8 Most Important Things When Selecting a Parts Washer
In selecting an aqueous parts washer there are several factors to be considered. If price is the only thing that ”floats your boat”, you are setting yourself up for more than a few disappointments. Shopping around and comparing “apples to apples” will save your sanity and more than a few bucks.
#1 – The GPM of the Pump
One specification of the utmost importance is the GPM of the pump. As you shop around, you’ll find that most of the sales staff will quote the pump horsepower but rarely the GPM (gallons per minute). The horsepower of a pump is not indicative of the performance of an aqueous washer. For example, a pump with a five horsepower motor may only be rated at 45 GPM whereas a one horsepower of another style may pump 100 GPM. This is not to say the one pump is superior to the other, but that pump designs are varied for specific uses. Since an aqueous washer is more dependent on volume than pressure for a good cleaning performance, the GPM is the most important aspect of its pump.
#2 – The Heat Produced
Sufficient heat is another very important component of an aqueous parts washer. For a washer to operate efficiently, it should be equipped to MAINTAIN 170 to 175 degrees all the live long day. There is nothing more annoying in the busy hustle, bustle atmosphere of a repair and maintenance facility than to have to wait for the washer to get hot AGAIN!
#3 – The Right Detergent
There are probably more than one hundred detergents supposedly designed for aqueous parts washers. Be very cautious and selective about the detergent you choose. Since detergent is sold by the pound, many brands contain “fillers” that add weight but do nothing for the performance of the product. The dilution ratio will tell you a lot about the percentage of “active” ingredients versus “fillers”. The benchmark for a good detergent is a dilution ratio of one pound per twenty gallons of water. The same equation will work with powder or liquid. The dilution ratio is also an excellent indicator of the economic value of your detergent.
Two ingredients inherent in a good detergent are low foamers and rust inhibitors. Silicates are also essential as they will form a protective shield on the interior surfaces thereby enhancing the longevity of your washer by several years.
There are many detergents available that are safe for all metals. In today’s marketplace, those that require additives or are safe for only one metal are living on borrowed time as washer users become more informed about what is available to them.
A sufficient volume of fluid and heat combined with a good detergent are a must for a good performance from any aqueous washer. As the heated fluid is flooded over soiled parts, the metal expands, allowing the detergent to scrub them clean. The proper fluid volume and heat will also cut down on the wash cycle time which directly results in lower operating costs.
#4 – The Right Size Reservoir
In days of yore, a large capacity reservoir, was an advantage because it allowed the washer to run longer periods of time between oil saturation points. When a certain saturation point was reached, the washer required draining and cleaning or the oil would be pumped right back over the parts being cleaned. With the advent of the oil skimmer, oil saturation is no longer a problem and large capacity reservoirs have become a deterrent because of the operating costs to heat these dinosaurs. Therefore if a salesperson starts spouting about a large reservoir being an asset, hang up immediately or RUN to the nearest exit.
#5 – A Regularly Scheduled Cleaning Program
A regularly scheduled cleaning program is a must in prolonging the life of an aqueous parts washer. I have never heard of anyone enjoying this task but if the washer is designed to be dismantled so as to have easy access to the tank, the job is not quite as detestable. Regular and thorough cleaning will add years to the life of your washer.
#6 – Availability & Access to Replacement Parts
Access to replacement parts is a very important aspect to keep in mind when selecting a washer. Sooner or later something is going to wear out and waiting for a replacement part to arrive from Sweden or Japan is not a scenario you would wish on your fiercest competitor. Being able to obtain “consumable” parts locally is, of course, the most desirable option. A few companies do have satisfactory expedient “factory” parts departments. An inquiry at the start of your shopping expedition concerning their parts availability will save you a lot of grief in the long haul.
Technical assistance is another important ingredient in selecting your parts washer. Being able to get the correct information for repair adjustments or parts replacement is vital to the performance and efficiency of any washer. The ability to reach someone on the phone who can guide you through any problems that may occur will naturally give you more confidence in yourself and your washer.
#7 – Efficient Design
Simplicity of design is something to be considered very carefully. Many engineers get carried away with their own mental prowess and needlessly complicate things beyond comprehension. The control system on an aqueous washer does not have to be complicated to do everything required of it. Look at any washer with the premonition that one day you will be required to repair or trouble-shoot that machine. If what you are
observing looks more complex than you were expecting, you are probably observing “engineering overkill”.
#8 – Compare Washers Before You Buy
This would probably be a good time to acquaint yourself with several other brands to just see how they stack up. All washers are NOT created equal but it will be well worth your time to do a little “digging” to figure out just which ones are even in the running.
J. Wes Godfrey – TEMCO