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Despite their surfaces being liberally coated with lubricating oil after emerging from power presses, stainless steel components for tankers are effectively cleaned in a six-minute cycle at Fort Vale, Simonstone, in an aqueous cleaning machine supplied by Turbex.

Components emerge scrupulously clean and oil-free, which is essential to ensure weld integrity when fabricating the pressed neckrings, manlids and associated bracketry.

Andrew Bryce, Director for Innovation and Engineering at Fort Vale confirmed, “Our customers manufacture tankers for transporting anything from hazardous petrochemicals to food and drink, so component parts must be meticulously clean to avoid contamination.

“Oil-free surfaces are also crucial to ensure that no corrosion traps are introduced during component welding processes. Any porosity or void in the weld can cause such a trap, which could mean food and drink becoming trapped, resulting in a hygiene issue.

“Without any solvent but just using water and detergent, the Turbex machine effectively cleans all of our pressed components, even though they are coated with a thick layer of oil when they come out of our power presses.”

Other parts are also processed through the Turbex AC-series cleaning machine, including press tools, valve components and some assemblies from the welding and maintenance departments at Fort Vale. The amount of cleaning required is often lighter than for the pressed parts, so a shorter cycle of 3 to 3.5 minutes is adequate to wash them.

Detergent is premixed with water in a doser pump unit before it enters the Turbex machine, where the solution is heated to 70°C to ensure efficient cleaning during the short processing cycle, which ends with a spray rinse and steam extraction. Door lift is automatic when the cycle ends and minimal effort is needed to move the table in and out of the work area to load and unload components.

On the company’s decision to opt for Turbex cleaning equipment for this application, Mr Bryce added, “Whenever we are looking to buy new plant and equipment we have a company policy of continuous improvement, which means we need to examine the marketplace to ensure that we acquire the best solution for our business.

“We noticed that Turbex was the only supplier that had embraced new technology and incorporated many additional features into their machine, whereas we felt that other suppliers were giving us the same solution that we had bought previously.”

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