Comments Off on How To Assemble Hoses And Seals With P-80® Temporary Rubber Lubricants
Cars, trucks, buses, locomotives, motorcycles, boats, airplanes, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers, pumps, construction equipment, conveyor belts, cable assemblies, and machines…What do all of these familiar items have in common?
All of them are composed of countless rubber parts that help them function properly and efficiently. Have you ever considered all of the uses for rubber hoses and seals? Without hoses, seals, grommets, O-rings and so many other rubber parts, most everyday items would leak, fall apart or otherwise malfunction.
Since rubber parts play such an integral role in product function and design, manufacturers have to be careful to assemble them properly to avoid problems down the line. While this sounds simple enough in theory, the reality is that assembling rubber parts can be quite difficult.
The slip-resistant nature of rubber makes it difficult to install, cut, remove or manipulate. Improper part alignment or installation can lead to part failure and safety issues. Repair and installation of rubber parts can take considerable physical effort and time.
Temporary assembly lubricants help solve this problem. When applied to rubber parts, temporary assembly lubricants reduce friction during assembly to make installation easier. Once dry the slipping action goes away and parts stay in place.
What is the best way to apply temporary lubricants to rubber parts? Brushing, sponging, spraying, dunking and dipping are all effective manual application methods. Since each assembly process is unique, the best method is often based on personal preference.
Watch this short video for International Products Corporation’s (IPC) suggestions for assembling hoses and seals with P-80® temporary assembly lubricants:
P-80 temporary assembly lubricants are water-based and do not contain alcohol or petroleum distillates, so they will not cause rubber to swell, dry out or harden. And, they do not contain silicon or other persistent ingredients, so once dry the slipping action goes away and parts stay in place. P-80 lubricants are free of hazardous ingredients, making them safe for workers and the environment. Most P-80 products are biodegradable.
Comments Off on Reclaiming Water To Maintain Future Economic Growth
How do you provide a consistent, high quality supply of water when you have a large volume ethanol distiller located in your backyard? The city of Fargo, ND came up with the perfect solution: reclaim water through the municipal wastewater treatment plant!
The wastewater treatment plant in Fargo, North Dakota has an auxiliary effluent re-use facility constructed specifically to produce reverse osmosis quality water destined for ethanol production. A local corn to ethanol distiller, Tharaldson Ethanol, requires approximately 1,000,000 gallons (3.8 million liters) of reverse osmosis water per day above the wastewater treatment plant’s normal processing volumes. Fargo’s wastewater control systems manager, Jeff Hoff, manages the effluent re-use facility to ensure this additional volume is met on a daily basis.
A key component of the effluent re-use facility is the ultra-filtration process, which uses 0.4μ polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) membranes with an upper pH limit of 10.0. These membranes are fouled primarily with petroleum sulfonates and bacterial secretions. Particularly in cold weather, the upstream BOD step has frequent “upsets,” where the bacteria die and secrete a water soluble foulant that adheres strongly to the PVDF polymer and significantly increases the trans-membrane pressure (TMP). These “upsets” must be resolved quickly to ensure a plentiful supply of pure water.
In order to determine the optimal cleaning regimen to resolve these upsets, Jeff systematically evaluated the performance of twenty different cleaners and hundreds of different combinations and concentrations, including commonly used commodities and many formulated membrane cleaners.
Jeff discovered that Micro-90®, a formulated cleaner from International Products Corporation (IPC), stood out because it performed better than all of the commodities and other formulated membrane cleaners, particularly on the bacterial secretions. What Jeff found most impressive is that this formulated cleaner worked effectively without the use of phosphates, silicates, and strong alkalis, at a membrane compatible pH of only 9.5, and at a 0.3 percent concentration.
Micro-90® is a mild, yet powerful, multipurpose, alkaline cleaning concentrate that is used for membrane cleaning as well as in laboratories, industrial applications, and critical cleaning processes. A unique chelating detergent, Micro-90® contains anionic and non-ionic ingredients which combine to produce a variety of cleaning actions. Micro-90® is compatible with UF, RO, Ceramic and NF Systems.
The Long-Term Success
This same formulation has been in use at Fargo’s effluent re-use facility since October 2010. Some of the original PVDF membranes are still used and continue to see significant TMP drops after cleaning. Although the bacterial upsets cannot be prevented, their fouling can be resolved in a predictable manner with the use of this formulated product.
The engineers at the facility recognize that using Micro-90® for regularly scheduled preventative maintenance and cleaning of the membranes proves to be an effective, safe, and economical method of keeping the plant running efficiently and the water flowing continually. Based on its effectiveness, safe profile, compatibility and economical cost per use, they have recommended Micro-90® to design engineers at similar effluent re-use facilities.
Comments Off on How Can You Help Customers Install Your Parts? P-80® To The Rescue!
Did You Know? P-80 Fun Facts…
Major manufacturing companies have used P-80 lubricants for years for the assembly of engine mounts, bumpers, seals, belts, bushings, O-rings, hoses, grommets, grips, plugs, moldings, tires and many other rubber or soft plastic engineered parts.
Did you know that you can help your customers to easily install those same parts? Simply include a tube of P-80 along with the parts in replacement and repair kits!
The slip-resistant nature of rubber makes it difficult to install, cut, remove or manipulate. Improper part alignment or installation can lead to part failure and safety issues. Repair and installation of rubber parts can take considerable physical effort and time.
What is P-80?
P-80 temporary assembly lubricants reduce friction during rubber assembly to make it easier to install parts. They are water-based and do not contain alcohol or petroleum distillates, so they will not cause rubber to swell, dry out or harden. P-80 lubricants do not contain silicon or other persistent ingredients, so once dry the slipping action goes away and parts stay in place. And, P-80 lubricants are free of hazardous ingredients, making them safe for workers and the environment. Most P-80 products are biodegradable.
P-80 temporary assembly lubricants are available in six different water-based formulas, so you can find the product that’s right for your assembly needs. There are even two special formulas that are registered with the NSF as H1 lubricants approved for incidental food contact applications.
A Win-Win Solution
P-80 is available in re-sealable 10 mL tubes that are perfect for inclusion in kits for repair or replacement parts. Companies that include P-80 in kits have found that less damage occurs to their products during repair or installation, saving money in the long run. Their customers are happy because the installation of the part is much easier. Since the tube is re-sealable, it can be used multiple times after opening.
Many jobs can benefit from the reduced friction and increased safety provided by P-80 temporary rubber assembly lubricants. Use P-80 to install or replace seals, grommets, hoses, valves, belts, bushings, grips, bearings, boots, bumpers, engine mounts, fuel lines, moldings, O-rings, wire harnesses, sleeves, gaskets and tires. Any time you encounter rubber parts…P-80 can help!
Comments Off on The ABC’s of Cleaning Validation: A Simple Primer
What is Cleaning Validation?
Cleaning validation is used to ensure that a cleaning procedure removes all trace soils, cutting fluids, fingerprints, particulates and cleaning agents from surfaces in regulated processes. Any residue must be removed to a predetermined level of cleanliness. Cleaning validation processes protect against the cross-contamination of ingredients from one batch to another, ensure that surfaces or devices are free of residue prior to any further sterilization process, and assist in ensuring product quality.
Cleaning validation is required for use in industries following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as outlined by the US FDA. Manufacturers in the pharmaceutical, medical device and food and beverage industries all use cleaning validation methods to ensure that their equipment is free of waste and that subsequent products manufactured on that equipment are not jeopardized by any remaining soils or soap residue.
FDA guidelines for cleaning validation require specific written procedures detailing how cleaning processes will be validated. These should include:
Who is responsible for performing and approving the validation
When revalidation is required
Analytical methods to be used
Documentation of the studies and results
A final conclusive report stating that all residues have been removed to the predetermined level
If any part of the cleaning process is changed, the cleaning validation process must also be updated.
Cleaning Validation Methods
Various analytical methods can be used to detect cleaner residues on equipment. Each method is unique to the specific cleaner used. Cleaner manufacturers should be able to provide detailed validation methods for their products.
Regulated industries rely, in most cases, on quantitative validation methods. Quantitative validation methods provide measurable and exact results, whereas qualitative validation methods involve more subjective methods, such as visual observations.
HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography)
HPLC stands for high performance liquid chromatography. HPLC validation methods can pinpoint exact ingredients. This validation method uses pressure to force a solution through columns to separate, identify and quantify each of its components.
The columns are filled with a solid adsorbent substance. As the solution is forced through the column, each of its components reacts differently to this substance. This results in varying flow rates for each component in the solution. The sample solution is separated into its individual elements by the rate at which they flow out of the column.
Once the individual components of the sample solution are separated, various types of detectors can be used for identification. Some common detectors include:
CAD – charged aerosol detector
DAD – diode array detector
MS – mass spectrometry
HPLC validation methods separate liquids into their individual components. This information is then used to determine the level of residue of an individual component so that predetermined acceptable levels of cleanliness are met. HPLC is the most common type of quantitative cleaning validation method currently used.
TOC (Total Organic Carbon)
TOC stands for total organic compound. TOC validation methods detect carbon content in a tested sample. The results are not ingredient specific. The amount of carbon in the sample can come from any one of a number of varying sources including contamination, a dirty tank, testing equipment, ingredient residue or cleaner residue. The objective is that the overall results of TOC testing meet the predetermined acceptable levels. Results that exceed the predetermined levels are not acceptable.
UV VIS stands for ultraviolet visible spectroscopy. This detection method relies upon the absorption of light to quantitate chemicals at specific wavelengths. Sometimes, a chemical agent is added to the rinse water sample to make key ingredients visible. Chemicals absorb light differently at different wavelengths.
Methylene blue, for example, is routinely used to react to sulfonate surfactants and detect detergent residue. The intensity of the color is an indication of how much sulfonate remains in the sample.
In the illustration above, the fluid at the top of the tubes shows the water in the solution. The fluid on the bottom indicates the amount of chloroform in the test sample. As the concentration of Micro-90 increases, more sulfonate is being pulled out of the top water level by methylene blue and the methylene blue-sulfonate complex enters the bottom chloroform layer resulting in an increasing blue intensity.
UV VIS is an older technology and is not as used as often as HPLC.
The Role Of The Cleaner Manufacturer
Cleaning validation is a critical part of the manufacturing process in regulated industries. Validation methods must be developed, planned and included in the production method. Since cleaning validation methods are unique to the cleaner used, it makes sense to expect the manufacturer to provide support. By relying on the cleaner manufacturer for detailed validation methods, manufacturers in regulated industries can focus their resources on manufacturing and product development, saving a great deal of time and money.
Comments Off on Guidelines For Cleaning Pharmaceutical Processing Equipment
Cleaning pharmaceutical processing equipment is challenging. Cleaning methods, soils present, type of manufacturing equipment, surfaces cleaned, choice of cleaning detergent and temperature should all be considered when setting up a cleaning procedure. Cleaning validation methods are required. The entire cleaning process must be standardized and documented according to the FDA’s cGMP regulations.
Why Clean Pharmaceutical Processing Equipment?
Maintain product quality.
Remove all trace ingredients to prevent the transfer of ingredients from one product to the next. This is especially important when multiple products are produced on the same equipment.
Prevent equipment malfunctions that may lead to product contamination.
Comply with local and international standards and regulations to ensure consumer safety and avoid legal issues.
Increase plant performance and productivity by diminishing waste, maintaining equipment and preserving product quality.
Enhance worker safety by providing a clean working environment and smoothly functioning equipment.
Establishing A Cleaning Procedure
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to set up a fully documented written cleaning procedure for each piece of processing equipment in compliance with FDA 21 CFR Part 211.67. Documentation should include:
Responsibility for equipment cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning and sanitization schedules
A detailed description of the cleaning procedure
Removal of previous batch identification
Protection of clean equipment
Inspection of equipment prior to use
Manufacturers must outline each of these steps in detail to be sure that all processes are followed clearly and succinctly.
Federal regulations require a very specific description of each step of the cleaning procedure. The following details should be documented.
Frequency of cleaning – including time requirements between processing products and cleaning
Cleaning tools used – any sponges, brushes, scrapers, sprayers, wipes or equipment used to aid the cleaning process
Establishment and sequence of each cleaning step
Identification of each specific piece of equipment to be cleaned, including instructions for cleaning between batches of the same or different products
Cleaning method – clean-in-place (CIP) or clean-out-of-place (COP)
Detailed instructions for any required disassembly and re-assembly of equipment if COP methods are used. Instructions should specify the parts to be removed and any assembly aids used during this process.
Identification of all cleaning detergents and detailed instructions for their use. Usage instructions should include amounts, concentration, temperature, dwell time and application method.
Soils found on pharmaceutical processing equipment may be traces of the various ingredients used in production or soils from the actual manufacturing process such as oil, grease, dust or minerals. Understanding the soils that are present will guide your choice of cleaning detergent.
Gels, polyethylene glycol, oils, titanium dioxide, dyes, silicons, flavorings, petrolatum, paraffin, proteins, steroids, sugars, alcohol, stearates, and cornstarch are some of the typical foulants that are often found on pharmaceutical processing equipment.
Each type of soil is unique and requires the proper detergent to thoroughly clean the surface. Choose a cleaner that will best attack the soils you are trying to remove. Alkaline cleaners are the best choice for cleaning soils such as gels, dyes and petrolatum, while citric acid based cleaners are better suited for removing titanium dioxide. Protein or starch-based soils may require the use of an enzyme cleaner. Use the table below to help match the most effective type of cleaner to each kind of soil.
Type of Equipment
Mixing tanks, tablet presses, capsule fillers, centrifuges, granulators, filling lines, mixers, conveyors, filters, fluid lines, batch process tanks, tubes and flasks all need to be thoroughly cleaned. The design of the equipment must be taken into consideration. By nature of its construction, some types of equipment will be more difficult to clean than others. Hidden parts and blind holes present unique challenges.
Another important factor to consider is the how the equipment is used. Are you cleaning a dedicated production system or equipment that is used to produce a range of products? Processing equipment used to produce multiple products has a greater chance of cross contamination of ingredients.
It’s also important to select a cleaner that is compatible with the surface of the equipment you are cleaning. The cleaner manufacturer should be able to guide you and provide compatibility studies for their products.
Cleaning Method and Location
Clean-in-place (CIP) or Clean-out-of-place (COP)?
CIP is generally used for large systems and components that cannot easily be taken apart. CIP often results in less downtime since it eliminates the need to take apart or move the equipment. Automated systems, spray systems and immersion are all examples of CIP operations.
COP is most often used for smaller pieces of equipment or smaller parts of larger equipment that can be removed and re-assembled after cleaning. COP can involve either manual washing or use of machine washers. Specific instructions for disassembling and re-assembling equipment must be followed.
What cleaning method will you use?
Manual, ultrasonic, spray, machine and automated systems are all used for cleaning pharmaceutical equipment. The type of cleaning method used will impact your choice of detergent. Automatic parts cleaners and high-pressure washers require low foaming detergents.
In most cases, increasing the temperature is one of the best ways to speed up or improve the cleaning action. The temperature parameters that should be used for any individual cleaning application will depend upon the equipment and the soils that are present, as well as your choice of detergent and wash method. Check with the manufacturer for the maximum suggested operating temperature for your detergent.
The length of the cleaning cycle contributes to the effectiveness of your cleaning application. In most cases, a longer dwell time will improve the results. However, all factors – soils, temperature, substrate, detergent and cleaning method must be taken into consideration.
Thorough rinsing should follow cleaning. Rinsing removes any excess detergent left on the item. For critical cleaning applications, it is best to use deionized or distilled water, as rinsing with ordinary water may introduce new contaminants.
Cleaning validation is a part of the regulatory compliance process for cleaning pharmaceutical processing equipment. Validation ensures that all equipment is washed according to previously determined standards and that all traces of soil and detergent are removed. Validation methods are unique to each detergent and should be available from most cleaner manufacturers.
Need help choosing the right specialty cleaner for your pharmaceutical cleaning application? Contact one of International Products Corporation’s (IPC) technical specialists or request a free cleaner sample for testing. All of IPC’s specialty cleaners are registered with NSF as A1 cleaners and can be validated in FDA processes.
Comments Off on How to Properly Clean Medical Devices
When it comes to medical devices cleanliness is crucial. All medical devices, whether they are disposable, implantable or reusable, must be cleaned during the manufacturing process to remove oil, grease, fingerprints and other manufacturing soils. Reusable products must also be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized between each use to avoid infecting patients or causing illness. Reaching the right level of cleanliness does not come automatically. A well planned cleaning regimen must be developed and followed carefully.
Developing a Cleaning Process
Medical device manufacturers must provide proof that their products can be adequately cleaned as part of the FDA approval process. As a result, most manufacturers now incorporate setting up a cleaning protocol as part of the design and development phase.
Factors to consider when setting up a cleaning regimen:
Soils: Choose a cleaner that will best attack the soils you are trying to remove. Enzyme cleaners are often used for medical device cleaning applications since they work well at removing organic soils. Protease enzymes in particular are a good choice for protein based organic soils like blood, fat, sweat, mucous, feces and tissue.
Surface: Titanium, plastic, ceramic, silicone and metal are some of the more common materials used in the manufacture of medical devices. It’s important to select a cleaner that is compatible with the substrate of the device you are cleaning. The cleaner manufacturer should be able to guide you and provide compatibility studies for their products.
Wash method: Common methods of cleaning medical devices include automatic washers, ultrasonic cleaners and manual washing. Factors such as soil, substrate, composition and end use of the device are taken into consideration. Regardless of the method used, it’s extremely important to be sure that all soils are removed from blind holes and internal passages of the device.
Temperature: In most cases, increasing the temperature is one of the best ways to speed up or improve the cleaning action. The temperature parameters that should be used for any individual cleaning application will depend upon the make-up of the medical device and the soils that are present, as well as your choice of detergent and wash method. Check with the manufacturer for the maximum suggested operating temperature for your detergent.
Dwell time: The length of the cleaning cycle contributes to the effectiveness of your cleaning application. In most cases, a longer dwell time will improve the results. However, all factors – soils, temperature, substrate, detergent and cleaning method must be taken into consideration.
Rinse step: Thorough rinsing should follow cleaning. Rinsing removes any excess detergent left on the item. For critical cleaning applications it is best to use deionized or distilled water, as rinsing with ordinary water may introduce new contaminates.
Validation procedures: Cleaning validation is a part of the regulatory compliance process for medical device manufacturing and reprocessing. Validation ensures that medical devices are washed according to previously determined standards and that all traces of soil and detergent are removed. Validation methods are unique to each detergent and should be available from most cleaner manufacturers.
Medical devices not only need to be clean, they also need to be sterile. Medical devices that are not properly cleaned and sterilized can lead to patient infection. Cleaning and sterilization are two distinct processes and both must be performed to ensure that medical devices meet safety standards.
The CDC defines cleaning as “the removal of foreign material (e.g., soil, and organic material) from objects…normally accomplished using water with detergents or enzymatic products”. (https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/cleaning.html). They describe sterilization as a process that “destroys all microorganisms on the surface of an article or in a fluid to prevent disease transmission associated with the use of that item”. (https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/sterilization/index.html). The CDC has established guidelines that are used to determine if a medical device is considered sterile. This is referred to as the sterility assurance level or SAL of a product and is defined as the likelihood that any viable microorganisms will exist on a device after sterilizing.
Why do Both?
Clearly we have two different, albeit related, processes. So, why do both? Cleaning the medical devices first ensures that they are free from soils and debris that can cause infection and reduce the efficiency of the sterilization process.
The CDC guidelines explain that “Thorough cleaning is required before high-level disinfection and sterilization because inorganic and organic materials that remain on the surfaces of instruments interfere with the effectiveness of these processes. Also, if soiled materials dry or bake onto the instruments, the removal process becomes more difficult and the disinfection or sterilization process less effective or ineffective.” (https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/cleaning.html).
If a surface is sterilized or disinfected before it is cleaned, the remaining soils can still contribute to the growth of harmful germs and lead to further contamination. Lingering soils on the surface of the medical device can serve as a barrier and impact the efficiency of the sterilization process. If the surface is thoroughly cleaned first, and validated for cleanliness, sterilization is much more effective.
Interested in learning more about choosing the right specialty cleaner for your medical device cleaning application? Contact one of International Products Corporation’s (IPC) technical specialists or request a free cleaner sample for testing. All of IPC’s specialty cleaners are registered with NSF as A1 cleaners and can be validated in FDA processes.
Comments Off on How do I Choose the Best Detergent for My Cleaning Application?
It’s easy to see that you have a dirty surface that needs to be cleaned. Figuring out what type of cleaner to use can be tricky! Choosing the right product from the outset will make your cleaning task easier, quicker and more efficient. So, how do you know which detergent to use?
Dirt is Dirt, Right?
Absolutely not! All soils are different and need to be treated properly. A detergent that works well for cleaning grease and oil might not be the best choice for getting rid of soap scum or starchy soils. While some cleaners may work well for a broad spectrum of soils, others may be needed to target specific types of dirt.
Alkaline cleaners work well for organic soils like oils and grease, while acid based cleaners are more effective on inorganic soils such metals and salts. Knowing what type of soil you are dealing with is an important step to choosing the right detergent.
This helpful chart matches detergents to soils commonly found on parts and equipment in laboratories, pharmaceutical plants, food & beverage manufacturing sites, medical devices, filter membranes and manufacturing facilities.
What are You Cleaning?
Glass? Metal? Rubber? Electronic parts? Filter membranes? Understanding how different detergents affect different surfaces will certainly have an impact on your choice of cleaner. It’s important to be sure that the detergent you are using is compatible with the surface you are cleaning.
The manufacturer of the cleaner should be able to provide you with compatibility information for the product you are using.
How are You Cleaning?
The cleaning method you plan to use also plays a role in choosing a detergent. Some of the more common methods used in manufacturing and laboratory applications include:
• Ultrasonic cleaning
• CIP (clean-in place)
• Manual or hand wash
• Automatic washers
It’s important to choose a detergent that works well for your chosen cleaning method. For example, if you are using an automatic washer it’s wise to use a low foaming cleaner. Otherwise you may end up with a room full of foamy suds. While this is great fodder for TV sitcoms, it’s not so funny in real life.
Is Your Cleaner Safe?
There are many cleaners on the market that do a great job at removing dirt, but they contain solvents and other harmful ingredients. Look for cleaners that are both effective and safe. Many cleaners are biodegradable. Try to avoid products that contain phosphates, solvents, silicates, phenols, and substances of very high concern.
International Products Corporation’s (IPC) cleaners are safe for personnel, materials, equipment and the environment. Yet, they are powerful enough to remove the most difficult soils. This makes them excellent alternatives to hazardous solvents and chemicals frequently used for precision cleaning applications.
The Manufacturer Matters
When you select a product for your critical cleaning application you should be equally as concerned with the support provided by the manufacturer as you are with the product performance.The benefits of working with an experienced specialty cleaner manufacturer are that they can offer technical guidance and provide a variety of products to best meet your needs. Cleaner manufacturers should be able to assist their customers by providing validation methods, compatibility studies, toxicology reports, regulatory compliance, free product samples, and technical support.
There are so many variables that exist in choosing the right cleaning product. Remember to consider the soils, the surfaces, the cleaning method, the safety and the manufacturer. With careful thought and planning you can find a cleaner that meets all of your specifications. Choosing wisely makes a difference!
Download IPC’s ePaper for more information about choosing a cleaner and establishing the right cleaning parameters.
Comments Off on Solve Hydraulic Line Assembly Problems With P-80® THIX
A worldwide crane manufacturer experienced hydraulic system issues, including contamination, rolled O-rings, leaks, and line shut-downs resulting from numerous false-positive leak detections. Once they began using P-80® THIX for assembly they were able to eliminate false positive hydraulic leaks and contamination, allow easier thread starts and aligned joint assemblies, and achieve torque specifications.
What is P-80® THIX?
P-80 THIX is a biodegradable temporary assembly lubricant that eases installation of tight-fitting rubber and plastic parts by reducing the force needed for insertion. Once assembly is complete, the lubricant dries and the part stays in place. Since THIX is a water-based, thixotropic gel, it stays where it’s put without dripping. THIX does not contain any alcohol or petroleum distillates, so it will not cause rubber to swell, dry out or harden, nor does it contain any hazardous ingredients, making it safe for workers and the environment.
What Was Happening at the Crane Manufacturer’s Plant?
The crane manufacturer was using multiple petroleum-based lubricants for the assembly of hydraulic hoses and thread starts. These lubricants eased the assembly of the hydraulic lines and facilitated thread starts, but, if not applied meticulously, slowed production, increased cost of quality, and increased the amount of rework needed. Over-application of these lubricants caused residue to remain in and around hydraulic lines attracting dirt, contaminating hydraulic systems, fluorescing brightly during black light leak inspections – leading to false positive results, and reducing installation torque over time. When used sparingly, the lubricants caused leaks from rough thread starts, rolled O-rings, friction-related damage, misaligned parts, and low installation torques. They also had frequent line shut-downs because of many false-positive leak detections.
P-80 THIX to the Rescue
A team of design engineers, material engineers and hydraulic line assemblers worked together to find a solution. P-80 THIX was trialed for assembly of hydraulic lines and coating of threads for wet torque starts.
Since THIX is a water-based emulsified thixotropic gel, the volume applied was not critical. Once applied, THIX remained in place regardless of the part’s orientation. The gel as a whole reduced assembly friction by 70% thereby eliminating rolled O-rings and misaligned parts. Installation torques were achieved consistently. After assembly, THIX began to evaporate and lose its lubrication – leaving at most a negligible residue, which will not attract dirt or contaminate the hydraulic system, will not fluoresce, and cannot reduce torque over time.
The crane manufacturer experienced an immediate improvement in cost of quality and on-time delivery metrics. As a result, THIX has been implemented throughout the entire assembly floor and is currently being trialed at other locations worldwide.
Comments Off on Get The Most Out Of Your Cleaner…Know When To Add More
5 Ways To Know When To Change Your Cleaning Solution
Choosing the best cleaner for your critical cleaning application takes time and careful consideration. With so many choices out there it can be difficult to figure out which cleaner is the best choice for your specific needs. Factors to consider:
• What is the surface being cleaned?
• What are the soils?
• What’s your cleaning method? Manual? CIP? Machine? Ultrasonic?
• What is the cleaning temperature?
• Do you need a validation method?
You’ve done your homework, run trials and have chosen the right cleaner for your cleaning application. Now it’s time to start to clean!
How much cleaner should I use?
Determining how much cleaner to use will vary based on the parameters of your unique cleaning application. International Products Corporation (IPC) recommends using a 1% – 2% concentration of their specialty cleaners for most applications. Pouring the water into the tank first, and then adding the detergent, helps to avoid excess foaming when preparing your cleaning solution. The chart below is helpful:
How do I know when it’s time to change the solution?
For many industrial and critical cleaning applications, it is extremely important to use a consistent cleaning process and keep the cleaning solution at a desired strength. Concentration control methods are procedures used to determine the concentration of a cleaning solution to ensure process consistency. When the concentration of the detergent drops, you know it’s time to change it.
IPC recommends five methods for testing the cleaning solution to determine the cleaner concentration:
1. Refractive index
3. Total alkalinity
4. Total acidity
5. Foam height
Refractive index is the “measure of the bending of a ray of light when passing from one medium into another.”¹ A refractometer is used to measure refraction. The refractive index is one way of measuring the amount of a substance in an aqueous solution. A higher refractive index indicates a higher amount of cleaner present in the solution. Conversely, a lower refractive index indicates a lower concentration of cleaner in the solution. If changes to the refractive index are found, it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
Conductivity “measures the ability of a given substance to conduct an electric current.”² Conductivity, measured in micro-siemens, can be used to determine the concentration of a cleaning solution. Cleaning solutions have a higher conductivity than water. So, a drop in the level of micro-siemens in your solution is an indication that it’s time to replace it.
This method is used for cleaners that are alkaline based (a pH above 7). Total alkalinity measures the ability of a cleaner to neutralize acid. It assesses the cleaning solution’s buffering capacity – its resistance to changes in pH caused by acid. Total alkalinity is tested by performing a titration, a technique where a solution of known concentration is used to determine the unknown concentration of another solution.
Alkaline builders bind hard water ions, so the surfactants can do their job. Without sufficient alkaline builders, the surfactants would come out of solution and become ineffective.
If the results show that the pH of your solution has decreased by one full pH unit, it’s a good indication that it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
This method is used for cleaners that are acid based (a pH below 7). Total acidity measures the ability of a cleaner to neutralize alkalinity. Similar to total alkalinity, total acidity is also tested by performing a titration. Changes in the pH of your cleaning solution occur once the soil load capacity of the cleaner has been saturated, indicating it’s time to change the solution.
Surfactants in cleaning solutions reduce surface tension, and, as a result, air may become entrapped. This leads to the formation of small bubbles or foam. If the cleaning solution is agitated, either by shaking vigorously by hand or in a blender, a layer of foam will form. The total volume can be measured in a graduated cylinder, and a foam level curve can be created by plotting the known concentration of the detergent versus the measured total volume. If the foam heights of various known concentrations of detergent are calculated, an equation can be created to determine the concentration of future cleaning solutions whose concentration level is unknown.
All of these methods for calculating the concentration of detergent in a cleaning solution can be converted into simple equations. The data obtained can be plotted on a graph and the slope of the line can be used to calculate the concentration of detergent in your cleaning solution. If you see that the amount of detergent has dropped, you know it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
Comments Off on How Engineers Choose Rubber Lubricants
A Multi-Disciplinary Engineering Approach to Selecting Assembly Lubricants
Rubber is everywhere! Have you ever stopped to consider how many rubber parts are in your car? Or your dishwasher? Or the airplane flying you away to your dream vacation? So many items that we use every day are composed of thousands of rubber parts of varying size and shape. Each of these components plays an integral role in how that item functions and performs down the road.
Rubber is truly a unique material. It is elastic yet strong, smooth yet tacky, lightweight yet insulates and protects, and soft yet abrasion-resistant. Rubber stretches and compresses, waterproofs no matter its thickness, and remains flexible over a wide temperature range. What’s more amazing is that any of these properties can be optimized by compounding rubber articles using select elastomers, fillers, processing aids, activators and vulcanizing agents. Rubber’s versatility is only limited by one’s imagination. It’s no wonder rubber is so valuable in many industries for an unlimited number of applications including vibration and sound dampening, sealing, electrical and thermal insulation, chemical transport and waterproofing.
Rubber is quite versatile. It can be pushed, pulled, stretched, compressed, or heated to fit in, on, or over anything. Rubber is inherently tacky and can be squeezed into tight areas, but it is naturally slip resistant making it difficult to install, remove or manipulate. It’s not unusual for rubber parts to slip during assembly and not go exactly where they’re intended: an O-ring may get twisted, a heater hose may not be fully inserted, a gap can appear in a waterproof seam. Successful assembly can be tricky. Improper assembly can lead to a multitude of problems including destroyed parts, warranty claims, recalls and worker fatigue or injury.
So, why has rubber installation always seemed to be an afterthought?
Coating rubber parts with a liquid to provide lubrication prior to assembly helps avoid some of the aforementioned problems. Traditionally, lubricant choice was based on convenience. Line workers would find whatever substances were in the plant and use them for rubber assembly. Some common choices were soap and water, alcohol, gasoline, motor oil, petroleum jelly and silicone spray. While these products do provide lubrication, they also introduce health and safety risks and may damage rubber parts.
Enter the Engineers…
To protect product integrity and ensure environmental and worker safety, engineers became involved in the lubricant selection process. Design Engineers, Lubricant Engineers and Ergonomic Engineers all take part in choosing the proper lubricant for each assembly process. Design Engineers are concerned with design tolerance, part breakage, production rates, dry time and material compatibility. Lubricant Engineers are more focused on performance, cost, regulatory compliance and toxicity approval. Ergonomic Engineers remain focused on worker safety and consider factors such as friction and effort reduction, production rates, quality and consistency, and health and safety hazards.
Lubricants Are a Part of the Design Process
As a result of these concerns, lubricants are now included in the initial design phase of many engineered parts. In addition to detailing all facets of the part, material specifications now include the accompanying assembly lubricant and its proper assembly technique. Design stages include a battery of lubricant trials and choices are made based on performance, cost and safety. More and more frequently, water-based lubricants are the product of choice.
The Power of Water-Based Lubricants
A well-formulated oil-in-water emulsion overpowers the low surface energy of rubber. This means the emulsion completely coats the surface without beading up. The oil portion has a natural affinity to the rubber surface and the water is exposed to the environment, facilitating evaporation. Only a thin layer of oil contacts the rubber, an ample volume for successful assembly. The thin coating ensures no residue, temporary lubrication, no compatibility issues and a safe working environment. Once assembled, the water evaporates and the lubrication ceases.
Water-based lubricants can be formulated with different properties making them ideal for essentially any assembly application. Lubricant properties such as viscosity, dry time, biodegradability, compatibility, and surface residue (such as adhesiveness) are all taken into consideration. Engineers can now choose a lubricant tailored exactly to their needs before production begins, eliminating many of the problems that used to occur after assembly.
The lubricant selection process has evolved so that it is now a true collaboration between Design, Lubricant and Ergonomic Engineers. Learn more here about this multi-disciplinary engineering approach to selecting assembly lubricants.