Industrial cleaning hacks

Jon Lawson

Many people wince at the thought of industrial cleaning and maintenance. It is often seen as non-productive time, but it is not a task that should require hours of time or huge teams of workers. Here, Peter Crossen, VP of NCH Europe’s Maintenance and Partsmaster Innovation Platform explains the top three industrial cleaning jobs that can be done in half the time.

Business leaders in industrial production environments are under constant pressure to cut costs and maximise efficiency. Theoretically, one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to keep machinery and equipment clean and ready for use.
For example, the accumulation of rust on storage tanks is more than just an unsightly nuisance. If left untreated, corrosion can leave plant engineers with the high-cost task of completely replacing the tank. A spot of cleaning and a rust-preventative coating can easily address this issue and prevent the need for costly replacements.
However, the increasing complexity of industrial environments means that many people are often unaware of the simple measures they can take to reduce cleaning and maintenance costs. As such, it can be wrongly perceived as a highly time-consuming process. With the right approach and products, there are a number of industrial cleaning jobs that do not need to consume an engineer’s valuable time.
Automatic dilution and dispensing equipment
Engineers often put off maintaining their equipment to avoid spending hours mixing and applying cleaning solutions. However, left unattended, this leads to rust and a build-up of grime, leading to more serious maintenance problems down the line.
Using an automatic dilution or dosing system minimises waste and will enable products to be used economically. The right dosing or dilution system needs to be robust, space saving and need minimal maintenance. NCH Europe has developed a range of systems that can be used in a variety of industrial solutions.
Effective rust solutions
Rust is an issue that affects businesses globally, but many are unaware of the ways to treat it. Knowing the difference between temporary and permanent rust solutions is vital in order to use the right product for your needs, cutting down on long-term cleaning, maintenance costs and time.
Temporary oil or wax based coatings should be used to protect metal parts from corroding during transportation and when storing equipment. This means the team doesn’t need to spend hours trying to clean parts. The temporary coating can then be removed easily with a degreaser before use.
Permanent structures such as storage tanks or railings can be treated with a corrosion resistant coating, such as rust treatment solution Salvage 2+ by NCH Europe. Salvage 2+ offers a cost effective long-term solution, encapsulating the existing rust and providing a barrier that prevents further corrosion, making future maintenance easier.
In addition to selecting the right type of coating, engineers must be able to select the right solution for their application and environment and apply it correctly.
Salvage 2+, for example, is a product that serves as a combined encapsulator, primer and top coat. This means maintenance engineers can apply it directly to corrosion-affected surfaces once they've removed the surface rust, making it effective immediately.
However, standard rust removal solutions require separate priming and degreasing products to be used beforehand in order to be effective. This must then be followed up with a coating product to keep clear of rust.
Likewise, by considering the environmental conditions engineers can select a product that can protect effectively for longer. For example, applications located in coastal or marine areas can experience accelerated corrosion due to the salinity of the air. These applications can benefit from a salt-resistant coating to reduce the frequency of treatment. 
To reduce the time it takes to treat a surface for rust, engineers and plant managers should invest in products that combine several of the rust treatment stages and are tailored to meet environmental demands. This also offers further cost savings by eliminating the need for multiple products.
Effective degreasing
We all know that degreasers are one of the best ways of dealing with industrial dirt, grease and grime, but making the right choice makes the process quicker and easier.
When choosing a degreaser, it is vital that the substrate, or surface being cleaned, is matched effectively to the degreaser. If not, the degreaser may damage the substrate and cleaning performance may be adversely affected. For example, glass surfaces can easily become damaged if the degreaser being used contains silicate. Engineers should therefore ensure that they apply a silicate-free solution to glass surfaces to prevent them being etched.
Traditionally, industrial degreasers have predominately been solvent-based. These are particularly useful in electrical and electronic applications where the degreaser’s high dielectric strength and fast evaporation allows plant managers to get machinery and equipment up and running quicker.
However, plant managers also need to consider a number of environmental and regulatory concerns about solvent-based degreasers. Solvent solutions can be highly flammable and often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are hazardous to health in confined spaces and food-processing environments.
There are now alternatives to traditional solvent degreasers, which are just as effective but less harmful to the user, the surface and the environment. Powerful water-based degreasers, such as NCH Europe’s Aqua-Sol Power, use the latest surfactant technology to break the bonds between the soil and the substrate, emulsifying the solution so it can be rinsed away.
By making these small changes, industry professionals can complete their cleaning jobs in half the time. Cleaning might not be something that we all enjoy and want to do all day, but choosing the right product for the job can make it ten times easier and quicker.


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