International Auto and Engineering Works (IAEW), a 25-year-old company based in Mumbai, follows the (The American Society for Testing and Materials) ASTM B322 and ASTM F22 cleaning guidelines to maintain cleaning operation in its factory. When it comes to cleaning, Rajinder Singh, Director of the IAEW, says that the auto sector in general, requires heavy duty ultrasonic equipment to carry out the cleaning process.
ASTM B322 is a set of cleaning rules that are to be followed for metals prior to electroplating while ASTM F22 charts out rules/norms for cleaning auto-parts.
“Spillage of oil, chemical, colours and a large number of other toxic and carcinogenic materials is common to the auto sector and hence the cleaning process is specialised. Cleaning of solvents using alkaline detergents, electro-cleaning and application of acids for cleaning floors, glasses and other areas… We follow the Water-Break cleaning method and hydrophilic contamination is cleansed in this way.
“We use mechanical – abrasive and non-abrasive methods and often thermal treatment of the premises for cleaning purpose. Chemicals like non-reactive organic solvents, aqueous solutions and supercritical CO2 are used. Very often, vapour degreasing is done in the premises and plastics and polythene are removed almost six times a day.
“In the auto sector, cleaning is done both manually and mechanically. In high automated plants, cleaning is done almost once in every three hours to keep the atmosphere free of pollutants. High pressure and wash processes are used for the cleaning. Often robots are used to remove the toxic chips, materials and carcinogenic elements. They are flushed out twice or thrice a day. Drilled holes within the premises are cleaned with high pressure water, while drying and anti-fungal spraying is done daily.
“The use of solvent and vapour degreasing are highly technical and automated systems. We use aqueous ultrasonic cleaning systems to remove pigments, emulsifying agents, colours and other contaminating elements in the factory floor. After the initial rinse stage, this system is used. Ultrasonic system is based on optically stimulated electron emission technology to measure thin films of contaminants down to the Angstrom level.
“The auto sector uses mainly six different types of cleanliness processes: pre cleaning, main cleaning, rinsing, rinsing with deionised water, rinsing with corrosion protection and drying, and finally, aqueous ultrasonic system is used. Ultrasonic parts cleaners help remove dirt, oils, lubricants, carbon, and other types of grime that build up on engines and mechanical parts.”