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When heating and cooling equipment manufacturer, HC Coils, started producing copper tubular components in-house, the company needed an industrial washing machine to remove coolant residue and swarf deposited during sawing, and to wash off mandrel lubricant used for CNC bending.

Failure to achieve a high level of cleanliness would have resulted in unacceptable joint porosity when subsequently brazing the tubes in a heating or cooling block. In addition, unpleasant smoke would have been generated in the working environment, contravening health and safety regulations.

A batch of copper header legs about

to be deoiled and deswarfed in a 12- minute automatic cycle in the Turbex 2100 aqueous washing machine at HC Coils, Gosport.

To clean the components thoroughly, the company bought a Turbex 2100 aqueous cleaning machine that uses a slowly rotating basket to maximise exposure of the components to jets of hot water. Not only does the automatic batch washing remove all soils to the required standard, but the action of the tubes gently tumbling against each other was also found to remove small burrs created by sawing. Joining the tubes to the blocks is consequently even more consistent and there is no risk of operators touching sharp edges during assembly.

HC Coils is a privately owned company started in 1984 by Managing Director, Paul Galloway and his father, William. At its 4,000 sq m factory on the Fareham Reach Business Park in Gosport, the firm manufactures finned heat exchangers and associated products for heating, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigeration, process cooling and heat recovery.

Close-up of the basket containing

approximately 350 tubular components for cleaning. The rotational speed of 2 rpm causes a tumbling action that also removes burrs from sawing.

The firm designs and supplies systems worldwide for a diverse range of uses in supermarkets, commercial buildings and hospitals, food manufacturing and storage facilities, and induction furnace and plastic moulding machine manufacture. Fast turnaround and production of bespoke new and replacement heat exchangers, as well as standard units, are hallmarks of the company's service that differentiate it from the competition.

Copper swarf collects in the filter of the Turbex 2100 and is cleaned out once per week.

In 2011, HC Coils decided to produce return bends and header legs in Gosport from various sizes of copper tube in order to save the cost of buying them in from Italy. In so doing, practically all manufacturing was brought in-house and under direct management control. Even

52 SURFACE WORLD december 2013

CNC sheet metal punching and powder coating are carried out on site. Only motors, switches and wire are purchased from external suppliers.

Mike Theed, in charge of production at HC Coils, commented, "We wanted to avoid solvent-based cleaning due to the legal restrictions on its use.

"After researching aqueous cleaning machine suppliers on the internet, we shortlisted four potential suppliers. Turbex was our eventual choice due to successful trials on our tube components carried out at their technical centre in Alton.

"The machine has been very reliable since it was installed. I think only one seal has been replaced in two years and that was done on the same day by a Turbex engineer.

"Apart from clearing out the filter weekly, the only other maintenance is to empty the machine annually and give it a thorough clean. For the rest of the time, it runs without a hitch."

During operation, the basket is pulled forward from the machine on its central spindle, approximately 350 copper return bends or header legs are loaded and the basket is pushed back until it engages with a drive mechanism at the back. To ensure thorough penetration of all components, water and detergent are sprayed through the spindle and continuously recycled via the filter.

The program is set to rotate the basket at two revs per minute and spray water at 70ºC for 5 minutes, after which a 7-minute drying cycle ensures that the parts are free from water when the operator removes them. All process parameters can be adjusted, a facility that HC Coils has recently exploited to process a different range of components, namely mild steel hanging brackets that have to be oil-free before being powder coated. follow us on Twitter @surfaceworldmag

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