Keeping parts and components clean is a common aspect of manufacturing. But industrial cleaning products are generally corrosive and flammable. Their use and storage pose a risk to companies. A serious accident at work or a fire on site and an organization risks losing much more than its reputation. That’s why more and more companies are choosing to take advantage of parts cleaning services that use gentler chemicals, but deliver equally impressive (if not better) results.
Manufacturing is often a messy business. Oil, grease, chips and other debris are inevitable parts of the production process. These are also things that must be removed before the product can be shipped – sometimes even during manufacture, ready for the next phase.
However, keeping customers happy isn’t the only reason manufacturers need to stay on top of cleaning their parts. By removing contaminants from tools and machines, companies increase the chances that their production will run efficiently and that the quality of their output will remain constant.
But while cleaning parts and components is usually a necessary part of manufacturing, it is both time consuming and potentially dangerous for company workers.
Now, some manufacturers are taking a rag and elbow grease approach to parts cleaning. But this does not always give the required results. As a result, potentially hazardous chemicals, such as brake cleaners and other solvents, are used to achieve the level of cleanliness required by the manufacturer.
However, like all employers, manufacturers have a legal obligation to ensure the health, safety and well-being of their staff. Moreover, by demonstrating that it respects its moral and ethical obligations to protect its staff, a manufacturer presents itself as a place where people will want to work.
But the handling and use of substances such as brake cleaner carry risks.
Fumes from brake cleaner may irritate the eyes. Direct contact with the skin may cause severe irritation. And prolonged contact can lead to permanent damage to the skin. Without proper ventilation, training and safety equipment, workers could be injured or suffer long-term effects.
And accidents happen, unfortunately. According to a 2015 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1999 and 2008, 57,975 incidents of hazardous substances in the workplace occurred. Chemical manufacturing, educational services, truck transportation, food manufacturing and utilities accounted for more than a third (36%) of those injured.
This reality has a direct impact on the productivity of a manufacturer. After all, injured workers who cannot come to work cannot contribute to the success of the business. In addition, their absence can put additional pressure on other employees in a company, which can lead to further absences.
Finally, many cleaning products are highly flammable, which presents another risk in itself. Storing these chemicals safely to prevent them from posing a fire hazard is another thing manufacturers need to consider. Additionally, the storage of hazardous and flammable industrial cleaning chemicals could impact a manufacturer’s insurance premiums.
But there is moreâ¦
Industrial accidents involving chemicals don’t just have the potential to injure workers. If made public, they can also lead to extremely negative public relations, as well as potential litigation. For businesses, this double whammy of having to pay legal fees and possibly compensation, plus the additional damage caused by bad publicity, makes the possibility of a workplace accident potentially catastrophic for a business.
So, is there a better, safer way to meet manufacturers’ parts and component cleaning needs?
Parts cleaning as a service: a safer alternative
Gone are the days when manufacturers had to define, purchase and maintain their own parts cleaning equipment. Now, companies can have their parts cleaning needs assessed and easily implement appropriate solutions.
Parts cleaning is not only an efficient and cost effective service, but it is also safer for a company’s employees.
This is because advanced parts cleaning companies, like Safetykleen, have invested a lot of time and money in developing solutions that
With parts cleaning as a service, manufacturers can also take advantage of the latest technology without the need to clean and maintain their own cleaning machines. As part of the service, the parts cleaning solution provider will take care of the maintenance of the equipment, the replenishment of necessary chemicals and the safe disposal of everything that happens in the process, thus further reducing the risks.
Overall, it’s easy to see how a service approach to parts cleaning can make an organization more productive and reduce the number of paid sick days taken by workers.
THE BENEFITS OF THE PARTS CLEANING SERVICE AT A GLANCE
- Extended parts cleaning solution specified according to your needs
- No need to use flammable and harmful chemicals or store them
- All equipment delivered, installed and tested
- Full training provided
- Regular machine maintenance carried out
- Any waste removed and safely disposed of by the parts cleaning service provider
Safetykleen in action
West Technology vacuum pump service often receives pumps through their doors that are coated with grease, dirt and heavy oil. All of this must be removed before West Technology can inspect the customer’s pump.
Historically, the company cleaned many of these components, especially the smaller ones, manually. Larger parts would be cleaned using an automatic machine. While this setup worked, it was not without its drawbacks and risks.
Heavily stained parts would often require manual cleaning, with workers using brake cleaner and abrasive scrubbing materials to remove stubborn stains. For worst-case situations, shot peening by an external third party was necessary.
While West Technology did achieve the required cleaning levels, the necessary processes involved significant downtime and required workers to use flammable fluids and a corrosive brake cleaner. This reality meant that the health and safety of workers was always a concern.
By implementing two Safetykleen solutions, Ultrakleen â¢ and Jetkleen â¢, West Technology now not only fully controls its cleaning capabilities, but also no longer has to rely on hazardous chemicals. Instead, all parts are now cleaned with non-hazardous, VOC-free neutral pH cleaning fluids, helping to improve the working environment.
As a result, a minimum of PPE is required, worker safety has been enhanced, and flammable cleaning agents do not present a fire hazard.
Safetykleen International is the world’s leading supplier of parts washers, surface treatment services and chemical applications. Founded in 1973, the company has nearly 50 years of experience in providing a wide range of solutions to meet the needs of manufacturers around the world.
Present in 11 European countries, including the UK, the company has over 2,500 employees and provides parts cleaning services that can meet a wide range of customer requirements across many different manufacturing sectors.
* All images are courtesy of Safetykleen