This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

A cleaning

Leon McMahon, marketing director at Safetykleen, looks at how component cleaning systems are meeting the increasingly tough demands of the rail industry, and at the recent development of a whole new solution.


not just the current economic climate that’s putting the pressure on rolling

stock maintenance and manufacture. For years now the requirement for faster turnaround times in the factory, maintenance depot and even at the trackside has been relentless. As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, there are those Government and industry targets to meet on waste reduction and carbon emissions, both of which impact hugely on the choices made.

The 2007 Government White Paper called for a sustainable railway system, and the 2011 McNulty Review called specifi cally for a low-carbon rail network as well as a focus on extending asset life.

From the standpoint of a company like ours delivering component cleaning, spray equipment cleaning and waste removal services, the environmental challenges are to a

Below: Traditional fl ow and brush parts cleaning.

fl uids) has now been taken pretty much as far as it can go. Seeking a major step-up in machine cleaning speed, while still addressing environmental and energy issues, required fresh thinking.

Our various clients in the rail industry were central to focusing these thoughts for us. Both manufacturing and maintenance clients wanted the same thing; a faster, more fl exible way of cleaning components that required minimal operator time, minimal space, was low energy to run, generated as little waste as possible and didn’t cost too much to buy. Not too much of an ask then!


We had already been looking at the possibility of introducing aqueous jet cleaning, (similar to power-washing) but had identifi ed a number of

development obstacles. Below: Jetkleen machine in use.

Apart from the problem of successfully containing high pressure water in a compact watertight space, there were issues energy

regarding usage,

foaming detergent, and the ability to inspect components close-up during the cleaning


Though quite a few rail components are simple and undemanding enough

large extent already being met – particularly on the machine waste side. Where solvent-based degreasing is the best solution, then the solvent is processed for re-use. Where aqueous-based systems are chosen, then there are no VOCs generated and the waste is mostly renewable water.

These are pretty much established options throughout the industry, with only the amount of use and the choice of automatic or manual machines deciding the fi nal equipment and service choice. However, the sophistication of most machines and solvents (or aqueous

for a standard automatic process to clean effectively, a large number are not and require manual manipulation to reach all the surfaces and crevices. We were also aware that attempts by other manufacturers to produce a machine using water jet principles had not been very successful.

In fact, during development trials we were able to solve many of the issues by combining design elements from proven existing machines with newer technology, and by achieving the right formulation of aqueous cleaning fl uid. Together these allowed us to provide an

illuminated upper casing with a large viewing window, which allowed the operator to inspect the component he was cleaning while hand- holding it through a machine-mounted glove. We discovered that operators preferred it to traditional fl ow-brush cleaning and several even said it was fun. Most importantly of all, however, we discovered that the process not only gave a perfect fi nish but did so over ten times faster than conventional systems.

With advanced tank insulation to keep the energy costs down plus an air drying facility, the machine (called Jetkleen) was sent out for trials. These proved exceptionally positive and with a few adjustments and refi nements allowed us to put the machine into production.

We soon realised that alongside the advantages in turnaround times, the speed also meant that the machine was freed up for use by many more people, and therefore able to address a number of different cleaning tasks per day. It could, for example, be shared by a production line and R&D facility in the same building.

The right choices

Despite these breakthrough benefi ts, jet cleaning may still not be the right choice for every facility. Those where the bulk cleaning of simple components is regularly undertaken may fi nd an automatic ‘dishwasher-style’ unit the most appropriate choice, while low-usage maintenance facilities may be best suited to a simple manual unit. A careful analysis of any facility’s usage patterns usually points to the best option for the work.

However, for items such as bogies, gear box castings, brake resistors, axle boxes, and wheels, the benefi ts of jet cleaning are obvious – not forgetting their assistance in meeting those carbon and waste reduction targets.

Many of our customers use a combination of different component cleaning machines to suit different requirements and this may well remain the case going forward. However, the introduction of Jetkleen gives them the option to re-think their processes and maybe take a whole different approach to component cleaning.


rail technology magazine Dec/Jan 13 | 65

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92