Better in Motion
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By carrying out a systematic validation of aqueous parts cleaning processes it is possible to make them more efficient. Improvements can also be achieved by moving the parts that are being cleaned.
As a manufacturer of compact machines for aqueous parts cleaning, Mafac works closely on identifying areas where the technology can be improved and on selecting the best possible process for each individual application. The principle of systematic validation has proved to be the ideal approach. Joachim Schwarz, Director of Technology and Head of Development at Mafac, describes what happens: “We investigate the effects of existing process technologies in order to establish the contribution that they make to an environmentally friendly cleaning and drying process.”
The company uses pre-defined parameters which enable the individual stages of the process to be compared. One important goal is to identify less efficient processes and to ensure that they are no longer used in future projects. As Joachim Schwarz explains: “The results of this work are incorporated into the process of designing reproducible, energy-efficient and resource-saving procedures.”
Simulating bionic processes
An approach of this kind inevitably involves mimicking bionic processes and implementing them in machines and systems. According to Joachim Schwarz, natural processes are always sustainable and energy-efficient. This type of process is investigated first on a laboratory scale and then on a real-life scale in the company’s own machine laboratory. The goal is to improve the efficiency of the individual cleaning, drying and bath management processes.
Research project on kinematic cleaning
Mafac is also working together with universities to improve aqueous parts cleaning procedures. The company took part in a cooperative project with the University of Stuttgart lasting several years on the subject of kinematic cleaning, which has now been completed. Joachim Schwarz explains: “The main aim of this project was to develop new technologies for cleaning and drying parts in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. The focus was on shortening process times and improving energy efficiency.”
The results of the project showed that the systematic movement of components significantly reduced the processing times for cleaning and drying. For example, operating Mafac’s rotating hot air flow drying system reduces the overall energy use by 45% when compared with a stationary drying system. This has no effect on the reproducibility of levels of cleanliness and dryness, which was also demonstrated by the results of the research. In addition, by introducing mechanical effects, the amount of chemicals used could be reduced dramatically and energy efficiency could be improved. Mafac is able to demonstrate this process in its own machine laboratory using a standardised test series involving a comparison with current technology and to test the process before release.
On the basis of the results of the research project, Mafac is currently developing a new machine technology which will significantly improve parts cleaning and drying and energy efficiency in high-end applications. The new machines will be available from the autumn of 2013. In the medium term, the findings of the research project, in particular with regard to energy efficiency, will also be incorporated into the manufacturer’s standard machines.