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MecWash systems hit standards for precision auto components

The MecWash Duo 600 installed at CastAlum’s Mid Wales plant

Component cleanliness is a key quality criterion in the motor industry.  Requirements are becoming stricter as each vehicle generation launches which is why more and more manufacturers are turning to MecWash and its proven aqueous cleaning and degreasing systems to deliver precision results, as well as reduce costs.

The Tewkesbury-based company’s systems are already being used to clean components destined for car makers such as Jaguar Land Rover, VW group, Aston Martin, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat, Renault, Porsche and Mercedes to name but a few.

With global emphasis being placed on reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption within the vehicle manufacturing industry, downsized engines which run efficiently with high power output are in demand.

John Pattison, managing director at MecWash, explains: “This trend for smaller engines has also been driven in the UK by rules that came into effect on April 1 2017 making it far cheaper to tax cars with the lowest CO2 emissions.

“The rising demand for these smaller engines means that components capable of withstanding extreme loads are in high demand and these are characterised by tight tolerances. This requires high precision components,which in turn brings increased sensitivity to contamination. Particles, even sizes down to 500, 200 or just 100 µm (depending on the component) can cause damage and failure leading to rework costs and reputational damage for the car manufacturer.

“The automotive industry has noted cleanliness standards on component drawings defining acceptable particle size distributions for many years. What is changing is that these specifications are getting tighter and also the OEMs are enforcing these standards far more rigorously.

“In order to fulfill these much stricter requirements, many companies who manufacture components for the automotive industry are choosing our aqueous component cleaning systems, with great success.

“Many of our customers are serving several of the OEMs, each with numerous engine and gearbox variants, as well as ever shorter product life cycles.  This means companies need a great deal of flexibility for individual part cleaning, which our systems can offer.

 “The MecWash process combines rotating components in baskets, special fixtures or plastic containers about the horizontal axis.  This means they can be utilised for different sized parts, making our systems very adaptable for manufacturers so they can support changing product lines as required.

“We also offer various wash processes, including simple rotational immersion and spray washing, or ultrasonics or direct jetting systems for complex components with blind holes, oil ways or water jackets.  So each system is tailored to meet the complexity of the washing challenge,” he added.

MecWash’s proven technology is already helping JVM Castings, one of the UK’s leading aluminium die casting specialists, which makes parts for car giant Jaguar Land Rover from its factories in Worcester and Tamworth, meet the highest standards demanded.The firm has installed several MecWash machines which ensure cleaning processes are as robust as possible. 

Nigel Phillips, senior engineer at JVM Castings, explains: “The problem was that our existing systems did not have sufficient capacity to cope with cleaning and drying the link shaft brackets currently being manufactured for Jaguar Land Rover.As we currently use MecWash systems, we know their technology is well proven so we were happy to follow their recommendation and invest in a Solo 400,” he added.

MecWash managing director, John Pattison, adds: “All of our machines are custom-built for individual requirements and, for JVM Castings, it was really important that the Jaguar Land Rover parts could be easily loaded as well as cleaned efficiently. We were able to supply a specially designed fixture that could be placed inside the Solo’s wash chamber.

“Once the parts are placed in this fixture, then the chamber is indexed through 180° and a second fixture can be loaded, allowing for greater economy of use as twice as many parts can be cleaned in a single washing cycle,” he added.

Another happy customer is Mid Wales based CastAlum which supplies parts to the automotive industry in the UK, Germany, Poland, Canada, Mexico and the Far-East for use in vehicles manufactured by VW group, Aston Martin, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat, Renault, Porsche and Mercedes.

CastAlum needed a machine able to clean a variety of parts, mostly clutch housings, but also to have flexibility so that any combination of different sized parts could be washed.

Richard Blythe, project manager for CastAlum, said: “We were installing a new production system and the MecWash Duo 600 was perfect for what we needed because it is a highly versatile aqueous cleaning system.

“Based on the well-established MecWash design of a rotating drum, within which components are held in tailored fixtures, the Duo 600 is able to clean both our large and smaller sized gearbox components in any combination of stacked fixtures.This particular model also has a 600x600 opening at the front to enable our larger clutch housings to be put in, again ideal for our needs,” he added.

John said: “According to the latest figures published byThe Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there were 1.7 million cars built in the UK in 2016 which is an increase of 8.5% and the highest output for 17 years. The strong UK demand and exports at record levels with more than 1.35 million cars shipped worldwide in 2016 make this a great sector to be serving.

“Both the statistics and tangible stories like the continuing success of JLR and the recent news that black cab manufacturer London Taxi Company is to open a new £300m plant in Warwickshire creating more than 1,000 jobs, means the future looks bright for component makers in the automotive sector.

“I would therefore urge all involved in the automotive supply chain to embrace the high cleanliness standards required and invest in their cleanliness systems to gain competitive advantage and grasp the opportunities in this buoyant market.” he added.

You can read the SMMT report at https://www.smmt.co.uk/2017/01/17-year-high-british-car-manufacturing-global-demand-hits-record-levels/ and to find out more about MecWash’s aqueous component systems please visit the website at www.mecwash.co.uk