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Zero defects achieved with aqueous cleaning.

Nestled in the hills of northern Georgia is the town of Oakwood, home of ZUA Autoparts Inc. Here, high technology machining and aqueous cleaning takes place as a daily ritual. ZUA is a combination Japanese and German venture, with the plant built from the ground up and state-of-the-art new equipment carefully selected for tight tolerance machining and precision aqueous cleaning.

ZUA produces steering gear components for nearby transplants and US manufacturers. The end purpose of ZUA's manufactured parts are assembly ready parts that are free of contaminants and aqueously cleaned for environmentally conscious customers without additional cleaning effort necessary in their plants.

During ZUA's extensive research for machinery and cleaning equipment, especially in the cleaning area, was the need for a precision aqueous cleaning system that conformed to strict German/Japanese standards. An ES-2 MultiClean Automatic Cleaning System built by SurfTran Cleaning Systems, Madison Hts, MI, with advanced German cleaning technology was chosen. ZUA's manufacturing engineering manager consulted with SurfTran to establish its requirements. Significant cleaning testing was done to develop different types of media for a wide array of parts to be cleaned. The ZUA team was particularly impressed that the ES-2 MultiClean system not only aqueously cleaned parts with deep and blind holes, but also completely dried the parts inside and out and beyond their specifications.

The ES-2 MultiClean system is used for aqueous cleaning and drying larger, steel, brass, aluminum, and plastic parts where cleanliness and dryness is essential. Closed-loop cleaning technology is frequently used in Europe to conserve expensive media and to provide an environmentally safe area for operation personnel. ZUA's ES-2 MultiClean system also has the benefits of push-pull ultrasonics that live right in the media, turbojet wash and rinse, hot air drying with programmable rotation, oscillation of the parts holding basket, and vacuum shock for drying parts even where deep blind holes exist.

The ES-2 systems large processing chambers use 29[inches]x19[inches]x12[inches] baskets with combined part weights up to 330 lb. The system is of stainless steel construction and features the Tank Management System (TMS) which brings the process to the parts, not vice versa. Its closed loop recycling of media through vacuum distillation together with Sludge Layer Control (SLC) removes oil and cleans media quickly and efficiently.

A typical cycle sequence of the ZUA ES-2 MultiClean would include the operator manually loading a special stainless steel basket with parts onto the load conveyor then selecting the proper cleaning program. The basket is automatically loaded into the system and is transferred into the first enclosed sealed chamber which contains ultrasonics and wash and rinse programmable cycles. After a predetermined time, the parts basket is unloaded from the chamber and moved to a second sealed chamber that contains hot air drying and vacuum shock drying for the final drying cycles. The cleaned and dried parts are unloaded and transferred by an enclosed semicircular conveyor into a clean room for assembly or parts packaging.

For more information from SurfTran Cleaning Systems, Madison Hts, MI.
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Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:May 1, 1998
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