OUR CLEANING PROCESSES
Through attention to detail and over 45 years of service, Southern Metal Processing is able to provide our customers with filtration and other equipment cleaning with repeatable, long-term economic benefits.
We are unique in that we maintain a variety of contaminant removal processes, each designed to provide the most effective, economic and safest method for our customer’s equipment.
We pride ourselves in the use of cleaning processes specifically tailored to provide optimum economics to accomplish the desired result while being aware of the criticality of its effects on performance, appearance, longevity and timely availability of equipment. Through this attention to detail and awareness of potential effects on issues such as filter media integrity, performance and cycle life, SMP is able to provide its customers with repeatable long term economic benefits.
Once an opportunity is realized for us to provide one or possibly multiple services, we first look at the chemistry of the contaminant. From this point, we look at the materials of construction of the components, method of fabrication and any critical details such as sealing surfaces, bearing surfaces, thermal limitations, etc. before a process is developed or implemented.
Some of our more frequently used processes are described below. While these or a slight modification is typically the most expedient or lowest initial cost due to reduced development or equipment and/or chemical availability, it should be understood that any specific or special requirements of a given cleaning challenge will be evaluated and implemented as needed. We are willing to develop new techniques and practices as required to meet a customer’s needs or specific equipment requirements.
We incorporate the use of DEG, TEG and other specialty solvents. Solvents are most effective in dissolving specific polymers and other soluble contaminants.
This cleaning approach is most effective when removal of contaminant is required from within the interstices of fine metal filter media such as stainless steel sintered fiber, sintered powder or woven wire mesh to facilitate the reuse of these expensive filtration medias. It has the added benefit of being the least aggressive process on the extremely small wire diameters that are used in the construction of of sintered fiber and woven wire mesh medias. It is also frequently the process of choice in cleaning of delicate metal components where distortion is possible with the use of high temperatures or damage to surfaces possible from abrasion seen in other processes.
Thermal Cleaning – Molten Salt
The oxygen free, dense properties of molten salt processing make it a safe and effective means of polymer removal for those polymers that do not lend themselves to solvent processing and are more thermally stable at higher temperatures such as polyethylene and polypropylene. In addition to the use in polymer removal, molten salt is commonly used for the removal of minor residual carbons from the filter media or process equipment.
Through our PLC system we are able to control the temperature of the salt to within 1° of the specified temperature.
Thermal Cleaning – Pyrolysis
Pyrolysis cleaning is often referred to as a “Burn Off” process. In this approach, a part is placed in a high temperature, reduced oxygen environment to remove the contaminant.
This process is very effective and economical in removal residual polymer on larger equipment such as filter vessel hardware, process piping, die blocks and large painted/epoxy coated parts.
Our proprietary aqueous based solutions are tailored to the specific need for cleaning and safe handling of the metal components.
In addition, it is often necessary to further clean or rinse components after solvent, pyrolysis or salt bath cleaning to remove residual contaminants and ensure the complete removal of residual solvents or salt.
We manage a number of proprietary chemical treatment baths specifically developed through our years of experience and involvement in the cleaning industry for these purposes. The chemistry and process conditions of these baths are monitored and controlled to ensure adequate cleaning and the safe treatment of components.
Our abrasive cleaning processes can be used in lieu of other options for various reasons such as chemical or thermal avoidance, or economic considerations. In such cases, Southern Metal Processing Co. Inc. has several alternative automated processes and equipment available to affect this cleaning requirement. Densities, particle sizes, metallurgies and impingement velocities can be selected to yield the most affective and economic solution to the cleaning requirement.
High Pressure Water Flushing
The use of high-pressure water is an essential process step in all processes that use solvent, thermal or aqueous chemistries. It serves as a means of flushing process chemicals from a filter which is required between process steps as well as is the best means of removing insoluble and/or thermally stable contaminant from the part being cleaned, such as silica and titanium dioxide.
This water is filtered to 10 micron @ 99.98% efficiency.