Singh's Engineering Services, Waikato - case study
'It did everything we wanted to do and more. So within a couple of hours of trying it out we basically bought the unit.'
We talk to Phil Reid - Foreman at Singh's Engineering Services about their experience using the Cougartron ProPlus weld cleaning system, and why they won't be using pickling paste again!
Singh’s Engineering Services (SES) in Hamilton are a general engineering company specialising in stainless steel products. Before using the Cougartron SES used mainly pickling acid to clean welds, or polished products manually. Phil Reid is the person in charge of hazardous substances, and after attending the acid handling course he quickly realised they needed to find a way of minimising the amount of dangerous substances they use in the workshop. Phil set up a free Cougartron trial and within a couple of hours testing the product on "some really rugged welds" they bought the Cougartron ProPlus and won't be using pickling paste again!
Below, Phil describes their experience using the Cougartron electrochemical weld cleaning system, and why they believe it's safer and performs better than pickling paste:
Electrochemical weld cleaning case study
What made Singh's Engineering Services (SES) look for an alternative to pickling paste?
'Up until now we’ve used mainly pickling acid or we’ve polished stuff, manually, and we have an electropolishing bath to do our large items. So the problem with the pickling acid is under the new health and safety regulations it’s a lot harder to use. You’ve got to dispose of it. You’ve got to track all your disposal. So we were looking for some way to get around the dangerous acids. We found Euromarc by chance and saw they had a product, and they were happy to loan us a unit, or they’ve got a thing where they loan the unit out, which is really good. So we were able to get the unit into our workshop and just set up some practice polishing on some really rugged welds with plenty of oxidisation.'
Like a lot of stainless steel fabricators, the engineers at SES were initially skeptical...
'We were thinking “Yeah right, we’ve seen these products before, and they don’t really perform.” But within 5 minutes, literally 5 minutes of setting this thing up, we were blown away. It did everything we wanted to do and more. So within a couple of hours of trying it out we basically bought the unit.'
So how did the Cougartron ProPlus perform?
'It’s worked out really well, we find it’s good for small jobs where you can set up quickly and do the Cougartroning on the weld. Clean up is a breeze, you use a neutralising solution which you spray onto the area you’ve just polished that neutralises the low acid content of the clean you’ve been doing, and you basically just wipe it down and you’re finished. The beauty of it is, it brings the weld back to the natural finish of the stainless. There’s no shadowing around the weld like you get with pickling, so there’s no further clean up. You brush the acid solution on with the wand and the job's done. You just spray it down and wipe it, brilliant.'
And after using the system for a while, what does Phil think....?
'I’m a complete fan boy with it, mainly because it does what it says it will do straight out of the box. We keep it in my office, in the box, but everyone has been trained on it. We had a training session a couple of weeks ago now, to bring everyone up to speed and they all had a go. We’ve got a couple of guys in the workshop that have used it quite a bit, a couple of hours use on it. We’ve had no issues with it. I don’t have to supervise them. I know that it’s gonna be safe to use and the clean-up's easy.'
The Cougartron's consumable parts are made to last. What does Phil say about the durability?
'The brushes last forever, like we did a big job recently on some cooking pots that we make for overseas order, and one brush did the whole run of cooking pots. Now I’m talking about pots which are 700mm diameter so you’re doing a big weld on the top and bottom of the pot, and the lids. Different thicknesses don’t worry it.'
Being safer and easier to use, there's no need to isolate!
'We’ve got another product which we are just developing at the moment, and we’ve got a stainless frame which is sitting on a plastic box, now ordinarily we’d have to dismantle to acid the welds, but in this case we can leave it on the plastic container, do the bit we wanted, and spray it down, and the jobs done and it looks like it had been polished.'
Removes blemishes and shadowing...
'That’s another thing, I have tried the polishing function on our Cougartron and it is good for taking out blemishes. We’re still using our electropolishing mainly for larger items. But in our electropolishing process you get shadowing in some areas of the stainless. Well the Cougartron's good for coming back and taking the shadowing out and it actually brings it back to the shiny finish that you’re after, so from that perspective it’s been good. It will be a lifesaver for us in the future if we have issues.'
How does it compare it to pickling paste?
'I’m the in house [acid handler] I’ve done the acid handling course. Basically if you have electropolishing or if you’re handling acid in the workshop you have to have someone who’s got the qualifications to deal with that. And it’s quite scary if you go on the course, under the new HAZNO Act if you don’t do things the correct way your company is going to be in a lot of trouble very quickly. So you’ve got to look for ways to minimise dangerous items in the workshop, and this is one way to do it. Basically we won’t be buying pickling paste again, we won’t have to. This does the job. We still have our hazardous containment area where we have to store everything, but the lower grade level of the acids that we’re using with the Courgartron make life a lot easier to deal with.'
SES also use bead blasting on some products....
'We also bead blast some of our products. Which is good, but this will be quicker because if you just want to maintain a 2b finish or even a polished finish on a product you can actually do that without too much worry. Even if you put out heavy work. Like heavily oxidised welds, it still copes with that and you can use the polishing function to bring it back to a good finish. But if you are bead blasting products and you’ve got to weld afterwoods, you can still Cougartron the weld and it will actually bring it back to the bead blasted finish. Which is quite good as well. Like the weld will be polished, but your bead blast finish will be good right up to the edge of the weld which is quite impressive.'
And the final word...
'We’ve checked everything and everything we need to do with it, it will do.'
In fact, team at SES are so impressed with the performance of the Cougartron ProPlus they made us this short video of the Cougartron in action -