Development of new Cleaning System for Precision Micro Components.

High Quality Cleaning Pickle Rinsing & Drying Process.

An international client, specialising in the manufacture of precision micro-components for the medical device industry approached Layton Technologies Limited with a requirement to rationalise their cleaning, pickle, rinsing and drying process. They wanted to be able to manage their forecasted increased throughput whilst at the same time ensuring that they maintained a scrupulously clean process to medical implant standards and provide a high degree of safety for both the environment and operatives. They also had limited floor space in order to accommodate the process.

Historically, the cleaning process had been carried out on a manual ad hoc basis employing various individual tanks and vessels where operators manually moved components between tanks and exposure time was ascertained using manually operated time clocks.

The client had embarked on a multi-million-pound investment in new equipment to cope with a huge upturn in business and recognised that their cleaning process was woefully inadequate to cope with the increased demand as well as being fundamentally unsafe due to the hazardous nature of the chemicals employed.

The main objectives for Layton, as defined by the client, were to process precision micro-components, complex tubular components and sub-assemblies to the required medical implant standards.

  • Rationalise the current process into a more logical order resulting in a shorter overall process time.
  • Develop a drying process which would guarantee the removal of rinse water without staining.
  • Provide a high level of functionality to improve process control and data collection.
  • Introduce a reliable and repeatable, fully automated process within limited floor space and headroom.
  • Remove, where possible, human intervention during the process and to remove the extensive risk to operators due to the manual nature of the current process and potential exposure to the chemicals employed.

Layton performed extensive trials to ensure that the defined customer objectives could be met, particularly with relation to the drying efficiency of all micro and complex tubular components.

Tests were developed with the client to ensure that components were cleaned, pickled and dried to the required standard and provide a benchmark for future use.

Special fixturing design was developed to hold the components to optimise the cleaning and drying process.

A comprehensive Design Documentation Package was produced which included for the use of Hastelloy tanks to contain the hazardous chemistries employed in the process and for automated chemical dosing and data logging to satisfy the client in terms of the overall ability of the new system to meet the requirements of the project.

The final design resulted in a new, fully automated, multistage cleaning, pickle and drying system, suitable for use in a limited space designed specifically to meet the stringent documentation requirements of ISO 13485 complete with Layton’s unique 5 year warranty.

About the company: Staffordshire-based Layton Technologies Limited is a global leader in the design, manufacture and installation of precision cleaning equipment for the medical, aerospace and specialist engineering industries. The company is located in the heart of England, with easy access to main transport networks via road, rail and air.