Vapor degreasing is an important process for many manufacturers that have strict surface condition requirements to meet.
In this process, a part is exposed to hot solvent vapors that dissolve contaminants. When the vapors cool off, they turn into liquids that carry away contaminants such as grease, oil, or wax that water cannot dissolve.
All in all, this is a very powerful parts finishing process that provides strong results for getting stubborn deposits of oil and grease out of hard-to-reach spots on complex parts.
However, this process is also very tough on the parts washing baskets that are used in it. Some solvents used in the vapor degreasing process tend to be highly caustic, quickly ruining plain steel. Higher operating temperatures can exacerbate this problem.
Another difficulty with this process is that many of the machines used in it utilize special tanks that contain the hot vapors, which the parts have to be dipped into. This limits the size of the parts and parts containers that can be used with these systems to what can fit into the tank’s opening and provide sufficient clearance from the walls of the degreaser.
Runoff from the degreasing process also needs to be able to drain from the basket completely so that it doesn’t end up re-depositing on the part being processed.
With this in mind, what should you look for in a vapor degreasing basket design?
Here are a few suggestions:
Temperature and Corrosion Resistance
The material that your vapor degreasing basket is made of should be resistant to corrosion from repeated exposure to chemical vapors at high temperatures.
Many stainless steel alloys, such as grade 304 or 316 stainless steel, possess high corrosion resistance. Grade 316 stainless steel is particularly resistant to solvents and chlorides. This makes 316 stainless steel very well-suited to vapor degreasing applications.
Without sufficient resistance to corrosion from exposure to high-temperature solvent vapors, a basket will fall apart quickly, leaving you without a container to work with while you wait for a replacement order to be made.
Hoist System Compatibility
For the safety of workers, most manufacturers use automated systems to place baskets into the vapor chamber so that degreasing can take place.
Because of this, it’s important that the vapor degreasing basket that you use is designed to be compatible with the system that you use to move baskets into and out of the vapor degreaser.
For example, basket 1727002 uses a wire ring at the top of a steel wire cage so that it can be attached easily to a crane’s hook. The long wires also help to keep the crane assembly well away from the degreasing vapors.
As mentioned earlier, the runoff from the vapor degreasing process needs to be able to drain freely from parts and the basket to prevent sludge from sticking to the basket or the parts being cleaned.
This is why it’s so important to control the open space of a custom vapor degreasing basket.
If there isn’t enough open area below the parts, then the runoff from parts will pool. If the spacing is too wide for the parts, on the other hand, then parts may fall through and land in the tank.
Here, knowing the exact dimensions of the part can help improve the basket design by allowing the basket manufacturer to make the spaces between the wires as wide as possible without risking parts falling through.
In some cases, the parts being degreased can be large and heavy. Bulky, heavy items put extra strain on the steel wire basket above and beyond what the vapor degreasing process already puts the container through.
Because of this, it’s important to have a basket with a high tensile strength when working with large parts.
One way to accomplish this is to use thicker-gauge wires to improve the strength of the basket. Another is to use steel alloys that have a higher than average tensile strength, such as quarter-hard steel which has a tensile strength of 115-135 KSI (KSI meaning 1,000 pounds per square inch).
These are just a few of the things to look for in a custom vapor degreasing basket. Depending on what processes you use before and after vapor degreasing, you may need make other design considerations as well.
Click below for help finding the perfect basket for the job: