Coming Clean On Parts

This month’s Products Finishing magazine debuts our expanded coverage of parts cleaning processes, including products, news and technology about everything cleaning.


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This month’s Products Finishing magazine debuts our expanded coverage of parts cleaning processes, including products, news and technology about everything cleaning.
We’ve heard for many years that the best way to produce a great finish on a part is to start with great cleaning process. We couldn’t agree more, and that’s why this month and several more times this year we will expand our usual coverage on cleaning parts to include more news and information, resources, and the latest technology that keeps us all up-to-date.
And we couldn’t kick off our inaugural parts cleaning section any better than featuring an outstanding article by two of the foremost experts in surface cleaning, Dr. Darren Williams and Dr. Anselm Kuhn, who have co-authored a story in this issue titled “Is It Clean?” about the techniques and tests used to determine cleanliness of surfaces.
Dr. Williams is an associate professor in the chemistry department at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, and has done extended research on understanding exactly how clean is clean. As if the classes he teaches don’t say enough—quantum theory and spectroscopy, statistical thermodynamics, chemical and phase equilibria, transport phenomena, nuclear chemistry and kinetics—he also has authored more than 20 papers on a wide range of subjects in surface engineering.
For the last 12 years, Dr. Williams has used his background in modeling, spectroscopy and instrument design to study solvent blending, solvent substitution, material compatibility, material color‐changes, cleaning efficacy and cleaning verification. His most recent work has emphasized the utility of camera‐equipped cell phones for cleaning verification, which he touches on in his article this month.
Dr. Kuhn, who has his master’s and PhD degrees in chemistry from Oxford University, is well-known in the finishing circles for his expertise on cleaning. His groundbreaking 1993 research document on surface cleanliness has been heralded as the foremost paper on techniques for testing cleanliness, and he also is known for his 567-page behemoth book, “Techniques in Electrochemistry, Corrosion and Metal Finishing,” which was written in 1987 and also was hailed as breakthrough research.
Kuhn’s latest endeavor is the website surfacequery.com, which has more than 130,000 abstracts covering electroplating, electroless plating, pickling, etching, conversion coatings, printed circuit board manufacturing, painting, hot-dip galvanizing and powder coating, as well as the analysis and testing of surfaces or solutions used in surface finishing.
Needless to say, their article this month is a “must read” if you want to understand how to properly clean parts in preparation for coatings and finishes.
Our focus this month is powder coating use in the military, and we have some interesting information on how the U.S. Navy is starting to use more of the products in its ship-building endeavors, including on the new U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford that is being built in Norfolk, Va. In fact, last year the Navy re-christened its powder coating facility there and brought it back to life to service the ships and equipment that are constantly fighting corrosion issues.
We also are previewing the Electrocoat Association’s annual conference, which will be held April 11-12 in Orlando. DuPont’s Joseph Subda provides us with great insight on how finishing companies can add an e-coat line to their existing powder coating facilities in just a few steps by reminding all finishing shop owners: “You’re not in the finishing business, you’re in the money-making business.” Here, here to that.