason pressings are intricate and less than 2mm thick. Annual order quantities per part can range from 25,000 up to 200 million, although an average call-off would lie between 50,000 and 250,000 per year. The surfaces of all these stampings require solvent degreasing to remove lubricants deposited during the process.
“Historically, we’ve used an open-top trichloroethylene tank for our solvent degreasing,” explains Clamason’s quality manager, Paul Edwards. “However, the recently tightened Solvent Emissions Directive (SED) regulations set us thinking about sourcing a different cleaning method.”
The company examined aqueous and hydrocarbon alternatives, but assessments of performance put solvent degreasing systems top of the list.
“What is more, we discovered that closed-loop, low-emission solvent systems can be more environmentally friendly than aqueous units, which require high amounts of energy to heat the wash solution.”
The V2 Pero degreaser from UK distributor Kumi Solutions provided the answer to the company’s dilemma. V-Series solvent degreasing machines work with the entire system under negative pressure, where the “V” denotes vacuum.
“Its emissions were the lowest we could find without any compromise to cycle time. The V2 solvent degreasing machine was as quick as anything on the market,” states Mr Edwards. “Furthermore we immediately struck up a good relationship with the UK agent, Kumi Solutions, while the machine also provided the ideal basket size, 660 x 480 x 300mm.” Clamason can fit 15 large parts into a single V2 solvent degreasing basket or as much as 50,000 smaller components. Typical parts include airbag inflator housings, ladder platforms, set top boxes for digital TV, central heating boiler parts, vehicle engine control units, car radio housings, window hardware, tiny medical pressings and electrical contacts.
Having also purchased Pero’s other solvent degreasing equipment option of the extended conveyor track, Clamason simply loads parts into a basket and lets the system do the rest. The conveyor feeds the machine, which cycles automatically, and there is no need to press a single button. Clean parts emerge at the other end after a 5-6 minute cycle. Today, 90% of components manufactured by Clamason are cleaned using the V2 solvent degreasing machine, with just a small minority of customers requesting aqueous washing.
“Not only does the V2 solvent degreasing machine ensure that we meet the SED legislation, but also the cleaning results are far superior and more consistent compared with our old open-top trichloroethylene tank,” says Mr Edwards. “We would previously find dirty parts in the middle of baskets that would require reprocessing. This simply doesn’t happen any more.”
Working with the chemical service and solutions provider, SAFECHEM, Clamason was advised to use perchloroethylene as the cleaning solvent in its new V2 Pero degreaser. The solvent was delivered in specially designed safety containers that use the SAFE-TAINER™ system. SAFECHEM was then able to train Clamason on the necessary tests for their DOWPER™ MC solvent that would need to undertaken and to provide advice on the safe handling and maintenance of the solvent.
An added advantage is that solvent loss has also been cut significantly. Using its open-top trichloroethylene tank, Clamason would lose approximately 14 tonnes of solvent every year. Using the V2, solvent loss is estimated at less than 2/3 barrel per year, representing a considerable financial saving. “We operate in a very competitive market with the highest quality requirements,” concludes Mr Edwards. “Our customers expect clean parts, but unfortunately without incurring any price rise. Hence we have to clean our components through a non value-added process in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible without compromising quality. The Pero V2 solvent degreasing machine has provided this capability.”
- Swiss Army knives cleaned in Pero degreaser
Pero V2 solvent degreaser cleans Swiss Army knivesWorld renown Victorinox chooses V2 Pero degreaser
Deep in the heart of Switzerland, Victorinox has been manufacturing its world-famous Victorinox quality knife at its site in Ibach since 1884. vitorinox chooses the Pero V2 solvent degreaserIt all started with a small craft workshop founded there in the Canton of Schwyz by Karl Elsener. For over 100 years, the Swiss Army Officer’s Knife was protected by law, and it has since become a synonym for Swiss quality and reliability. At the present time, 60,000 Swiss Army Knives and other pocket tools are produced daily, in a wide variety of models. In addition to these, 60,000 household and professional knives are made. About 90% of this output is exported all over the world.
Today Victorinox provides work for 900 employees, and it is recognized as a traditional firm that upholds innovation, quality, protection of the environment and social responsibility. When its aging parts washer plants had to be replaced in 1994 and 1996, Victorinox opted for the acquisition of modern V2 Pero degreaser installations. The Pero V2 was delivered in 1994 and was successfully installed and operational on several levels, and it was replaced in 2007 with a installation offering higher performance. The procurement project was launched in 2005. In view of the positive experiences of acquisition and operation of the first installation, this project too was addressed with Pero AG. After a variety of cleaning experiments with a variety of cleaning agents, it became clear that trichloroethylene, the cleaning agent used up to that time, was the only one capable of meeting the customer’s requirements. After comprehensive technical clarifications in close collaboration with Victorinox, a solution was found that met all requirements.
The V2 Universal parts washer for A3 Hydrocarbons and Chlorinated Hydrocarbon solvents started operation in the Victorinox factory in 2007. The high vacuum plant, equipped with baths for washing and rinsing, a generously proportioned steam generator and a high performance ultrasound unit, meets the requirement for higher throughput rates. In addition to optimized product movement, which can be assigned freely to each stage in cleaning, two vacuum pumps ensure that the products being cleaned are optimally flushed, degreased and dried.
The programming and maintenance software with automatic feed and the bar code reader ensures user and maintenance-staff friendliness and reduced personnel needs. Each cycle processes 2 baskets 480 x 320 x 200 mm. An automatic feed system was designed, which is adapted to operating conditions and capable of handling 16 loads = 32 baskets. The roller conveyor buffer runs on two levels with a 90 degree change of direction. On the loading side, the baskets travel along the left-hand side of the installation on a single track almost at floor level to the back, Pero degreaser size V2 with waste SAFETAINER close where they are raised by a lifting module to feed level (height 880 mm). After return transport to the front, the baskets are moved by a transverse displacement trolley with on-board roller conveyor on to a twin-track roller conveyor, where they are carried in front of the installation to the working chamber. Here, the assigned cleaning program is automatically memorized. The working chamber is closed after each batch of 2 baskets is pushed into it. The cleaning cycle then takes place, with the corresponding product movement and flushing, bath, steam-degreasing and drying sequences. The 2 baskets are then brought out and carried away in front of the installation. At the end of the twin-track output roller conveyor, they are transferred on to the single-track output retaining roller conveyor by a transverse trolley to be carried back. After being brought down to the lower level, the baskets are once more brought to the front, where they can be removed after separation. As the available space was extremely constricted, construction involved a struggle to save every centimetre. To provide optimum access to the parts washer, the rearward roller conveyor is mounted on wheels and can be quickly released and pushed out of the way if needed.
In addition to the product baskets, coils of 450 mm diameter can be cleaned on pallets. At the present time, about 100 loads, each one in 2 baskets, are processed every working day in two shifts. In this way about 12 tonnes of parts are cleaned daily. The products to be cleaned consist mainly of flat, stamped parts. Some of these are thin plates that cling together, which must be cleaned gently as a bulk product. The baskets are filled to between 60 and 90%.At the present time, about 100 loads, each one in 2 baskets, are processed every working day in two shifts. In this way about 12 tonnes of parts are cleaned daily!
Pero AG, a medium-sized family company in the German town of Königsbrunn, near Augsburg, has been making and developing aqueous and solvent parts washer since 1955. The company employs 100 people in Königsbrunn as well as 60 employees in Gothar. Pero V2 parts washers are in use today all over the world, and this company provides innovation, quality, technical progress, environmental protection and reliability of performance.
UK Customers enjoy the same excellent support and advice for their Pero degreaser from the sole UK agent, Kumi Solutions. Contact Kumi Solutions at the above telephone number to book your free, no obligation demonstration of our Pero V2 parts washer.
- GKN select Pero degreaser as supplier of 30 tunnel washing machines
GKN Driveline Deutschland, Mosel plant Selects Pero compact tunnel wash
Consistency – that is what PERO Degreaser shows once again. At its Gotha plant, the company produces tunnel wash units for production lines. GKN Driveline Deutschland has recently integrated 30 such cleaning machines into its own production lines and installed PERO compact tunnel wash units in production cells of other plants of the GKN group. The compact units are hidden behind the guards of the production cells, and they are hardly visible. Only the exhaust air condenser, which protrudes from the top of the unit like a snorkel, and the clean parts leaving the machine indicate that there is a PERO machine at work.
The automotive industry is dominated by one key word: quality. GKN is a leading supplier of drive systems and components for car manufacturers, employing 21,000 people at 49 plants in 31 countries. One such facility is the GKN Mosel plant, where 30 PERO cleaning machines are contributing to the ongoing success of the company. When asked why GKN Driveline chose the PERO solution, Jürgen Abendroth, head of the central engineering department at the Mosel plant had a simple answer, “PERO degreaser offers value for money”’ said the engineer responsible for the planning and implementation of production facilities, products, and mechanical engineering projects.
To be truthful, a number of compact tunnel wash units were installed before the reunification of Germany, when the Mosel and Gotha plants were part of state-run conglomerates. The automotive supplier GKN acquired the Mosel plant in 1991, while PERO took over the Gotha plant in 1993. The two companies continued the close cooperation that they established during the GDR era. “We were delighted to hear that PERO had acquired the Gotha plant, thus continuing the production of compact tunnel wash units,” says Jürgen Abendroth, “as we were very happy with the performance of these machines.” Machines of the KDA series can be easily integrated into any production line and have been specifically designed to cater to many different applications. They are compact in design and suitable for the cleaning, degreasing, rinsing and drying of nearly all types of parts and assemblies. PERO degreaser KDA machines cater to iron phosphating with or without degreasing and de-phosphating. The compact tunnel wash units have been designed for use with alkaline, neutral or slightly acidic cleaning solutions.
The KDA machines feature a modular design, so that they can be easily adapted to suit the requirements of customers. The modules “W” for washing, “S” for rinsing and “T” for drying can be combined in any chosen sequence. “PERO tunnel wash units have one great advantage,” explains the PERO sales engineer, Holger Grams, “as the washing and rinsing modules are always followed by a neutral zone, where any residual liquid is blown off the parts.” This prevents contamination of the rinsing module with the washing medium and also ensures that no drip-dry parts enter the drying module.
“Many of our drive components must be completely free of chips and grease before they can be processed further,” explains Jürgen.
Due to their compact design and excellent cleaning capacity, PERO degreaser – tunnel wash units are the ideal solution for the automotive production lines of car manufacturers and component suppliers alike. At all steps where parts must be clean before they can be processed further, a KDA unit can be integrated into the process. GKN drive shafts inspected as they come off Pero tunnel wash unit“We were actually able to retrofit an existing production line with compact tunnel wash units. For this purpose, we simply removed a section of a roller conveyor and inserted the KDA machine,” says Holger Grams, referring to a solution found for a well-known component manufacturer.
Various different models of the compact tunnel wash units have been installed at the Mosel plant of GKN. The majority of the units are KDA 35 W models, and some production lines include more than one such machine. “Many of our drive components must be completely free of chips and grease before they can be processed further,” explains Jürgen Abendroth. As different lubricants are applied in the various machining stations, a number of different water-soluble cleaning agents must be used in the 70°C baths. For GKN, it is sufficient that the residual liquid is blown off the parts in the neutral zones so that they are dry, preventing contamination of the process lubricants and cleaning agents via the conveyor belt. In order to demonstrate how easily compact tunnel wash units can be integrated into a production cell, Jürgen Abendroth points to such a cell designed for the manufacture of stub axles, which are part of the drive train to the wheels. In the cell, the gearing is produced by means of a cold forming process developed by GKN Driveline. A robot takes the pre-machined forged part from the conveyor belt, places it in the forming machine and then transfers it to the exit conveyor on which the stub axles are transported through the PERO degreaser, compact tunnel wash unit. The cleaning unit is positioned in the right corner of the square production cell, and thus forms an integral part of it. “This cold forming cell has been designed and built entirely by our engineers and is now used in many other plants of the GKN group,” says Jürgen Abendroth with great pride. The PERO KDA is, of course, part of every such cell, as the head of the central engineering department has made the PERO machines part of the standard equipment. This was not a difficult choice, he says, as the dimensions of the parts processed here are in the ?m range and components must therefore be extremely clean to meet the stringent quality requirements.
About 18,000 stub axles in 25 different designs are produced every day at the Mosel plant. This component is needed in the drive trains of all engines, and its dimensions and shape varies in line with the engine power. This also applies to tulip joints with long shafts that are installed in car transmission systems. These components are cleaned in a PERO WDA 75 W unit, which is a special tunnel wash unit model for the cleaning of shafts. There are again numerous such machines installed at the Mosel plant, as there are several processing lines for the above components where the parts are cleaned between the separate milling, forming, hardening and hard turning stations. The PERO degreaser can easily be identified, as they all feature approximately 300 mm thick pipes through which the exhaust air is led across the roof to where the cleaning agent condenses so that it can be returned to the washers. The agents in the baths are kept clean with oil separators and filters, ensuring consistent cleaning performance. The only point at which the “W” concept of GKN Driveline is not applied is the grinding station. At the end of the production lines, where the parts are issued ready for installation, they undergo a final cleaning process that includes a preservation cycle. This is done in PERO KDA20 WST units (washing – rinsing – drying) in which the washed parts are rinsed with a preservative, dried and finally discharged for mounting. In a plant as complex as the Mosel plant of GKN, it is, of course, not possible to use one single preservative. “We are using various different products,” explains Jürgen Abendroth, “as the preservation of rubber collars, for instance, is very different from that of metal parts.” When asked about the economy of the PERO tunnel wash units, GKN praises their cleaning performance. “If the parts were not sufficiently clean, we would have a serious quality compliance problem on our hands.” Jürgen Abendroth is delighted that he does not have to face any such problems, as the cleaning performance of the PERO degreaser unit meets all expectations, is cost-effective and is backed up with excellent after-sales service, which is made even easier as the Gotha and the Mosel plants are close to each other.
GKN employs 21,000 people at 49 plants in 31 countries and is the world’s leading supplier of drive systems and power train components for cars and light goods vehicles. The popularity of 4-wheel drives has brought a great increase in business for GKN. Virtually all car manufacturers in the world are using GKN products. Thanks to its global production capacity, the company can respond flexibly and reliably to new trends in the market, while its local presence in many countries ensures excellent support. Together with customers, GKN engineers are constantly working on optimised solutions for new vehicles. They can thereby tap into one of the largest ranges of components for drive trains available to any company. The huge experience and expertise of its staff and the ability to develop innovative solutions are the keys to the success of GKN. The PERO degreaser cleaning machines used by GKN at many of its plants worldwide contribute to the excellent quality of products.
- Electrical connector manufacturer chooses Pero degreaser
Clean Savings for Harwin who select Pero parts cleaning machine
Not a company to be intimidated by new legislation, Harwin Plc. is an example of how doing the right thing environmentally – investing in a Pero degreaser, a V0 Universal solvent parts cleaning machine – can have a very positive effect on the bottom-line.
Emily Gower is an R&D Engineer at electrical and electronic interconnect solutions provider, Harwin Plc., where she played a key role in the installation and commissioning of the company’s new Pero V0 Universal solvent degreasing machine, an investment that she is keen to discuss, not just because of the impending change in solvent emissions regulations (SER) due to come into force in October of this year, but also because of the cost savings implications for Harwin. Emily Gower next to parts Pero degreaser.
“Every stage of our manufacturing process is continuously scrutinized to ensure that we maintain the highest standards – both in terms of production quality and our environmental responsibilities,” she states. “We planned our response to SER legislation well in advance, because solvent cleaning is a vital step in the production process for our electroplated parts.”
Before the investment in the new machine, Harwin cleaned its components using a standard solvent dip tank, which required solvent changes at frequent intervals and which used much more solvent than was SER compliant.
“Since installing the Pero parts cleaning machine, we’ve been able to drastically reduce the amount of solvent used – effectively operating a closed loop solvent recycle for months at a time. We have also reduced the man-hours required for degreasing and the load on the downstream electrochemical clean.”
Located in an almost clean-room environment, the Pero parts cleaning machine is treated with the respect that a chemical process deserves. Staff members are trained to a very high level, and they are aided by a detailed photo-driven operating manual.
“Harwin’s Quality System is applied with genuine passion –Close up of Harwin’s Pero degreaser parts cleaning machine at every level within the company,” says Gower. “The team members operating the Pero degreaser are all involved in developing and documenting both training and working procedures, which are regularly reviewed to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the business.”
The working environment is very clean and orderly – in keeping with best working practices. Visitors to the Pero parts cleaning machine often comment that the working area is more ‘laboratory’ than ‘factory floor’.” Air extracted from the Pero parts cleaning machine contains less than 3ppm solvent, and any liquid solvent entering or leaving the plant is managed using the SAFETAINER™ closed connection system.
“We run a very tight ship,” says Gower, “The Pero parts cleaning machine offers a high level of process consistency, is reliable and is easy to operate. It is now an integral part of our operations.” Products degreased in the Pero parts cleaning machine enter the Harwin plating line.
Traceability and cost control are all important to the business. All work processed through the Pero parts cleaning machine is logged on a PC, and this data fed back into accounting and scheduling functions. Even the energy use of the unit itself is constantly monitored – with a digital meter that toggles between displays showing the kWhr being used and the actual cost to the business of that energy.
Harwin Chairman, Damon de Laszlo, is known for his opinions on how British and European industry needs to reduce overheads if it is to compete with the threat from the Asian market. One of his beliefs is that British companies can thrive by committing to and investing in the best practice and the latest manufacturing technology.
“Since we’ve been operating the Pero parts cleaning machine we’ve made dramatic savings” says Gower. “From a previous spend on solvents of around £800 per month, we anticipate spending no more than £800 in total over a full year operation of the Pero degreaser which includes safe disposal of used solvent at the end of its life. That’s hard, financial proof that doing the right thing for the environment and purchasing a Pero parts cleaning machine can also be a good business opportunity”.
- KUKA Robot uses Pero cleaning unit for top quality degreasing
Perfect parts require perfect paint preparation
By Norbert Schmidt
With a market share of around 50 percent, KUKA Roboter GmbH based in Augsburg is the largest robot manufacturer in Europe. The company’s success is the result of its commitment to excellent quality. Apart from the high mechanical precision in its manufacturing processes, KUKA places great emphasis on perfect paintwork. To ensure this, the company has invested in PERO cleaning units and now operates a Robomat 7/LU and a Robomat 8U for the cleaning of all its robot housing components. During the degreasing process, the parts are also receive iron phosphate for optimum paint adhesion.
KUKA is doing great business, as there is an ever-growing demand for robots. For decades, the automotive industry with its long-term planning schedules has been the largest and most reliable market of KUKA. The company has however expanded its business to many other industries where automation is taking over and the use of robots has been recognised as the most flexible and versatile solution. “We have recovered from the setback of the financial crisis of 2008 and were able to achieve new record sales in 2010 and 2011,” says a delighted Franz Schwab, production manager at KUKA Roboter GmbH. “Over the last few years, KUKA has been able to increase its share in a market that shows growth figures of up to 20 percent.” For Franz Schwab, product quality is as important as the assembly line production system introduced by him and the recently implemented intelligent time management for production staff. These measures have significantly reduced the production times at KUKA. This allows the company not only to deliver its machines faster, but also to respond more flexibly to fluctuations in demand.
This new approach adopted by KUKA also benefits its latest Quantec robot series, which replaced the 2000 series in 2010, after more than ten years of unrivalled success in the market. KUKA is committed to sustainability, which governs all aspects of its operations. As a result, KUKA has not only introduced measures to make its production more environmentally friendly, but also ensures that all its machines are designed for sustainable operation over their entire service life. The technology leader thereby focuses on the energy and lubricant consumption as well as on the durability of its robots in order to minimise the life cycle costs and increase profitability. Today, the technical availability of KUKA robots is around 99.9 percent. A reliable indicator of the energy efficiency of a robot is the ratio between its own weight and its payload. The less mass needs to be accelerated and moved in each process, the less energy is required. “For the Quantec series, we have replaced aluminium with spheroidal graphite cast iron”, explains Franz Schwab. “This enabled us to reduce the weight of our robots by around 10 percent while increasing their strength!” This is not least due to the fact that spheroidal graphite iron can now be cast in much thinner shapes than even ten years ago, so that the motion links and arms can be produced as single parts. The previously produced aluminium parts needed to be strengthened with ribs, which made the light alloy components heavier, with dirt collecting in corners. The change to the new material posed however some challenges as regards corrosion protection and parts degreasing.
“We needed to invest in a new parts cleaning unit,” explains Franz Schwab, “as our existing machines were too small or too far away from the actual assembly line.” KUKA opted again for PERO, as it had been very happy with the Robomat 7/LU purchased in 2005 and the Rotimat 2 bought in 2009. All investments by KUKA are first evaluated by means of a points system based on clearly defined criteria. “When buying equipment and machinery, we first of all consider the potential downtimes,” says Franz Schwab. “I am therefore delighted to say that none of our PERO units ever needed a repair call-out.” Franz Schwab might also have mentioned an-other great plus for PERO, namely the fact that its factory is located only about 25 km from Augsburg in Königsbrunn.
Based on the good track record of PERO, KUKA opted for a new Robomat 8U, which was delivered in October 2010 and meets all requirements for the cleaning of the new robot parts. The unit is installed at the start point of the assembly line, and the cleaned housing parts are often still warm after drying when they enter the assembly process. “The PERO cleaning unit is fully integrated into our assembly cycle,” confirms Franz Schwab. “The cleaning jobs can thus be scheduled in line with the needs of our assembly process.”
The PERO Robomat 8U is a sturdy stainless steel unit of the tried and tested single-chamber type. The number 8 indicates that the machine is of medium size with a parts cleaning chamber that is 2100 mm wide, 1040 mm deep and 960 mm high. The letter U stands for “switchable”, as the processing chamber can be cleaned and rinsed whenever needed. The two cleaning media are stored in built-in tanks at the required operating temperature. KUKA currently uses an agent that does not only clean the parts but coats the surfaces with an iron phosphate film. The components are rinsed with de-mineralised water taken from the second tank. The spray arm with specially designed nozzles rotates by 340 degrees around the parts to be cleaned, applying the cleaning and rising media, whereby KUKA is more concerned about ample wetting than high pressure. “As the standard model of the Robomat 8U comes with a single rack for large workpieces, we provided KUKA with a special trolley,” says Robert Huber, PERO sales manager for Germany. The rack can now be moved out of the processing chamber so that heavy parts can be placed on it with the slewing crane. This is very important for KUKA, as all robot components to be cleaned – base frame, carousel, motion link and arm – are transferred by forklift truck onto a roller conveyor from where they are picked up by a slewing crane and placed on the trolley of the cleaning unit. After the cleaning process is completed, the parts are again taken up with the same slewing crane and transferred to a second roller conveyor for further transport by forklift truck.
As the above robot components are first transferred from the mechanical production department to the parts warehouse before they enter the assembly line, they have all been treated with a preservation agent to prevent flash rust. This layer must of course be removed prior to assembly to ensure proper adhesion of the paint. As a result, the Robomat 8U, which can run up to 10 different washing programmes, always performs the same single cleaning process. “We also use this programme for the parts that we clean on behalf of our sister company KUKA-Systems”, explains Franz Schwab who further reveals that the machine is used during two thirds of its operating time for the cleaning of robot parts, and for one third for the degreasing of products from other company divisions.
The fact that the machine is run with a single programme makes the work easy for the operator who must only ensure that parts with recesses are placed on the rack in such a way that most of the cleaning and rinsing agent can drip off freely. As most robot components actually feature such recesses, the machine programme is run for 10 minutes to provide ample time for drip-drying. To dry the parts, the vapours are extracted from the processing chamber. “If there is some liquid left on the parts, they machine operator simply dries them with a compressed air gun, which is both practical and cost-effective,” says Franz Schwab.
PERO would of course have been able to provide KUKA with a hot air drying system, which would however have used a lot of energy. Alternatively, KUKA could have opted for vacuum drying, but this would have required a separate drying chamber. Trials carried out by the partners showed that the residual heat of the housing parts was sufficient to dry the parts properly.
The PERO cleaning unit features a washing tank and a rinsing tank with a capacity of 1000 litres each. The content of the washing bath is continuously pumped through a 450-litre lye oil separator where the oil and other light-weight dirt particles are removed from the solution. After leaving the processing chamber, the bath content passes through a stainless steel mesh pre-filter with a mesh size of 400 µm, which can be cleaned without time-consuming dismantling. The washing bath content is also pumped through a 100 µm bag filter, while the rinsing liquid is fed through a 50 µm bag filter. This ensures that the liquids applied to the parts to be cleaned are not contaminated from previous batches. The solutions in the baths are prepared with de-mineralised water and automatically topped up when required.
“Thanks to the thorough cleaning in the Robomat 8U, the quality of the paintwork of our robots meets our high standard,” says Franz Schwab, adding that the PERO Robomat 8U paid for itself within a single year. PERO is of course delighted with this verdict, as it shows that the Robomat 8U fits the plant evaluation matrix of KUKA as a most reliable and cost-effective investment. The statement of Franz Schwab that the payback time of the new unit is still 3.5 years can thus be taken with a grain of salt… The full integration of the Robomat 8U in the production line of KUKA shows clearly that the cleaning unit has become indispensable. The cost-effectiveness of the Robomat 8U is not least due to the use of advanced cleaning technology with minimum consumption of chemicals, energy and water, and the low waste disposal costs for hazardous sludge.
Given that a hand-held steam cleaner is not an option, the performance and cost figures of the Robomat are simply unbeatable…