Over the years, TRITON has continually pursued research and experimentation activities that have allowed the development of modern systems already in use at major industrial companies. The specific knowledge of the characteristics of the various materials and in-depth analysis of the pieces to be treated have lead us to develop innovative solutions capable of guaranteeing results and supporting the technological growth of production processes. Intelligent management: modern industry requires that machines are able to perform product identification and automatic setting of parameters, previously assigned, for that specific process. Control and traceability: thanks to the ability to continually detect useful process data, every critical parameter is constantly controlled and the traceability of results over time is also guaranteed thanks to a remote connection, which allows to make historical backups of operating cycles. Versatility and integration: individual machines, complex systems, robotic or highly automated systems, with great flexibility of use, perfectly integrated in the work islands, or specifically designed to be inserted into production lines. Eco-friendly solutions: optimisation of the use of chemicals useful in the process, atmospheric emission abatement systems and those for the recovery of water vapour, as well as integrated systems for the process of treating used liquids. Operator safety: PNOZ safety relays (better known as PILZ) are adopted to meet the requirements of the Machinery Directive
Without doubt, the most important surface treatment applications in these sectors concern washing and phosphating (surface conversion), in the preparation for painting and corrosion protection. These industries produce extremely complex-shaped metal parts, with very strict dimensional tolerances, in different materials such as cast iron, steel and aluminium, using automatic machines and very often robotic production lines. This mainly concerns engine bodies: cylinder blocks, heads, crankshafts, camshafts, connecting rods, pistons, bearings, gear or transfer box parts, shafts, gears, housing and, in aeronautics, low-pressure turbines. Given the high geometric complexity of the pieces to be treated and the very strict requirements in terms of quality and the environment, machines in these sectors must integrate increasingly higher levels of know-how and technology. This concerns cutting-edge systems, automatically managed by controllers that operate in line, with calibrated and positioned washing systems and those equipped with robots that project high pressure jets to tackle the cleaning of complex components that have blind holes, threads and inner chambers. Highly automated systems with extremely flexible usage thanks to the ability to recognise the piece and immediately redefine the correct process parameters, avoiding the need for constant operator supervision. TRITON has already supplied numerous solutions within these sectors and, to complete its offer, has introduced a new range of systems for deburring particulates in aluminium, cast iron and steel.
The small metal parts sector presents numerous production facets, determined by the type of material used, processing methods and the level of precision required. These differences involve the use of different types of oil, which lead to various washing issues. In general, we can say that both for turned small parts and those sheared and moulded, washing with water and detergent is the most commonly used system. Special attention is required for the thermal treatment process of the nuts and bolts that essentially has two washing phases: the first wash has the function of degreasing and dephosphorylation the pieces before going into the furnace; the second wash is used to remove the oil after the quenching step, before going into the tempering furnace. The process is finished with the anti-corrosion protection performed in an emulsified oil bath.
The products that fall into this category are cutlery, pots and pans, and sinks. Surface treatments in this sector have different purposes and are closely linked to the type of metal used (stainless steel or aluminium) and the finish needed (polishing, glazing or painting). Washing plays a fundamental roles out of all the various technologies. As a matter of fact, the cleaning of the product is crucial, both in the case of a final washing and inter-operational cleaning. According to the type of metal and the different treatment purposes, we are therefore able to subdivide as follows.
- Stainless steel: after moulding there is a polishing phase. When this operation is complete, paste, either liquid or solid, from the polishing is left as a contaminant on the piece and washing with water and detergent, followed by one or more rinses, the last with demineralised water, is needed to remove it.
- White aluminium: after moulding and washing with water and detergent, pickling and one or more rinses, the last with demineralised water, is needed to remove it and give a satin effect.
- Painted aluminium: after moulding there is the preparation of the surface, a necessary step to achieve the required roughness for the proper adhesion of the non-stick paint. In the past, surface preparation required 2 intermediate rinses, before and after blasting. Today, thanks to developments in the chemical industry, special detergents are available on the market, limiting the use of blasting to the production of non-stick cookware with arc spray
The machines and installations, considering the numbers of parts to be treated and the high degree of cleaning required are made up of spraying (tunnel) or dipping (with ultrasonic) systems and can operate with aqueous detergents, chemical products and demineralised water.
Thermal treatment is a machining process that is performed for many categories of products. It includes a series of procedures for modifying the crystalline structure of a metal or a metal alloy, in order to obtain certain characteristics of hardness, toughness and malleability. As with other machining processes, the various types of thermal treatments must also be accompanied by accurate washing operations, which maximise performance. Failure to remove contaminants from the product, can in fact have negative effects not only on the material itself but also on the machinery used, particularly furnaces. The presence of organic contaminants, for example, could lead to the onset of carburising (increase in the concentration of carbon on the surface), whereas failure to remove any phosphate layers could cause embrittlement of the treated particulates. Depending on the properties you want to give the treated materials, cleaning requirements may differ. For example, if the thermal treatment does not involve structural or chemical modifications of the material, the presence of small amounts of contaminants can be tolerated. In cases where it does, decontamination must be carried out more thoroughly.
Cleaning the product is crucial in this sector, both in the case of a final washing and with inter-operational cleaning, followed by machining operations such as threading and those surface finishing such as cleaning, polishing and galvanic treatment. The are 4 types of pollutants that must be removed from the parts: emulsions and machining swarf, siliceous dust from casting with the sand core and the sand blasting process (to remove the release agents used in the forging dies) and impregnation residues used to close any surface holes resulting from the casting. This sector generally uses washing cycles with aqueous detergents, with spraying machines, immersion with hydrokinetic action or with the addition of ultrasound, to meet the following requirements:
- guaranteeing that the polished pieces do not display halos after galvanic treatment
- ensuring optimal degreasing of all parts before painting
- ensuring optimal cleaning inside the faucet body as a result of the sand casting process
- removing any residue from the microporosity of the metal to clean
- removing emulsions and machining swarf during the threading operation
This last operation (the interim or final thread), like all mechanical operations, makes the metal surface live making the threaded parts susceptible to oxidation. Therefore it is necessary to carry out a washing and a protective operation (passivation) of the parts, taking special care not to damage the threads.