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How to Design a Remanufacturing Cleaning Process

In previous blogs, we went over the terminology and chemistry we need to understand to discuss and design an updated cleaning process. We also examined the main reasons for updating the remanufacturing cleaning process with new technology: Cost savings, greater cleaning effectiveness, easier waste disposal, and increased safety. This last subject covered the problems created when high alkalinity is used for a one-size fits all approach to cleaning multiple types of soils. 

So how do we move past the difficulties created by old tech and/or high alkalinity and ensure that each input to the remanufacturing process becomes effectively clean at a reasonable cost? Let’s review some first steps for designing a new remanufacturing strategy.

Design From The End State

It may seem counterintuitive, but often the best way to design or improve a cleaning process is to start from the end, or more properly, the product’s end state.

Does the customer have a cleanliness or performance specification you’re required to meet? If so, make sure you and your staff understand exactly what is being requested. And unless the specification is one that was issued recently, now is an excellent time to review it with the customer and see if changes should be made. That way, your process will be designed to spec and you won’t need to make changes later.  

In addition to the basic cleanliness standard, there should be agreement on what constitutes success. Here are some typical questions you’ll likely need to consider for your operation:

  • Can processing time be reduced by changing the cleaning process?
  • If the time spent cleaning the product increases or decreases significantly, how will that affect your general workflow? 
  • If it decreases (which is more likely when redesigning a process) will there be ways you can use your workforce more efficiently?
  • More specifically, are there limits on throughput time your cleaning process will have to meet?
  • What amount of rework will be acceptable?

Creating A Cleaning Program To Match Your Goals

Next, with these standards, goals, and considerations in hand, it’s time to begin defining the cleaning process. Consider the incoming parts that need to be cleaned:

  • What metals are they composed of? 
  • What soils are on the incoming parts? 
  • Will paint need to be removed? 
  • Will there be a need to remove other coatings, such as a rust preventative? 
  • The incoming piece will likely be divided into subassemblies at some point; will they be different enough in nature that they will need separate cleaning processes? 
  • Is there rubber, a rubber substitute or other non-metals on the parts that will affect your choice of cleaner?
  • Lastly, what waste treatment process will be used for the spent fluid? What processes will need to change if treatment requirements change?

Good First Steps Lead To Great Results

Changes to your cleaning process will require significant thought and planning, and perhaps a number of layout and workflow changes. However, if they deliver cost savings per part in the long run, the result will be more than worth the trouble.

To get the full picture on these new technologies and how to use them, download our free white paper, Remanufacture Cleaning—Problems, Solutions and Control.

Download free remanufacturing whitepaper

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