Original Date: 04/06/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : High Pressure Waterjet Coating Removal and Cleaning System
In 1996, the Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) procured a waterjet cleaning system to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The contract for the system was set up as a Best Value Contract. The system went through a series of tests that culminated in the waterjet manufacturer demonstrating capabilities using ANAD parts.
The waterjet system was customized to meet the requirements of ANAD. The six-axis robotic arm is controlled by a computer system which can be programmed using keyboard entry, or it can be configured in the teach mode. The high-pressure system is capable of producing 60,000 PSI, and is typically operated at ANAD in the 7,500 to 55,000 PSI range, depending on the removal rate desired and the substrate material. By taking advantage of the robotic capabilities of the system, parts as small as two-inch diameter can be cleaned to a depth of 18 inches. The small 0.012-inch orifice and repetitive accuracy of 0.004 inch enable the cleaning of complex parts, which were previously disassembled and painstakingly cleaned by hand.
The closed loop water system enables the use of a commercial water supply. A multiple filtration system assures compliance with applicable wastewater quality standards. This filtration system's ability to filter out particles as small as five microns prevents cutting of the substrate by the water.
The waterjet system has solved several problems. Prior to its installation, sandblasting was the primary means of cleaning parts, which was both labor intensive and caused sand particles to become imbedded in expensive components. Environmental issues arose with the requirement to dispose of contaminated sand as hazardous material (HM) due to the heavy metal contaminates. Selective stripping of parts can now be done, allowing parts to be coated without masking. Any excess or extraneous spray is then removed using the waterjet system.
The waterjet cleaning system has been very beneficial to ANAD by greatly reducing environmental costs. It has increased the life cycle of engine and transmission components by eliminating embedded sand particles and machining to remove coatings. In some instances, a labor savings of 75% has been realized.
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