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Industrial Cleaning – Recovery, Recycling, Housekeeping

While a coke processing factory would be more concerned with the recovery of valuable raw material at the source of spillage, a pharma or food processing unit would focus on cleaning in place or process fundamentals besides hygiene.

A cement manufacturing unit, for example, said Amrut Bhadale, National Sales Manager, Forbes Pro Cleaning Technology Solutions, a part of Eureka Forbes Limited, always gets flooded with cement. “In a cement unit, there is a lot of cement dust all over the place. Centralised vacuum systems connected by collection hose fixed at strategic points, enables recovery of cement fallen around.”

Several industries even today engage excessive manpower to collect spilt raw material scattered on the shop floor. As against mechanised industrial cleaning, the extent of time required for recovery and the quantity recovered by engaging manual labour is detrimental to any enterprise.

Applications of industrial cleaning differ from industry to industry. Within the pharma industry again, requirement for cleaning differs with different products. A toothpaste manufacturing unit would require high power suction system to suck out the trimmings, dropping after the paste tube gets cut during the production process.

In a typical automobile factory, the need for cleaning arises with the formation of bacteria in the sump containing oil and coolant. Metal chips dropping into the oil during the production process contaminate the oil and coolant, leading to foul smell.

“A suction-cum-blowing machine installed for sump cleaning in various automobile units has helped to a great extent,” said Ajeet Lalwani, Business Head, Del Star Pvt. Ltd. “Around 200-400 litres of oil and coolant in the normal process will have to be discarded in a week’s time due to contamination. The suction-blowing system sucks the entire liquid from the container attached to the production machine, filters the oil and coolant and sprays it back into the sump. This process that takes around 20 minutes, prolongs the life of the oil and coolant to over 15 days,” he added.

Suction-cum-blowing system implemented in engineering and automobile industries is cost-effective and time-saving as it reduces the frequency of oil replacement.

Thus, various industrial cleaning systems are being implemented to recover spillage of expensive raw material and recycle it back into the production system without stoppage of work. Apart from the common systems adopted in various industries, Forbes Pro Cleaning Technology Solutions has introduced certain specific and customised industrial cleaning systems in some of the leading industries which are explained below:

Hydro-jetting System

The hydro jetting system is the surface penetration of steel using high-energy water to remove coatings, corrosion products and other surface contaminants such as oil or grease. It relies totally on the energy of water striking the surface to achieve its cleaning effect. At present, there is a wide and liberal usage of process terminology throughout the marine industry – ship owners, ship repairers, contractors and paint manufacturers – which is confusing and in some instances costly.

Be it automobiles, ship repairs or buildings in the marine industry or oil rigs, contractors are engaged to maintain the structure through regular repairs and repainting. Paint residue in automobile industries or salt scales or rust on the walls of the ship cannot be scraped out. The sediments over a period of time solidify and cannot be removed easily.

Before these structures are taken up for painting, the surface has to be cleaned properly. Sand blasting method uses a compressor that hits out metal shots on the surface, and removes the rust and then the paint. But it has been banned because it causes high pollution.

The mechanised cleaning solution for fast and effective removal of paint deposits from trolleys, conveyor chains, brackets, clamps, grits, jigs sets & alignment frames, fixtures, booth floors, gratings, walls and ventilator inlets in the paint booth, is high pressure jet cleaning system.

The ultra high pressure cleaning machines with build up pressure up to 2500 bars sprays water on the affected surface through a gun fitted with a high pressure jet nozzle and rotating deck cleaner which removes the paint very effectively and fast. This is an internationally accepted method by all the multinational automobile industry.

In a typical paint shop floor, the vehicle body is taken up for spray painting in the booth which is an enclosed chamber. The paint continuously spills on to the floors which have over 100 grills and get stuck to the grills, jigs, fixtures and all the structures which come in contact with paint. Paint gets permanently stuck on the structures as its deposition gets thicker and thicker and becomes very difficult to remove. This is a very critical problem faced by all the automobile manufacturers and they cannot do the cleaning in-house.

Cleaning of these structures are outsourced to contractors who remove the paint by heating the structures in the oven for a long time and then manually scrape out the same. This is a very crude method of removing the paint from the structures as it consumes excessive labour, time (a week) and money as well and the quality of cleaning is not up to the mark. This also corrodes the life of the structures.

Forbes Pro has installed the ultra high pressure system at GM Motors, Pune, and is in the process of introducing the system at Maruti and Tata Motors. In the shipping industry, high pressure or ultra high pressure system is all the more useful because ships are taken up for painting every five years. The ship is taken to the dry dock where the repair & maintenance is done. The entire structure is cleaned, paint removed and re-painted. Removal of barnacles from the surface of the ship or removal of dust and water soluble salts on the surface which are not possible through sand blasting is done through hydro-jetting systems.

Advantages of hydro-jetting

  • Avoidance of spark hazard
  • Reduction of dust
  • Removal of water soluble salts
  • Removal of deteriorated paints, layer by layer if the inter-coat adhesion is bad
  • Roughening and cleaning of existing intact paint systems
  • Operational in unfavourable weather conditions.

Auto flux recovery & discharge system

This system is applicable in most metal working, engineering and fabrication industry. In certain special applications, where welding flux is being used as a catalyst during the process, a lot of flux gets spilled either on the floor or inside the machinery. The submerge-arc welding process requires continuous discharge of welding flux on the welding torch. During this process, flux gets collected on the floor underneath the machine and it becomes very difficult to reuse this flux. And this gets wasted.

The welding flux being hot cannot be collected manually immediately and put back into the system for reuse. During collection a lot of flux gets wasted and it’s also not reusable because it gets contaminated during manual collection.

Currently, there is no existing system to collect the spill and to re-feed it into the machine during the production process. Forbes Pro has introduced an automatic flux recovery and discharge system which is fitted on line to the flux welding machines. This system does the collection and recovery of flux during submerged-arc welding and recycling the welding flux back into the system during welding process. The spillage is picked up by the automatic machine, collected to a hopper and discharged back into the production system from the other end. Automatic flux recovery and discharge system has various flux recovery and discharge machines like 3A, 3B, 3C, etc. This is a small unit exclusively designed by Forbes Pro which is fitted on to each welding machine. The system operates on induction motor and runs 24/7. It has an inbuilt automatic filtration system with a compressed air line. Every two seconds the filter gets cleaned. Over a period of six months, the filter needs to be replaced. This is a maintenance-free machine that has been installed at Wheels India and other welding manufacturing units. At present, 10 machines are in operation in India.

Operating principle (diagram below):

  • The suction unit ‘1’ creates a vacuum inside holder ‘2’ which proceeds into the hopper ‘3’ and lastly, into the flux exhaust hose pipe ‘4’. The granular flux is still hot when it reaches the hopper and carries welding slag along with it.
  • Inside the hopper, the flux encounters first barrier ‘5’ that makes it drop into sifter ‘6’.  From there it passes into the zone below in order to be reused.
  • The sifter retains the welding slag.
  • The finer dust passes into the holding chamber & is retained by filter ‘7’.
  • Filter shaker unit ‘8’ on the holder frees the filter and the fine dust that settles there.
  • The machine can also be equipped with pneumatic filter shaker. In this way the filter cleaning is automatic and continuous. The machine is equipped with a gravity discharge valve and removable container

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