Metal Finishing Guide Book


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cleaning, pretreatment & surface preparation CHOOSING THE RIGHT CLEANING EQUIPMENT VENDORS BARBARA KANEGSBERG AND ED KANEGSBERG, BFK SOLUTIONS LLC, PASADENA, CALIF. The power! New process equipment provides a rush that is pretty much like what happens when you drive a new car off the lot. New cleaning process equipment brings the promise of manufacturing bright, shiny, great-looking product that will meet all the specs, that will show a high yield, and that your customers will love. How do you find that equipment? Depending on the capital outlay, you may do a few Web searches, go to some trade shows, grow a meadow of catalogues around your desk, talk to more than a few sales reps, and even do some site visits. Too much of the information available falls along the line of "don't worry, it's the best, lots of people use it." How do you find reliable, comparative information. How do you make a decision? Do you throw a dart at the catalogues and see where it lands? Do you pick cleaning equipment in a color that matches the décor of the fab? We've actually seen that happen. Get the facts Improving a cleaning process, setting up a new process, replacing outdated equipment – all these activities involve decisions that can make or break the quality of surface finish, that can make or break your manufacturing business. Cleaning is a process that typically meshes one or more chemicals with cleaning equipment. Vendors and distributors are eager to extol the benefits of their products. Here are a few tips to get you started in working with vendors productively while avoiding pitfalls of sales hype. These include six questions to ask cleaning equipment suppliers. Talk to yourself Before you start tracking down new cleaning equipment, before you look through catalogues or talk to reps, start by asking yourself the following question: exactly why are you considering new cleaning equipment? Look at your current cleaning process. Ask the workers – the people who actually have to run the process day in and day out – what they like or don't like. This may take a (groan) little tact and diplomacy, because sometimes people answer in the extreme. "It's fine," may actually mean "don't bother me; I'm used to this system and don't want to change; I won't speak up because I don't want to get fired; I actually have an older cleaning system out back and I don't want to tell you." "It's terrible," could translate to "I actually have to do the maintenance on this thing; and I hate it." Then, ask yourself how will new cleaning equipment make your life easier? What are your expectations? Is the problem acute? For example, is the current equipment not cleaning effectively? If so, check to see if something has changed, something that could perhaps be fixed without purchasing new equipment. Has the cleaning chemistry changed? Is simple maintenance required? On the other hand, if cleaning chemistry is spewing euphorically out of your classic "midcentury modern" equipment and onto the plant floor, if your repair person is on speed dial, perhaps it is time for an update. Resist making an immediate, uninformed decision. If necessary, lease the equipment, with an option to buy; or use a good contract cleaning house. Even 98

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