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A Smooth Finish – Final Considerations for Remanufacturers Designing a Cleaning Process

In this series of blogs, we’ve examined the best practices for remanufacturing facility managers who need to update or even redesign their aqueous cleaning process, as laid out in our white paper, Remanufacture Cleaning: Problems, Solutions and Control. In this post, we’ll come into the home stretch and discuss two final areas to consider during a redesign.

Advances in chemical engineering and in environmental regulation make this the perfect time to invest in new methods. Improved cleaning reduces costs, making remanufactured products even more attractive to potential customers. An improved process will create less need for rework and recleaning, saving the costs from that extra work. Improved safety (and less likelihood of damage to parts) will be the result when you eliminate high alkalinity cleaners in favor of more modern methods. That reduces risk, training and equipment costs. And lastly, improved formulations are better for the environment, reducing compliance and disposal cos

Once you’ve decided to create a more modern process, considered your goals, obstacles, soils, cleaners and controls, there are a few remaining areas to consider:

Process Testing

Regular verifications will be beneficial for your operation and may be required by customers.  Aside from cleaning validation to ensure soils have been removed, your process needs to include these tests:

  • Cleaner Concentration: Measured on site daily by an operator. Measurement is often done with a simple titration, by refractometer, or by process monitoring equipment.
  • Fluid Condition[Text Wrapping Break]pH, conductivity, total hardness, other parameters on larger washers should be run on site if the customer has a small lab. Send samples to a customer service lab on a regular basis for process control verification.
  • Contaminant Monitoring [Text Wrapping Break]Oil and grease content, metal content, bacteria testing often performed at the customer service lab. 

Designing your testing process at the same time you design the cleaning process should prevent having to suddenly implement any new testing programs after the fact, and will help you smoothly integrate testing into the daily cleaning process.

Disposal Decisions

Despite tightened environmental regulations and the sometimes caustic nature of the materials, proper disposal of industrial cleaners can be handled economically with advanced planning. In fact, the advancing state of cleaner chemistry is making it easier to get excellent cleaning results with more environmentally friendly products.

When designing the disposal portion of your process, keep in mind that all process cleaning and rinse water must be treated before being discharged. Regulations require low levels of fats, oils, and grease. Lead, chrome, zinc and other metals are also restricted to very low levels. Most jurisdictions will also require a pH level between 6 and 10.

Before changing your discharge procedures, you may need regulatory approval from state and local agencies as well as regular testing from an approved environmental lab. Be sure to discuss discharge requirements before changing any cleaner in your process.

A Significant Project

Redesigning your cleaning process may be a relatively minor change, in which you assess your needs and decide all you need to do is change the cleaners you use. Or it may involve new equipment, an altered workflow and other significant changes. One thing you can be sure of is that with careful thought and good advice, you can realize an excellent return on your investment and per-piece costs.

You can also be sure the staff of Chemtool will be ready to assist you in your redesign. Begin by downloading Remanufacture Cleaning: Problems, Solutions and Control, and get in touch with us with any questions or requests.

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