MecWash helps Triumph to maximise 'Rocket'
The launch of the new Triumph Rocket III motorcycle has set
new standards in terms of performance and engine size - at
almost 2.3 litres, it is the most powerful production bike
in the world. Its introduction is a reflection of the commitment
by the company to achieving the highest levels of manufacturing
quality - and, now at the heart of that objective, are aqueous-based
component cleaning systems from specialist manufacturer, MecWash
The Tewkesbury-based organisation has installed four stand-alone
cleaning stations and two mobile Aqua-Save wash solution recycling
systems at Triumph's new dedicated production facility in
Hinckley. Using specially developed fixtures to hold components
in position, also designed and manufactured by MecWash, the
units are located on lines dedicated to cylinder head and
crank case production. By helping to achieve cleanliness standards
of, for example, a maximum of 200 microns particle size and
1 mg total weight per cylinder head, the units play a key
role in minimising the risk of machine oil and swarf contamination
- the removal of which is vital for the reliable and long
life performance of all engines, not least the high power
units of the Rocket III.
Russ Daleman, Machine Shop Supervisor at the Hinckley site,
highlights the role played by each MecWash unit -
"The cylinder heads are sand-cast aluminium, and the
crank cases produced from high pressure aluminium die-castings
which, after delivery in a raw state, are chemically treated,
and powder coated before moving on to the machining lines
within which the MecWash units are located," he says.
"On the cylinder head line, three machining operations
are followed by a deburring station before the units are cleaned
in the first MecWash Midi. From here they proceed through
an oven, and a Valve-seat and Guide press, before undergoing
cooling and further machining and pressure testing. Final
machining and deburring then precede the second MecWash Midi
installation before leaving the line for final assembly."
He points out that the fixtures that are used in this second
unit incorporate integral wash jets to direct the wash solution
at specific parts of each component, including the oil ways,
water jacket and blind threaded holes.
"Throughout the process the various machining operations
inevitably leave considerable amounts of swarf and oil which
the MecWash units eradicate to extremely high tolerances,"
continues Russ Daleman who says that this is also the key
benefit that arises from the use of the company's equipment
on the crank case line. "Here, each unit comprises two
sections - upper and lower half - which, after the first machining
operation, are washed as a pair in a MecWash Solo ahead of
assembling together for further machining and inspection,"
he adds. "The units are then separated again for deburring
before final cleaning in the second Solo unit ahead of pressure
testing and onward movement for assembly."
Each MecWash unit is centred around a rotating drum within
which the components are held securely and then subjected
to washing and drying processes. The oscillating movement
of the drum throughout the programme - typically, the units
at Triumph operate on an eight minute cycle - coupled with
the quality of the washing and drying stages means that the
full profile of the components can be thoroughly cleaned to
meet the most exacting standards. This is achieved irrespective
of the complexity of their design or even the presence of
blind holes. Components exit each unit sufficiently cooled
for onward manual handling which at Triumph - in common with
the vast majority of MecWash installations - contributes to
the smooth and efficient throughput of work.
The quality of the cleaning process, however, is only one
of the key advantages associated with the MecWash technology.
Paul Young, Director at the company's Tewkesbury premises,
places equal emphasis on the economics of operation and the
environmental benefits arising directly from the use of the
"Because each of our units is aqueous-based," he
explains, "none of the difficulties associated with solvent
cleaning are present. This has a clear and direct impact on
both the working area and disposal requirements which, apart
from the environmental advantages, can translate into significant
cost savings for the user.
"The same efficiency benefits also arise from the minimal
disposal requirements associated with the MecWash units,"
he continues. "The in-built filtration systems ensure
that the quality of wash solution is maintained to a very
high standard, helping to extend its life. This is enhanced
further still by the use of the Aqua-Save wash water recycling
units which can either be built-in or mobile - as with those
at Triumph - allowing the company to benefit from keeping
consumable costs and disposal expenditure to an absolute minimum."
MecWash undertook detailed wash tests for the Triumph components
at its Tewkesbury facility in order to identify both the optimum
configuration of the cleaning stations as well as development
of the dedicated fixtures. The ability and willingness of
MecWash to adapt its equipment to meet specific requirements
was demonstrated during this process as the company incorporated
specially extended drums into each of the Solo units to accommodate
the length of the fixtured crank case components. The design
also includes an automatic chemical dosing facility and steam
condensers which remove the need to provide ducting to outside
Developed and built by a company that is synonymous with
motorcycling quality, the Rocket III is seen as not just breaking
new ground in the marketplace but also as building on the
heritage of one of the leading names in the industry. The
commitment to production quality and manufacturing processes
of the highest standards is clearly central to this reputation
and Triumph's belief in using the latest and most capable
technology throughout its Hinckley factory will go a long
way towards growing the 8% share of the UK market which the
company currently enjoys. For MecWash Systems, the company
is not only delighted to have won the business but is also
proud to be associated with such a prestigious installation.