MecWash helps Dunlop Equipment Division of Meggitt Aerospace maximise component
quality and environmental performance
The need for component quality and reliability in the aerospace manufacturing industry
is second to none, with all stages of production obliged to meet the most stringent
standards. It is in this context that one of the industry’s leading
specialists, the Dunlop Equipment Division of Meggitt Aerospace, is now benefiting
from the use of a MecWash Systems’ aqueous-based component cleaning facility.
Apart from helping to maximise product quality, it is also making significant contributions
to environmental improvement – not least through solvent replacement.
The installation at Dunlop Equipment’s Coventry site is centred on a MecWash
Solo 400 stand-alone component cleaning station linked to an Aqua-Save wash water
recycling system. The facility, which handles 95% of components produced at
the plant, is achieving levels of cleanliness that are surpassing expectations despite
the ever growing complexity of component design.
Its role in helping Dunlop Equipment to make dramatic reductions in its use of ‘trike’
is equally important with solvent usage of some 2.6 tonnes annually prior to the
installation now scheduled to reduce at the rate of one tonne per year – in
line with regulatory requirements. The installation of a further MecWash station
could see trike usage virtually eradicated on the site – down to just 0.2
tonnes per year.
The self-contained Solo 400 unit, whose small footprint is seen as a further advantage
by Dunlop Equipment, features the acclaimed MecWash rotational cleaning technology.
Components – typically stainless steel, aluminium and titanium –
are contained in a series of plastic compartments in two trays that are manually
front-loaded into the wash chamber from a waist-height roller conveyor.
Each load can hold up to 40 individual components including bleed valves and solenoid
valves, both of which are at the heart of Dunlop Equipment’s expertise in
the field. With the door closed, a ten-minute automatic cycle subjects the
products to a heavy spray wash, rinse and drying programme with components then
removed in a clean and dry condition for onward assembly. Phil Law, Production
Engineer at the site, highlights the key benefits of the process “Because
products are held in storage ahead of assembly they are necessarily coated with
an inhibitor which has to removed,” he explains. “This is achieved
by the MecWash system which, importantly, delivers the products in a dry condition
including, of course, the complete elimination of trike residue. This is clearly
an important benefit to our workforce.” He points out that the MecWash
facility operates five days a week for some 16 hours a day and is therefore, a key
focus of operational procedures.
Located alongside the Solo 400 is an Aqua-Save wash water recycling station supplied
by the Tewkesbury-based MecWash Systems’ dedicated Aqua-Save Technologies
Division. The mobile unit, which can also be relocated alongside additional
equipment, re-processes the Solo’s wash solution to enable its repeated re-use
with only minimal disposal requirements resulting. “To date, we have
found that we only need to operate the Aqua-Save for four or five hours per week
to ensure that the wash solution meets the highest standard,” continues Phil
Law. “The significant reduction in disposal requirements clearly making
a further contribution to our environmental performance.”
Paul Young, MecWash Director, points out that the opportunity also exists for the
company to create purpose-designed fixtures that can hold an entire assembly ‘kit’
“This would effectively allow larger scale items to be processed,” he
says, “and, because each cycle would produce all required elements for a onward
use, it would enhance the efficiency of the company’s assembly procedures.
Importantly, this would also reflect on the ability of our technology to handle
the increasing complexity of component design in the aerospace field.”
With simple access to the design, installation and support services delivered by
MecWash as a result of the company’s UK manufacturing base, the benefits associated
with the Solo 400 and Aqua-Save systems are set to be of major significance for
Dunlop Equipment long into the future. At a time when production quality is
at the heart of success in this highly competitive field, they clearly offer advantages
that will help the company sustain its leading position in this specialist sector.