Saturday, November 14, 2009

Breaker Plate clean up suggestion

Buzz: - Hey Skippy, the holidays continue to close in on us and we had a quick question on breaker plate maintenance -

[Flex PVC user] "Is there an energy efficient way to clean breaker plates?"

Skippy: As a big believer in (M)inimum (N)ecessary (C)hange or correction should be applied for (M)aximum (D)esired (R)esult, how about this -

Assuming that you are pulling and tidying them up "hot" after running flex PVC (even highly loaded), an operator with sufficient vocational prep time should be able to use compressed air and have them spic and span by simply pulling them clean most of the time. This does require a little practice with experienced personnel and the appropriate non scratching tools - most houses make brass tooling available specifically for this type of clean up. Once fully cleared, they should be dipped in an acid neutralizing solution, rinsed, air dried to remove moisture and either stored with/in a light lubricant, or preheated and reused on the next line -

Buzz: there are of course all sorts of other cleaning methods - (old) salt baths, fluidized beds, ultrasonics, etc . . .

Skippy: Yes of course. Generally plants with processes requiring breaker plates to convert ribbon to plug flow also have a supply of compressed air on hand as part of the operations, and may need to avoid the extra expense of these additional energy consuming devices. You may need to re-engineer your tooling with one or more die "swing gates" or multiple breaker plate positions on a push through system to keep the line up and running again during clean up/change over with a minimum of lost time. The activity to avoid appears to be pulling the plates out and leaving them to cool down, then trying to "clean them" in an "energy efficient manner"; which seems like the start of a wasteful process -

Just our two cents -