The metal working industry presents very specific cleaning problems.
“Shavings, grinding sludge, refractory and inflammable materials, and oil are just some of the particular by-products which need to be cleared up effectively and efficiently,” says Braam Coetzer of Nilfisk, one of the world’s leading suppliers of cleaning equipment.
He says that bespoke new technology has been developed specifically to make metal work production areas safer and cleaner; “The latest ranges are also faster, cheaper in terms of consumables, have less maintenance downtime, and they’re ergonomically far superior for the cleaning workforce.”
Aside from generic cleaning issues common to all industries, Coetzer highlights eight areas that need special attention in metal work spaces.
A good industrial vacuum cleaner is required for removing metal shavings from machine tools after each work cycle. Doing so keeps machinery in perfect condition, reduces downtime and guarantees maximum product quality. The right machines can vacuum up cutting oil and emulsion, along with shavings, and then separate the solid and liquid components via macro-filtration, allowing the emulsion to be re-used.
The vacuuming of liquids – oil, emulsions, chemical solutions and water – represents a saving if the emulsion is to be filtered and re-used. It also cuts cleaning times. The VHO 200 allows liquid to be expelled at pressure, facilitating storage.
Precious metals shavings
The vacuuming of precious metals demands dedicated filters to ensure that every single shaving or speck of metal is recovered while it’s being machined.
The powerful vacuum suction offered by the latest three-phase models allows efficient collection of the heaviest sludge – the tubes have no resistance which maximises the suction power. By using a specific sludge filter kit (with filtration grade of 50/100 or 300 micron) you can easily separate vacuumed sludge from liquids.
Graphite or resin powder
There are dedicated solutions for plants producing refractory materials, in particular moulds containing graphite. With continuous vacuuming of the milling cutters, powders and waste material are caught which means products are not contaminated and there’s a healthier, dust-free environment.
Incendiary materials like plastic, magnesium, aluminum, lithium and sodium represent a danger as they can burn or explode if ignited. ATEX-certified electric and compressed-air vacuums are able to operate in the presence of these materials without sparks.
Dust in laser cutting
Laser-cutting operations generate a fine dust that’s fume-like and dangerous for workers. On small and medium machines, the Nilfisk White Line works continuously. The vacuums can be equipped with an optional active downstream carbon filter to eliminate any odours generated. Centralized de-dusting systems can also be used on larger laser-cutting machines.
The steel slag which is produced as steel tubes cool down after production needs to be removed with a good industrial vacuum prior to the next stage of production.