Vertical Tabs

Vixen has been leading the way in surface treatment for over 20 years, and its success is based on the variety of machines that are produced at its state-of-the-art factory in Teesside.

Now, Vixen has just completed an exciting new project with Re-Go Autoparts, a leading re-manufacturer of steering components, and created an automated washing process based on Vixen’s Sledge Wash platform, which uses a variety of wash stages.

The three-stage wash machine was designed exclusively for Re-Go, to specifically clean steering racks for motor vehicles. One of the challenges was to remove large amounts of compacted grease in the long aluminium racks as a general spray wash would not suffice.

Re-Go chose Vixen Surface Treatments to produce this machine after the success of its first Sledge Wash that is used in its sister company in Belgium, which was purchased two years ago.

This machine was a different multi-stage platform and improved the cleaning performance and quality inspections of their products.

Gary Martin, managing director at Re-Go Autoparts, said: “We were in need of a machine that could effectively clean steering racks in difficult to reach areas, while minimising manual handling and improving throughput.

“We approached Vixen to design a completely bespoke machine that could clean disassembled steering racks and components in the same wash cycle, yet still achieve fantastic results quickly.

“As Re-Go is a quality re-manufacturer, we needed a company that we could trust to pay close attention to our requirements, and our previous purchase from Vixen made them the first choice for this machine – we are delighted with the results.”

Once the components have been loaded into the baskets, a lift raises them onto the tracks of the machine, where it travels along in a sledge-like movement. As the steering racks are often heavy and difficult to handle, this automation of the washing process reduces the amount of labour.

The first stage of the wash process sprays the components using a series of spray jets and a single high pressure Thunder Jet to clean the thick grease from inside the steering rack casing.

The Thunder Jet uses approximately 1000 litres of water per minute at 5-bar pressure. By using this, the internal cavities in the racks can be accessed and cleaned while the machine’s basket holds them in place.

Once this stage is complete, the components move into the submersion phase where they are agitated quickly by a pneumatic ram whilst being immersed. This causes a flushing action to occur, therefore cleaning the components more thoroughly internally.

The final stage of the machine is ultrasonic. This is where transducers that are thermally bonded to the tank create ultrasonic waves, and the movement causes the water and detergent molecules to vibrate against the surface of the components which removes debris and soiling. This process is known as the principle of cavitation and is very effective on hard to reach areas that require cleaning – specifically the internal parts of the components.

Aidan Mallon, managing director at Vixen Surface Treatments, said: “It is vital that Re-Go’s components are cleaned well in order for them to function properly, and we are very pleased that our three-stage system has been received well since installation.

“We worked closely with them to ensure that this machine would meet its requirements and achieve the best possible finishing outcome, so it’s fantastic to hear that the machine is living up to its expectations.”

Re-Go’s new machine is part of Vixen’s Sledge Wash range, which is made up of multi-stage platforms that are used to clean components such as castings and pressings, particularly in the aviation and automotive industries.

Vixen’s custom build service ensures that customers are able to own a machine that is individually tailored to their needs. The in-house design department are experienced in developing ideas that will benefit individual companies similar to Re-Go Autoparts.

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