PCx Show Promises New, Efficient Ways to Clean Parts

Exhibitors say customers want more effective parts cleaning. Today’s high-tech automated systems meet exacting standards.


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Almost all of the exhibitors at the Products Finishing-sponsored Parts Cleaning Expo and Conference April 21-22 in Columbus, Ohio, are projecting a greater demand on effective parts cleaning in the years to come.

“The parts cleaning market outlook is good,” says Parker Nickolay of CoolClean Technologies. “In recent years it has been dominated by aqueous and solvent cleaning, but new technology is fostering development of smaller parts with more complex geometries that will be more difficult to clean with traditional Cleaning Technologies Group, LLC, Ransohoff.”

Eric Borgstedt, marketing manager for Honeywell Maxon , says this year’s PCx show—which is being co-located with the Precision Machining Technology Show—will be his company’s first.

“With many older solvents being phased out due to environmental or safety regulations, solvent users are actively looking for an environmentally preferable solvent option they can rely on for years to come,” he says.

As the industry continues to move forward, Chris Schiele of Magnus Equipment said he sees the future in the parts cleaning market as a ‘one stop shop’ concept.

“By automating conveyors and reducing equipment footprints, we are able to handle cleaning, material handling, and finishing all in one place, using less space,” says Schiele. “As technology continues to advance, we see the one-stop shop becoming a more prevalent concept with parts cleaning.”





Associated with Machine Tooling

Parts cleaning is often closely associated with machine tooling, and companies such as MiJET and NGL Cleaning Technologies see a close correlation in shows like PCx and the PMTS event.

“We hope to see MiJET units sitting next to each CNC machine in the coming years,” says Diana Petranek, the company’s vice president of operations. “Even when larger, more expensive parts cleaners are used, initial cleaning with MiJETT extends the life of those units. Large units are also typically located some distance from each machine, so time is saved by doing an initial local cleaning and the messiness of moving dripping parts to a second location is reduced.”

Petranek says air quality is also becoming a higher priority, and an inexpensive device such as equipment her company manufactures can still allow operators to clean parts at the CNC machine without adding large amounts of aerosol mist into the air.

“Machine doors can stay closed longer, improving cycle times, while operators perform initial cleaning or cleaning for inspection,” she says.

Dave Melton with CTG Ransohoff, said their customers are being asked to do more.

“We are seeing that our customers are looking at more stringent particulate requirements,” he said.

The cleaning market within the tool industry is evolving together with new coatings coming out, says Francois Benis, sales manager for NGL Cleaning Technologies, adding that the company’s R&D department is constantly working on the different evolutions.

“Our customers and partners are always challenging us on new cleaning processes that will ensure the coating adhesion,” Benis says. “We are facing the same kind of evolution in Europe, and people are willing to tend more to ecological solutions, which we are trying to offer.”

Katie McGovern, Hubbard-Hall Inc.'s marketing and business development specialist, said her company is continuing to focus on very specific applications with equipment and chemistry designed for each process.  

“Environmental concerns will continue to put pressure on the minimization of industrial chemistry, energy and waste,” she said.


Repeat Exhibitors

Companies such as CoolClean are repeat exhibitors at PCx. They attended two years ago after hearing that there would be a specific exhibit showcasing all of the new parts cleaning technology.

“The dual exhibition between PMTS and the Parts Cleaning Expo enabled us to reach potential customers in two fields of interest for us: precision cleaning and surface preparation, as well as machine tool cooling and lubrication,” Nickolay says. “We found the show very useful as it exposed our products and technology to a new set of potential customers.”

Magnus Engineered Equipment has been at several PCx shows in the past, and enjoys the exposure to leaders in the automotive, aerospace, medical and defense industries, among others.

“We have been able to generate new leads and referrals, share best practices, and expand our business network,” Schiele says.

NGL’s Benis says that the PCx show has been very fruitful for his company, and it is becoming one of their most interesting shows within the U.S.

“We built quite a lot of relationships with potential customers,” he says. “It was also a very good way to discover the U.S. tool industry, actors and suppliers. Definitely a good start to develop business within this industry.”


High Hopes

Richard Farr of SevereClean Ultrasonics will be attending his first PCx as an exhibitor.

“We are, shall we say, ‘newbies’ to the cleaning expo,” he says. “Our hopes are very high at this current moment. We feel as though our ultrasonic tanks are just what consumers of this product line are looking for in today’s world.”

Farr’s company will be highlighting four different sized cleaners to the show: 6-, 11-, 18- and 70-gallon.

“Since we consider these as standard cleaners, we keep a supply of them right on the shelf ready to go to our customers' locations within 24 hours to allow a proper checkout to take place,” he says. “We manufacture these tanks all right under one roof, and this allows us to make changes with all of the tanks, translating to minimal lead-time differences with the original order.”

Bill McCormick, president of Serec Corporation, says his company has been exhibiting at the PMTS show for the past 10 years, and says it has proven fruitful for leads that lead to sales. He reports that Serec will be showcasing its industrial and precision cleaning equipment such as airless and vacuum solvent cleaning systems.

NGL we will be promoting its cleaning and stripping chemicals, including its Vacukleen line designed for cleaning before PVD/CVD coatings.

“They all are designed specifically to avoid cobalt leaching issues, which is one of the main problem faced when talking about cutting tools,” Benis says. “The stripping chemicals are designed to chemically remove coatings on tools without affecting the tools substrates.”


New Product Lines

Visitors to the PCx show who visit the MiJET booth will see a new air-driven device—no electricity required—designed for initial cleaning of parts right at CNC machines, due to its small footprint. Petranek says a hand-held air nozzle simultaneously triggers an air stream and a suction stream; the air stream blows lubricant and debris off, while the suction stream pulls everything downward and captures it for recycling into a container below.

The mess typically created when operators use compressed air to blow lubricant off onto the floor is now eliminated, along with the aerosol mist,” she says. “Air quality is dramatically improved while cleaning time and costs are significantly decreased. The exhausted air is filtered as it exits the unit.”

At CoolClean’s booth, the company will feature essential elements of its precision CO2 spray cleaning products, which include their Omega 1000 cleaning module equipped with an XY table to actuate the cleaning nozzle across the sample.

“We will be demonstrating our spray cleaning process, which has been utilized all over the world to remove particles, fingerprints, thin films, and prepare surfaces for coatings,” Nickolay says.

Ransohoff will have its Generation RB-1 machines on display in their booth. Hubbard-Hall is bring its solvent and water-based products.

Honeywell will have on display its Solstice Performance Fluid, a new fluorinated solvent that offers exceptional cleaning power while satisfying the long-term environmental and safety requirements of solvent users today.

Farr says visitors to the PCx show will be able to see all the latest parts cleaning technology under one roof. “With today’s world moving faster and stronger each and every year, we all are hearing of cutting costs and yet getting more product at the end of each day,” he says. “With adding these types of cleaning to your manufacturing, cleaning larger quantity products will no longer be just a vision it will turn into reality.”