Automating Batch Washing Operations


Industrial -

As an innovation-driven and engineering-focused company, we really like automation. Whenever we’re working on some really cool automated system, all the engineers, manufacturing personnel and sales guys start acting like children on Christmas! Their eyes light up, the corners of their mouths almost touch their ears, and once the cycle is complete, they start chanting for more. You can easily see the pride in their eyes when they watch something that they built accomplishing exactly what they intended for it to accomplish.

I had the privilege of participating in such an experiment a couple weeks ago when the guys were testing out a phosphate pretreatment booth designed for Dynamic Fitness and Strength. Our booth made up just one small piece of a long manufacturing process. The parts are first cut, bent and welded together, then one batch at a time parts go through a media blast to smooth out any rough spots, receive a phosphate pretreatment, get thoroughly dried, and finally go into powder coating and baking. The following chart will give you a rough idea of how their operations are laid out.

Dynamic hangs their parts on an overhead conveyor belt allowing them to be pulled from one station into the next. When the batch gets into our booth, the doors are shut and the system turns on. It sprays a phosphate solution for approximately one minute, pauses for another minute or so to recover the phosphate solution, rinses for about a minute, pauses again to recover the rinse water, and finally starts a 10 second spot free rinse. Anything that gets recovered goes into the Riveer Treatment System to be filtered and sent to a holding tank until the system needs to use it again. All-in-all, it takes the Phosphater™ less than 5 minutes to fully pretreat one batch of parts.

The installation took a little over a week. There was a lot of fine-tuning that needed to be done in order to ensure that everything functioned exactly as the customer wanted it to. The day after installation was complete, Dynamic was able to run their batch washing operations in the Phosphater(TM) for 10 straight hours with no issues. They were so happy with our work that they have already started talking to us about a new project and we can’t wait!

Our customer has an awesome batch operations setup. Riveer's Phosphater is now the 2nd stage in the process, after media blast, then the batch goes on to powder coating and curing.

It has 36 spray nozzles that oscillate and rotate in a pre-programmed pattern. It takes about 4 minutes to phosphate, rinse and apply RO to one batch of parts (including wash water recovery time).

This is what goes on behind the scenes in an Automatic Phosphater booth. There are all sorts of tanks and pumps working together to create an automated wash operation.