CLEANING PROCESSES

Through attention to detail and awareness of potential effects, Southern Metal Processing is able to provide our customers with repeatable long-term economic benefits.

Overview

We’ve been providing contracted cleaning service to the Polymer, Chemical, and Petrochemical Industries for over 45 years.

Southern Metal Processing Co. Inc. has been providing contracted cleaning service to the Polymer, Chemical and Petrochemical Industries for 45 years. Our facilities have operated 24 hours per day, seven days a week 365 days a year continuously since 1973. Our day supervision as well as shift supervisors are accustomed to daily communications with customers concerning pickup, delivery and status of all work. If required, one of our vehicles can be dispatched within hours to pick up or deliver equipment critical to the day-to-day operations of our customers. We have installed and maintain backup power generation in the event of severe weather conditions.

We pride ourselves in the use of cleaning processes specifically tailored to provide optimum economics to accomplish the desired result while being aware of the criticality of its effects on performance, appearance, longevity and timely availability of equipment. Through this attention to detail and awareness of potential effects on issues such as filter media integrity, performance and cycle life, SMP is able to provide its customers with repeatable long term economic benefits.

Once an opportunity is realized for us to provide one or possibly multiple services, we first look at the chemistry of the contaminant and/or residual material remaining. From this point, we look at the materials of construction of the components, method of fabrication and any critical details such as sealing surfaces, bearing surfaces, thermal limitations, etc. before a process is developed or implemented.

Some of our more frequently used processes are described in detail in later sections. While these or a slight modification is typically the most expedient or lowest initial cost due to reduced development or equipment and/or chemical availability, it should be understood that any specific or special requirements of a given cleaning challenge will be evaluated and implemented as needed. We are willing to develop new techniques and practices as required to meet a customer’s needs or specific equipment requirements.

Abrasive Cleaning

Abrasive cleaning processes are used when chemical or thermal processes are not affective in removal of contaminant, economics require a low labor and/or chemical/utility contribution or favorable secondary benefits arise from the process.

In such cases, Southern Metal Processing Co. Inc. has several alternative automated processes and equipment available to effect this cleaning requirement. Densities, particle sizes, metallurgies and impingement velocities can be selected to yield the most affective and economic solution to the cleaning requirement. Call or email us to discuss your specific needs.

Solvent Cleaning

Solvent processes are based on the premise that “like dissolves like”. As such, solvents are most effective in dissolving and removing organic materials, such as polymers, oils and grease, or other soluble contaminants.

This cleaning approach is most effective when removal of contaminant is required from within the interstices of fine metal filter media such as stainless steel sintered fiber, sintered powder or woven wire mesh to facilitate the reuse of these expensive materials. It has the added benefit of being the least aggressive toward attack on the extremely fine fiber or particle diameters that are used in the construction of these mediums. It is also frequently the process of choice in cleaning of delicate metal components and fabrications where distortion is possible with the use of high temperatures or damage to surfaces possible from abrasion seen in other processes. Southern Metal Processing Co. Inc. offers a variety of existing solvent processes and can work with its customers to develop new ones provided the economics are justified. Call or email us to discuss your specific needs.

Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis cleaning is often referred to as a “Burn Off” process. In this approach, a part is placed in a high temperature oven (e.g. 750 OF to 850 OF) and heated to the point where the contaminant breaks down. The oxygen level is reduced to 6 % or less during the process.

This cleaning approach is often the only choice in removal of high molecular weight polyolefins such as polypropylene. It is very effective and economical in removal of coatings and epoxies from paint racks, die blocks etc. Manual cleaning of surfaces is usually a secondary requirement. Call or email us to discuss your specific needs.

Molten Salt

Molten salt bath treatment of metallic components (i.e. filters, dies, spinnerettes, racks, tooling, etc.) for the removal of non-solvent friendly polymers, paints, powder coatings, epoxies and fluorinated/chlorinated polymers is a safe economical technology. In this approach, a part is placed in a salt bath (i.e. salts specifically formulated to protect metal components) at just above the salts melting point and then heated to 725 OF to 850 OF. The specific temperature depends on the characteristics of the contaminant and the thermal limits of parts to be cleaned. As a result of the density difference between molten salt and the contaminant in conjunction with the absence of free oxygen, the removal and/or decomposition of the contaminant is easily accomplished.

Polymers either melt and separate due to density differences or are converted to their decomposition by-products, typically CO/CO2 and H2O. The later reaction is the primary mechanism for paints, epoxies, powder coatings and other high molecular weight or cross linked contaminants, including coke/graphite/carbon. Manual cleaning of surfaces or subsequent chemical baths followed by ultrasonics are usually a secondary requirement. Call or email us to discuss your specific needs.

Chemline

De-scaling, iron removal as well as numerous other inorganic contaminants or fouling materials can be removed via acid or caustic bath treatment followed by sufficient neutralization and flushing. These aqueous based solutions are tailored to the specific need for cleaning and safe handling of the metal components.

In addition, it is often necessary to further clean or rinse components after solvent, pyrolysis or salt bath cleaning to remove residual contaminants and ensure the complete removal of residual solvents or salts.

We manage a number of proprietary chemical treatment baths specifically developed through our years of experience and involvement in the cleaning industry for these purposes. The chemistry and process conditions of these baths are monitored and controlled to exacting standards to ensure adequate cleaning and the safe treatment of components. Call or email us to discuss your specific needs.

ALABAMA

130 Alred Lane

Oxford, AL 36203

Phone: (256) 831-8130 | Fax: (256) 831-2103

TEXAS

4750 W. Cedar Bayou Lynchburg Rd.

Baytown, TX 77521

Phone: (281) 424-3324 | Fax: (281) 424-1698