3 Factors That Make or Break the Quality of Your Parts-Cleaning Operation


Manufacturers must clean their metal, glass, and plastic parts before they can be assembled in an engine or other piece of heavy equipment. Choosing the right cleaning process and detergent can make or break the effectiveness of your parts-cleaning operation.

Before you start the parts-cleaning process, you need to know what type of surface you’re trying to clean (metal, plastic, glass, or other substrate) and the contaminants you need to remove, whether it’s oil, grease, carbon, scale, rust, or loose paint. With your surface and contaminants in mind, choose a wash system that will effectively remove the contaminants without damaging the surface of your parts. You may use a spray cabinet washer, a spray conveyor washer, ultrasonic washer, or a soak tank. From there, Seacole can help you choose the best detergent for your process.

Once you’ve determined parts type, contaminant type, and your washing process and detergent, you’re ready to get started. But choosing the right process and cleaner is only the first step. Time, temperature, and concentration are also the most important factors in how clean you’re able to get your parts.

Factor 1: Temperature

For many contaminants, hotter temperatures are better for effective cleaning, especially when you need to remove stubborn greases such as paraffin. Paraffin responds to heat much better than a cleaning chemical with high alkalinity and low heat. Some manufacturers try to run their parts-cleaning process on a low temperature to save on fuel, but low temperatures rarely get parts as clean as you need them to be.

Factor 2: Time

The more time your parts-cleaning process takes, the longer the spray jets in the machine or the chemicals in your soak tank are in contact with your parts. This increases the chances your parts will be damaged. It’s important to find a balance between time and temperature. Sometimes, you can increase the temperature and detergent to cut down on the time your parts spend in the cleaning process. Many manufacturers try to keep their wash temperatures as low as possible. This can save on fuel costs, but running a lower temperature often requires you to extend the wash cycle.

Regular inspections of your spray washers can make your parts-cleaning operation more efficient. Skim oils off the surface of your wash tank when the machine shuts down to keep your solution as clean as possible. Inspect your spray nozzles for clogs. Often, manufacturers don’t get a high-quality cleaning because 25 percent of their nozzles are clogged. Unclog nozzles regularly so your sprayers have good contact with your parts.

Factor 3: Concentration

Increasing the alkalinity or acidity of the bath increases the contaminants you remove. We recommend manufacturers start with a 3 percent concentration for normal cleaning, then increase the percentage until you get the cleaning quality you want. Test your system to make sure the bath has not become diluted, and log your results so you can predict when you’ll need to add more detergent in the future.

If your wash system includes a rinse tank, be careful how you rinse your parts. If you just open the door and take a hose and rinse the parts with a spray nozzle, your rinse water will run directly into the soak tank and dilute your solution. You can also lose concentration to evaporation if your tank vents to the outdoors. Watch the make-up water gauge to make sure your tank is filled to the right level and do titration to see if evaporation is affecting the concentration of your cleaning solution.

One last tip: Don’t be afraid to change your tank out. Manufacturers often don’t want to spend money on chemicals or getting rid of waste, but skimping on waste removal and tank cleaning results in cleaning your parts in dirty water. Filthy water affects how the wash works and your detergent will not work properly if there are too many dissolved solids in the water.

The chemical solutions experts at Seacole can recommend an appropriate cleaning process and detergent for your parts. We carry aluminum-safe and ferrous metal-safe formulations for most metal parts cleaning operations, but also carry detergents for unique cleaning applications. All of our detergents have rust inhibitors and defoamers built into them.

For help creating a high-quality parts-cleaning system or selecting the right detergent for your application, contact Seacole today.

Seacole Product Tags:

Seacole Product Tags:
Industrial Cleaners

7 Applications for Custom-Blended Industrial Cleaners

Industrial CleanersParts cleaners, corrosion inhibitors, defoamers, degreasers, detergents, and descalers—Seacole Specialty Chemical can formulate an industrial cleaner for your industrial process. Our custom liquid blending capabilities help you eliminate contaminants without damaging your products. Here are seven different applications for our custom-blended industrial cleaners. Which one might be just what your industrial process needs?

  1. Parts Cleaning

Gummed up parts on your assembly line or on your heavy equipment slows down production and can lead to down time and extra costs. Seacole can blend a parts cleaner formulated specifically for your process. We blend products that cut through oils and lubricants, printing inks, and protective coatings as well as detergents that are compatible with a variety of washer types, including ultrasonic washers.

  1. Corrosion Inhibition

Moisture can wreak havoc on metal parts during cleaning, storing, and shipping, causing costly damage and delays. We can blend a corrosion inhibitor to treat your products with rust protection before processing, cleaning, and storage. Our custom formulations are safe for ferrous and nonferrous metals and can be painted and heated as needed.

  1. Defoamers

Cleaning your equipment already slows down your industrial process, and foam buildup from your detergent can lead to even longer delays. A custom-blended degreaser reduces or eliminates foam in industrial parts washers. We can formulate a product for you that is ideal for long spray-wash cycles or high temperatures.

  1. Detergents

When conventional, off-the-shelf detergents just aren’t strong enough to remove the dirt from your heavy equipment, facility, or fleet, it’s time to blend a custom detergent. Seacole can create an acidic or alkaline formula to fit your needs, including pressure washing and steam cleaning applications. Many of our detergents can be blended to be environmentally friendly and biodegradable to make cleanup hassle-free and safe.

  1. Descaling and Etching Cleaners

Many industrial processes create scale, rust, oxides, and mill that can be difficult to remove. Descaling and etching cleaners can strip the scale away without harming your product. Seacole can blend descalers that are safe for ferrous and other metals, even when applied multiple times. We can custom blend an acidic or alkaline formulation just for you.

  1. Degreasers

Oils and lubricants leave a tough-to-clean grime on your heavy equipment and vehicle fleet. Seacole can blend a variety of degreasers to meet your needs, from heavy-duty degreasers for spray or immersion to mild detergents that work hard but are safe for the environment and multiple surfaces.

  1. Your Custom Cleaner

When you can’t find what you need in your other supplier’s catalog, it’s time to call Seacole Specialty Chemical. Our custom liquid blending experts can formulate a special product just for you, from release agents for particleboard to paint stripper for polymeric and epoxy coatings. Contact Seacole today to discover how we can liquid blend a custom industrial cleaner to serve you better.

Seacole Product Tags:

Seacole Product Tags: