Aquavantage/BHC Helps International Airframe Parts Maker Achieve Exceptionally Long Tank Life
Note: This case study was undertaken by Brulin (BHC), the manufacturers of the Aquavantage cleaning solutions that Kleentek recommend and use.
An international airframe parts maker consulted with Brulin Holding Corporation (BHC), as they needed the ability for ultrasonic cleaning for airframe parts to clean 2,024 A1 airframe fuselage skin panels, fairings, winglets and other parts. The company was looking for a cleaning solution that would remove processing and machine oils, particulate matter, process debris and corrosion inhibitor oils in an aqueous environment.
The cleaning process was needed as an ‘in-process’ cleaning step at the end of the manufacturing process before de-ox (oxide-inhibiting grease), and anodising.
The customer had previously used trichloroethylene (TCE) for vapour degreasing for aviation parts cleaning, but due to government regulations and restrictions around nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE), had to look for an alternative.
Brulin recommended the NPE-free AquaVantage 815GD-NF, as a replacement to AquaVantage 815GD-NF to meet requirements.
The industrial aviation cleaning process utilises immersion with air sparging (or the injection of pressurised air), incorporating aqueous degreasing with AquaVantage 815GD-NF within an 8500-gallon (approximately 32,000L) wash tank, without the use of oil skimming.
The temperature is controlled at 60-70°C (140-158°F) with agitation using air sparging, followed by rinses including alkaline cleaning, deoxidising, and surface treatments such as anodising.
The customer used a special pH monitoring and maintenance protocol developed by BHC for airframe manufacturers seeking to extend bath life in very large tanks.
The customer monitored the tank condition by pH measurement, and titration (or quantitative chemical analysis) weekly. The concentration was controlled at 12% ±, and the pH was controlled within 9.6-10.4.
The customer was able to maintain the tank within limits, and achieve great results in both cleaning and corrosion control for 8 years, without the need for full replacement of the AquaVantage 815GD-NF detergent solution.
BHC supported the customer through the diligent process control, to evaluate the tank condition, and regular testing of 2024 coupons to detect and evaluate corrosion also enabled BHC to recommend potential process adjustments for the success of the cleaning process, and to extend the tank life.