Basket Case for Parts Maker Proves Sane Idea

Dürr Ecoclean’s Universal 81W chamber parts washer is for basket cleaning.


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Allan Tool and Machine Co. is a precision screw machine shop based in Troy, Mich., and, given its location in southeastern Michigan, it is no surprise that the company has been involved in machining parts for the automotive industry since 1955. Most of its business had been with the ”Big 3,” but in recent years a lot more of its work also has been in machining parts for OEM suppliers to the automotive industry and getting the parts ready for plating and coating.

Suffice to say, it is imperative that Allan Tool and Machine produce parts that meet the strictest cleanliness specifications. Any residual chips, oil or grind slurry left from the cutting and grinding processes can be problematic and costly during later assembly and installation, which could mean loss of business.

To handle its diverse cleaning tasks, Allan Tool and Machine decided on Dürr Ecoclean, Inc.’s Universal 81C and Universal 81W parts cleaning systems.

Removing Oil and Grease

Jeffrey Scott, president of Allan Tool and Machine, says the company chose the Universal 81C—with its alternative solvent-based hydrocarbon cleaning system—because it is best suited for removing oil and grease from the machined parts. He says the water-soluble cleaning from the Universal 81W is most

effective at cleaning parts that are centerless ground using water soluble coolants and for removing emulsion from finished parts.

Scott says a system from a different manufacturer that the company had been using often caused rusting problems, and it sometimes left water and impacted chips in the blind holes on some of the machined parts.

“It didn’t take a disaster for us to start looking,” says Scott, who went over to Dürr Ecoclean’s Wixom, Mich., facility and observed the demonstration model firsthand.

“I’ve been around parts cleaners a long time being in this business,” he says. “Once I saw the Dürr system and got to understand how it worked, I was pretty much sold.”

The Universal 81W is able to process 28 standard baskets per hour (more than 23 cu ft per hour), and delivers aqueous cleaning and part drying for batch loads and staged parts.

According to Dürr, most competing aqueous washers use only hot-air blowing to dry parts, but that can leave moisture on parts, which results in spots and wreaks havoc on downstream processes. In some cases, the moisture leads to batch rejects and scrapping of parts.

Hot-Air Blowing

The 81W chamber washer includes traditional hot-air blowing and adds efficient vacuum drying to deliver parts that Dürr says are totally dry. By drawing a vacuum on the batched parts, the moisture evaporates completely, even from blind holes and areas where blow-off air cannot reach, the company says.

The 81W is built-to-stock with two tanks. Parts cleaning is achieved through fluid agitation in Dürr’s rotating injection flood wash (IFW) chamber. Ultrasonics are applied to remove debris from difficult-to-reach cavities, and Scott says that is an important factor because, as with all machining applications, the grind slurry can get lodged in blind holes. And since these parts were ground with a water-based solution, the slurry will dissolve with water.

All tanks in the Universal 81W provide aqueous flood change washing, so Dürr says the wash solution is perpetually filtered and changed out to avoid recontamination by the wash solution itself.

Scott says the continuous oil discharge unit on the Universal 81C hydrocarbon machine recovers and recycles much of the oil used during machining. None of the systems Allan Tool and Machine used in the past allowed any type of oil recycling; the oil had to be hauled away as waste. The chip cyclone captures and separates the chips from the system and enables them to be removed from the system. Scott says this makes the filters last much longer and reduces maintenance.

Wide Variety of Parts

The aqueous Universal 81W stores eight cleaning programs, enabling customers to process a wide variety of parts in a single machine without retrofit. The cleaning programs are fully customizable and can be changed at any time. A start-up timer enables unattended warm-up before any shift. Operators like Scott appreciate the three-position manual load/unload conveyor provided for on the built-to-stock units.

When compared with the system the company previously used, Scott says he has lower operating costs in terms of water heating, detergents and wastewater treatment. He also is happy with the up-front capital cost of the Dürr equipment.

“It’s one of the few items that I have not suffered sticker shock from,” he says. “The price was extremely reasonable.”

Since Allan Tool and Machine has been so pleased with the performance of the two Dürr Ecoclean systems in its shop, the company also has chosen the Universal 81C for Scott & Itoh Machine Co., a joint venture with Japanese firm Itoh Seiko that is based in Madison Heights, Mich. In addition, one of Allan Tool and Machine’s suppliers, Acra Grinding in Sterling Heights, Mich., also purchased an Ecoclean Universal 81C, at Scott’s recommendation.

Scott continues to recommend Dürr Ecoclean for parts cleaning to people in manufacturing. “You know that it’s a good system,” he says. “It’s well made; it can handle pretty much whatever we throw at it.” n

For more information about Dürr Ecoclean’s Universal 81W chamber parts washer, please call 248-560-2100, email usa@ecoclean.durr.com or visit Durr-Ecoclean.com/usa/cleaning.