1. Know how clean you need to be so as not to disrupt the heat-treating process or damage the heat-treating equipment.
2. If you currently own cleaning equipment, spend your time (and money) making sure the system is well maintained, operating properly and performing up to expectation.
3. Measure your cleaning effectiveness constantly to ensure the system is not degrading. If you are using an aqueous system, invest in a good oil skimmer and be sure that it is well maintained and operates consistently over time.
4. Don’t re-contaminate clean parts.
5. Clean the cleaning equipment thoroughly and often. Replace the bath on a routine basis, and don’t try to extend its life.
6. Do all cleaning, rinsing and drying at as low a temperature as practical. Balance process efficiency and cost of cleaning.
7. If possible, rinse the parts thoroughly. Rinsing is needed to separate the dirty chemistry from the more pure chemistry. The benefits of a good rinse should not be underestimated.
8. Dry the parts thoroughly. Drying is separation of parts from pure cleaning agent. Dry only to the extent necessary and consider non-evaporative methods of separating the cleaning agent from the parts.
9. Recognize that the average life expectancy of a cleaning system is only 3-5 years. Replace your equipment regularly to keep the cleaning process working at optimum efficiency.
If you are considering purchasing a new cleaning system, narrow the choices to one or two suppliers using published information and referrals, then witness a cleaning trial on your parts by the supplier you most prefer. Finally, understand that your time is best spent making the selection work.