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High-Performance Aqueous Parts Cleaning System

"Leading engineers recognize the benefits of cleaning machined parts in aqueous-based systems," said Bill Westbrook, North American Operations Manager, MecWash Systems Ltd. "Water-based cleaning can achieve exceptional levels of cleanliness using chemicals that do not harm the environment. Water-based systems are also inexpensive to maintain compared to solvent systems."

"Some manufacturers believe that aqueous cleaning is fine for cleaning off coolant and other water-soluble contamination, and that only solvents can remove cutting oil, grease or paraffin," continued Westbrook. "This is not true. High-performance aqueous cleaning systems that employ the correct combination of process, temperature and chemical composition can clean a vast range of parts as well as or better than solvent-based systems."

Another belief is that parts made from ferrous metals must be cleaned in solvents to prevent flash rusting. "This also is not true," said Westbrook. "Aqueous chemical formulations are sophisticated and able to provide rust inhibition during the cleaning process and for a significant length of time after it, should the parts in question be required to sit in inventory for a period of time."

Westbrook noted that often a company started cleaning with solvents decades ago, back before aqueous cleaning made its many advances in cleaning performance. "Change is seen as high risk, but in reality, it is the status quo that brings risks to the business," he said. "With each passing year, more solvents employed in vapor degreasing are falling under EPA review. Many of these solvents have been found to pose unreasonable risks to workers in manufacturing environments who have both direct exposure (i.e., workers manning parts cleaning stations) and indirect exposure (i.e., workers in proximity to parts cleaning stations). Under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), the EPA is reviewing the use of trichloroethylene (TCE) and other toxic chemicals, which have long been regulated for their harmful emissions. The consensus is that TSCA review of these and other chemicals will increase and regulations will become stricter."

Westbrook continued, "At the state level, Minnesota was the first to outlaw the use of TCE in industrial and commercial applications, and New York now has a law that prohibits the use of TCE as a vapor degreasing solvent. Other states are expected to tighten restrictions and even outright ban the use of a number of solvents in industrial applications.

"The answer to these myriad solvent regulations is not to try to stay one step ahead of the EPA by hopping from one solvent to another. The answer is to go aqueous. At MecWash Systems, many of our customers have moved completely away from solvent-based cleaning systems and now depend on our aqueous equipment to clean ferrous and non-ferrous parts of oil-based and water-soluble contamination."

For example, Husco International, a manufacturer of automotive and off-highway hydraulic components, has purchased more than a dozen MecWash machines to clean numerous cast iron part designs at its manufacturing facilities in the U.S., the UK and China. The same is true for Woodward, which cleans cast iron pump housings and associated parts in extended-chamber MecWash machines in its Loveland, CO, facility as well as in Germany.

"For many applications, high-performance, water-based cleaning is the optimal method to clean a full range of parts to a high degree of cleanliness," said Westbrook. "Our systems are relied on for countless aerospace, medical, hydraulic and automotive applications."

Depending on throughput requirements, MecWash Systems offers three systems: the high-performance aqueous MecWash MWX, the Maxi and the AVD. For details go to

For more information contact:

Bill Westbrook

MecWash Systems Ltd.

17598 Merry Oaks Drive

Chagrin Falls, OH 44023


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