Category Archives: Equipment

Magnetostrictive Ultrasonic Cleaning Succeeds Where Less Powerful Piezoelectric Ultrasonics Fail

Case Study: nPB (N-Propyl Bromide) Replacement

N-Propyl Bromide (nPB or 1-Bromopropane) is a toxic solvent often used in cleaning or vapor degreasing applications. As a suspected human carcinogen and proven animal carcinogen, it has been targeted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for risk evaluation and the European Union has banned it’s use without authorization after July 4, 2020. It is clear that nPB use will soon be banned or greatly restricted and existing users are encouraged to look for a replacement.

Companies presently using nPB are searching for safe, economical and effective replacements for nPB and Magnus Engineered Equipment has been successful in assisting customers to replace nPB with less costly, non-hazardous chemistry while accomplishing the same or improved cleaning. The following is an example where Magnus Engineered Equipment helped a customer develop a cleaning process utilizing nPB and then further helped them replace nPB with non-hazardous, environmentally friendly chemistry.

Highly crosslinked polyurethane is one of the toughest and most durable polymers, and producers often mold this material into usable items such as wheels for roller coasters and skateboards, hoses and automotive suspension bushings. The molds can become contaminated and cleaning the molds is a difficult and time-consuming process.

MEE worked with a customer to develop a chemical cleaning process for their polyurethane molds (steel and aluminum). Previously, a media blasting method was utilized to clean the molds and the process required mold dis-assembly and up to 4 hours of blasting. Using MEE Powersonics, the world’s most powerful magnetostrictive ultrasonic cleaning technology, MEE was able to demonstrate mold cleaning in less than 5 minutes with no mold dis-assembly. (This result was not achievable with less powerful piezoelectric ultrasonic cleaning). With this success in hand, attention was directed at finding a safer chemistry. Powersonics coupled with Acrastrip chemistry by US Polychem was able to replicate the performance achieved with nPB. Acrastrip is a water-soluble, non-hazardous environmentally friendly cleaner that was designed to replace acetone, toluene, MEK, Methylene Chloride, Xylene, MIBK, NPB, Ketones, and other petroleum-based products. In addition, Acrastrip is HAPS free, biodegradable, non-flammable, non-toxic, pH neutral and recyclable.

A Polyurethane mold cleaned with powerful 20 kHz magnetostrictive ultrasonic technology and water-based Acrastrip cleaner

The cleaning tandem of MEE magnetostrictive ultrasonics and Polychem Acrastrip is one example of how MEE can assist customers who are looking to replace nPB with a safer, more cost-effective and quality cleaning operation. MEE Powersonics is the world’s most powerful ultrasonic cleaning technology and can often deliver successful cleaning where less powerful piezoelectric ultrasonics fail.

 

Engine Remanufacturing

Magnus Engineered Equipment (MEE) has been supplying cleaning equipment to leaders in the remanufacturing industry since the 1950’s. The remanufacturing process begins with a thorough cleaning of engine blocks and associated components so they can be properly inspected.  Removal of carbon, oil and grease, paint and other contaminants in necessary to inspect for microcracks and to make accurate measurements.  In addition, blocks, heads, connecting rods, crankshafts and camshafts are thoroughly cleaned to remove contaminants that can result in premature wear to internal engine components and early engine failure.

MEE has supplied thousands of cleaning systems to the remanufacturing industry and these systems generally employ immersion agitation to clean the substrates.  Recently, there has been interest in incorporating ultrasonic cleaning technology in order to more thoroughly clean oil passages and other hard to clean areas.

Ultrasonic cleaning utilizes transducers which convert electrical energy into acoustic energy in the cleaning solution.  Cavitation bubbles are formed which aggressively and quickly clean the substrate.  MEE supplies 20 kHz magnetostrictive transducers which deliver the highest cleaning power in the industry.  Unlike the more common piezoelectric transducers, magnetostrictive transducers are better suited for cleaning large substrates such as engine blocks, and MEE transducers deliver approximately 25 times more cleaning power than the 40 kHz piezoelectric transducers.

Figure 1 – A typical Heavy Duty Cleaning Tank for Heavy Loads

MEE equipment is well suited for handling large and heavy substrates.  Engine blocks in excess of 5000 lbs can be cleaned via immersion agitation and ultrasonic cleaning.  Figure 1 shows a typical cleaning tank supplied by MEE and Figure 2 and 3 show before and after pictures of engine components cleaned with MEE ultrasonics.  The use of 20 kHz ultrasonic cleaning coupled with immersion agitation cleaning delivers the most thorough and fastest cleaning for engine remanufacturing.

 

Before Cleaning After Cleaning with 20kHz Ultrasonics

Figure 2: Before and After Pictures of an Engine Block cleaned with 20kHz magnetostrictive ultrasonics

Before Cleaning After Cleaning with 20kHz Ultrasonics

Figure 3: Before and After Pictures of an Engine Components cleaned with 20kHz magnetostrictive

Keeping Your Cleaning Equipment Up-To-Date

Magnus Engineered Equipment strives to ensure customer’s expectations are met throughout the life of their Magnus equipment.  MEE stays engaged with customers throughout the machine life to ensure proper operation and performance.  It’s not unusual for customer’s to be operating 30+ year old cleaning equipment, and in such cases, MEE not only provides replacement parts but can also provide updated safety and electrical equipment.  After some years of operation, one customer encountered difficulties with pneumatic control panels.  The originally supplied panels utilized plastic air lines, however these air lines deteriorated due to frequent exposure to incompatible cleaning chemistries.  MEE stepped in and remedied the customer’s problem by supplying pneumatic control panels constructed with stainless steel air lines.  Like other wetted surfaces in the cleaning system, these control panels can now withstand the harsh environment and allow the cleaning line to function without issue.

MEE builds their equipment to be code compliant, but aged cleaning equipment can also be refurbished to encompass the newest controls, safety equipment and be fully code compliant.  Tanks which previously had manually operated lids can be retro-fitted with pneumatically operated lids.  Surge suppression can be added to electrical cabinets to make them compliant with the latest electrical codes, and pneumatic systems which are antiquated can be updated to the newest technology.  Sometimes, older cleaning equipment is re-purposed in manufacturing environments and with small additions, the equipment can be optimized for the new application.  An example is when a cleaning tank is converted from a solvent chemistry to a water based chemistry.  The minor addition of filtration and/or oil coalescence can greatly improve the cleaning process and deliver other benefits such as longer and more reproducible bath performance.

If you have an older cleaning tank/system that could use some maintenance or updating, contact MEE to see what options are available.