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Industrial parts cleaning with aqueous media

That's clean!

Why the cleaning technology should be
determined by a specific application
and not by the available system technology

Introduction Technical cleanliness is becoming increasingly important

Whether in the automotive, aviation and aerospace industries, or in engineering: The quality of finishes is viewed throughout the world as a seal of quality in the development and manufacturing of high-end, innovative industrial products. It is clear that even the smallest contamination on components would literally mean "sand in the gears" in subsequent manufacturing processes.

Industrial cleaning technology is employed to reliably remove contaminants, from large to microscopically small. However, during supplier selection for a new system engineering requirements are not always given proper consideration. Or, the project scope is actually adapted to the performance characteristics of an already available, but limited, system. This results in marginal performance or a complete failure to meet the performance requirements in regards to quality as well as operating costs, throughput and flexibility.

But there is a different approach. We at LPW Reinigungssysteme GmbH in Riederich believe that the machine and cleaning concept should be designed to match a customer's individual application and not the possibilities of already available system technology.

„Qualified feasibility tests save trouble and money.“

Considering and testing everything

Requirement specifications are used as the basis to define tasks in regards to component cleanliness, throughput and requirements of down-stream processes.

The actual cleaning task is determined by its requirements on the necessary cleaning process and in combination with

The project discussions also cover

  • Central system versus decentralized stand-alone solutions
  • Energy efficiency, operation and secondary costs
  • Multiple uses of the same system technology
  • Future viability and upgradeability

Performing feasibility tests and cleaning trials with suitable demonstration systems can be used to reliably determine the appropriate cleaning concept.

Section 1Chamber or multi-bath technology: Comparison

When high throughput is more important than component cleanliness, the solution is frequently a central cleaning system in form of on open, multi-bath systems.

Pros: High throughput (15 to 20 loades/h, depending on requirements)

Cons: Lower filtration capacity, limited use of mechanical washing options such as flood volume and pump pressures, high operating costs resulting from increased maintenance as well as above-average energy consumption due to the open baths, limited capability to process different materials and/or apply different cleaning tasks simultaneously.

Conventional chamber technology with a single process chamber

Lower throughput, but highly effective thanks to:

  • increased energy efficiency
  • lower operating costs
  • more mechanical washing options
  • different media processing capabilities
  • various options for efficient media processing

The modular chamber technology however, offers a wide range of capabilities in terms of throughput and flexibility, while retaining the well-known advantages of the single-chamber technology.

The technical design criteria of a system should not only address the desired cleaning results and throughput but also the economic aspects, such as initial investment, direct and indirect operating costs and availability of the overall system. Also, the CPU change as utilization fluctuates plays a major role as well. Modular systems are ideally suited to incorporate all these criteria into the "total package".

Video: Process steps in multi-bath technology
Video: Single-chamber technology
„Cleaning systems have to adapt to customer requirements. And not the other way round.“

Section 2Modular customization

Adaptability of production equipment and systems is the key to success in industrial cleaning technology. The following are key factors:

  • Standardization reduces the risk of technical, can contribute to reducing operating costs and offers a variety of options to increase energy efficiency.
  • The capability of the standard components to be combined with other components makes configuration of a custom solution easier.
  • Upgradability can easily be incorporated into the planning process.
  • System design can adapt to customer's service and maintenance requirements.

Modular system technology, as developed and manufactured by LPW Reinigungssysteme GmbH, offers a wide range of relevant options and can be tailored to become an integral part of existing processes. This applies to simple intermediate cleaning (e.g. degreasing, chip removal and drying) as well as complex final cleaning tasks for particulate and lubricant films.

Video: Example of maintenance access

Modular components and capabilities to make this possible

Standard process chambers designed for the majority of applications (Schäfer boxes 1 and 2 as well as oversize), suitable for cleaning and drying processes of any kind.
Storage tank system with proven monitoring systems for media circulation and levels. Designed for either electric heating, gas heating or external heat sources.
Adaptability to all common drying processes.
Ultrasonics in various power and frequency ranges, pump capacities of 2 to 100 m³/h with pressures ranging from 2 to 20 bar.
Task-specific full-flow or by-pass media processing systems.
Integration capability of components for ultra-fine cleaning for more demanding cleaning tasks.
Configuration with any combination of media storage and process chamber modules possible as well as option to expand. Upgrading options.
Standardized automation/loading solutions which can be adapted for all configuration options without significant additional cost.

Section 3Up-to-date and sustainable automation solutions

The automation is the link between upstream and downstream processes. It has to meet all aspects of both current and future tasks and must be equally robust and secure a constant technical availability.

Automation for cleaning equipment must have the following specific characteristics:

  • Needs to suitable for baskets and pallets
  • Sufficient dimensional tolerance for handing/transferring goods to/from the process chamber
  • Ability to separate dirty and cleaned goods
  • Components located in wet zones have to be resistant to media and contamination
  • Temperature resistance in drying zones
  • Anti-corrosion surfaces

For simpler specifications classic roller conveyors with customized load stations might be sufficient. For these types, modularization and standardization are easily achievable, even with different characteristics and load ranges.

For more demanding tasks, like multi-stage cleaning processes with multiple load stations, the conventional types use a large number of individual components (inverters, loading systems, separators, etc.) and can involve very complex technology.

Adding additional requirements, such as the separation of cleaned/non-cleaned goods or intermediate and final cleaning in single-part processing on the same system, conventional solutions quickly reach their limits. The technical risk increases and ultimately affects the availability of the overall system.

In such cases modern solutions reduce the technical complexity to a few individual and reliable processes

One variant of this is the LPW shuttle transport and loading system with a horizontal longitudinal axis on which a loading/unloading shuttle with separate positions for cleaned and dirty loads handles all transfer and loading tasks.

It can also dispense with a large proportion of basket stops and can also allow the reliable cross-transverse of carriers. The shuttle is modular and can easily be tailored to current and future project requirements at low cost.

Video: Example of the procedure in a process chamber
Shuttle video
„Everything is possible.“

Section 4Selection process with the modular concept

Application example: Aluminum die cast, free of burrs, maximum particle size 200-300 micron. What do I need? Which cleaning technique is the right one?

What requirements does this application have on process and system?
We use feasibility tests to verify the appropriate cleaning/drying process. This determines the method. We also consider capacity requirements and other factors to determine the appropriate system concept.
What would the system look like for a temporary production requirement of 6-8 loades?
A required capacity of 6 - 8 loads/h can be covered with one process chamber at the current part condition.
What will happen if I need to process another component with similar requirements? Will I need two of these systems?
If this is part of you requirement we can increase the capacity of this system by up to 80% by integrating a second chamber. Chamber 1 would perform the cleaning task as chamber 2 would be used for rinsing and drying.
How does this effect capital investment?
Capital investment increases by approximately 40 - 60%, depending on the version and the automation level. However, the space requirement remains almost the same. Moreover, this system has the same base-load costs as the single-chamber version. With appropriate automation, handling and personnel costs can also be reduced significantly.
We expect cleanliness requirements to tighten in the coming years. In addition, our current follow-up process requires components to be spot-free and completely dry.
With the integration of an intermediate rinse process in chamber 1 and configuration of chamber 2 as a fine cleaning module with integrated vacuum drying, these objectives can be achieved easily.
Is standard filtration sufficient for this task?
Conventional full-flow filtration provides high quality filtration results for particle count. Additional media processing systems can reduce oil or emulsion content and ultrafine particle counts to the required level. Amongst others this is relevant for spot-free cleaning. In addition, appropriate media treatment can significantly extend the life of the media and thus maintain consistent cleanliness levels over long periods of time.
What other options do we have to reduce cycle time or to meet tighter cleanliness specifications?
Both requirements require longer processing times. The most economical way is to decouple the relatively long drying time from the cleaning process by using a separate processing chamber.
Can you design any size system using the modular concept?
Basically, yes. However, conventional automation solutions limit the possibilities. Modern shuttle automation is the solution here. Nevertheless, bottleneck effects of the automation have to be considered. Theses bottlenecks can be significantly reduced by using partially or fully redundant system units.
„Modularity provides more flexibility and better performance.“

Section 5In practice

Application example 1: Tightest cleanliness specifications directly into the cleanroom

Industry Automotive / passenger car fuel injection systems
Tasks Cleaning, ultrafine cleaning, rinsing and cooling with automation into cleanroom for assembly
Components Various steel/stainless steel components after machining
Load size 670 x 480 x 300 mm
Load weight max. 150 kg
Throughput 10-14 loads/h
Requirement Free of chip, phosphate coated, dry


Separation of main cleaning from rinsing can provide a complete process almost entirely free of carry-over. In addition, splitting the process results in a decrease of cycle time which could be used for additional process steps.

2 process chambers
Chamber 1 with 1 cleaning tank/1 rinsing
Chamber 2 with 1 rinsing tank
Chamber 1, injection/pressure flooding
Chamber 1, ultrasonics 10 W/l
Full-flow filtration in all baths
Chamber 1, intermediate drying
Chamber 2, hot-air drying
Chamber 2, vacuum drying
Distillation system
Oil coalescer
Without integration of fine cleaning
Automation with conventional roller conveyor connected to a cleanroom
Cooling tunnel before cleanroom

Degree of standardization: 95%

Application example 2: Long-term preservation with aqueous media

Industry General industry/hydraulics
Tasks Cleaning, rinsing, long-term preservation
Components Steel components after turning
Load size 670 x 480 x 300 mm
Load weight 150-200 kg
Throughput 10-14 loads/h
Requirement Particle size, dry, long-term preservation


2 treatment chambers
Chamber 1 with 1 cleaning tank/1 rinsing tank
Chamber 2 with 1 conservation tank
Without mechanical washing
Chamber 1, ultrasonics 10 W/l
Full-flow filtration in all baths
Chamber 1, intermediate drying
Chamber 2, hot-air drying
Chamber 2, vacuum drying with condensate collection
Oil coalescer
Without integration of fine cleaning
Automation with conventional roller conveyer
Vacuum filling of process chambers 1 and 2

This system is designed for cleaning media with limited sparyability and mineral oil-based preservatives. The vacuum filling process enables the use of both of these media. The two-chamber design also protects the cleaning bath in chamber 1 from additional oil carry-over, thus reducing detergent consumption. The vacuum preservation process also ensures that the oil film is applied evenly on all surfaces surface.

Degree of standardization: 80%

Application example 3: Processing of single-load batches and ability to upgrade

Industry General industry/automotive industry
Task Cleaning/preservation after the TEM process
Components Steel/cast iron
Load size 670 x 480 x 400 mm
Load weight 200 kg
Throughput 7-8 loads/h
Requirement A Oxide-free, short-term/long-term preservation, dry
Requirement B Expandability with a second dual-chamber system
Requirement C Ability to process single-load batches


2 process chambers
Chamber 1 with 1 cleaning/rinsing tank
Chamber 2 with 2 rinsing tank
Chamber 1, injection/pressure flooding
Chamber 1, ultrasonics
Full-flow filtration in all baths
Chamber 1, intermediate drying
Chamber 2, hot-air drying
Chamber 2, vacuum drying
Oil coalescer
Without integration of fine cleaning
Automation with shuttle connected to 1 loading circuit, 1 unloading circuit and to a solvent cleaning/preservation; prepared for an additional 2-chamber cleaning system
RFID system, connection to central production control

Degree of standardisation: 80%

„Planning for tomorrow's tasks.“

Application example 4: All in one

Industry Automotive industry/injection systems
Components Central intermediate and final cleaning
Bauteile Steel/stainless steel components
Load size 670 x 480 x 300 mm
Load weight 200 kg
Throughput 6-12 loads/h
throughput: 6 - 12 loads/h based on task (5 million steel components per year, approximately 13,000 - 14, 000 loads. 30 million stainless steel parts per year, approximately 25,000 - 26,000 loads)
Requirements Component 1: Final cleaning of steel after machining and phosphate coating. Objective: Particle size < 250 cubed microns, corrosion protection for at least 6 months.
Component 2: Final cleaning of stainless steel after machining and brushing process. Objective: Particle size < 200 micron, spot-free.
Additional requirements Pre-/intermediate cleaning and final cleaning processes with one system, unstructured batch processing including single-load batches, cleaning and first rinse for all components in all programs, independent high-flow DI-rinse for stainless steel components, stand-alone drying for stainless steel components and corrosion protection bath for steel components


6 process chambers
5 tanks (cleaning, rinsing 1 - 3, preservation)
Chamber 1, injection/pressure flooding
frequency controlled pumps in circuits 1, 3 and 5
Chamber 1, ultrasonics 10 W/l
Full-flow filtration in all circuits
Chambers 1, 2, 3 and 4, intermediate drying
Chambers 5 and 6, hot-air drying
Vacuum drying in chambers 5 and 6
Oil coalescer, distillation system
Chamber 4 with ultra-fine cleaning module
Shuttle automation with connection to 1 loading/unloading circuit

Degree of standardisation: 100%

Video: The fully visualized menu navigation of the "Hexa" 6-chamber system

Your requirements
are our benchmark

The application examples show that, no matter what the process and capacity requirements are, customized systems based on modular configuration provide solutions for both large-scale centralized and smaller-scale decentralized tasks.

This sophisticated modularity provides the ability to configure a broad variety of systems to meet current as well as future production requirements. The limited complexity and great flexibility optimize the operation cost of these systems and reduce the technical risk.

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Or contact us directly:
info at lpw-reinigungssysteme dot de

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E.g. process suggestion based on feasibility tests (cleaning, rinsing, injection flooding, ultrasonics, filtration and hot-air drying)
E.g. Power Jet 670 T2 compact with manual loading (cleaning, rinsing, injection flooding, ultrasonics, filtration, and hot-air drying)
E.g. Power Jet 670 T2 Twin with automatic loading (cleaning, rinsing, injection flooding, ultrasonics, filtration and hot-air drying)
E.g. Power Jet 670 T2 Twin with automatic loading (cleaning with injection flooding/ultrasonics, rinsing, fine rinsing/ultra-version, filtration, bypass media processing and hot-air/vacuum drying)
E.g. Power Jet 670 T2 Triple with automatic loading (cleaning with injection flooding/ultrasonics, rinsing, fine rinsing/ultra-version, filtration, bypass media processing and hot-air/vacuum drying) separate in the 3rd process chamber)
E.g. Power Jet 670 T2 Triple with shuttle automation with optional/redundant extension capability (cleaning with injection flooding/ultrasonics, rinsing, fine rinsing/ultra-version, filtration, bypass media processing and hot-air/vacuum drying) separate in the 3rd process chamber)

imprint & privacy policy