To clean off years of accumulated grime, RobotWorx turns to dry ice blasting to refurbish industrial robots.
Since 1992, RobotWorx has been refurbishing industrial robots, restoring the workhorses of manufacturing environments to like-new condition. Robots are commodities today, performing everything from welding tasks to handling intrinsic materials in solar panel clean room environments. For RobotWorx, opportunity beckons when companies upgrade their plants, close their facilities, or when old robots are replaced. Regardless of their condition, RobotWorx gives used robots new life.
When used robots arrive at RobotWorx, many are covered in all manner of grime: welding slag and spatter, paint, grease, etc. In order to prepare these robots for resale or integration into pre-engineered turnkey cells, they must be scrubbed to perfection.
A RobotWorx maintenance crew typically spends one full day on each robot, manually scrubbing with traditional solvent-based cleaning solution and towels. For a company that buys and sells hundreds of used robots a year, this manual process was inefficient and costly.
“In many cases, we are bringing in dozens of robots each week in a variety of conditions, and we need to be able to quickly clean them and get them ready for a potential buyer. Our cleaning process, while critical to our business, was presenting a challenge for us, and we needed to find a solution that could clean the robots without damaging electronic components.”
- Matt Schrift, Robotworx shop manager
Robotworx implements dry ice blasting
To speed up and simplify the cleaning and refurbishing process, RobotWorx replaced its traditional solvents and manual cleaning methods with a dry ice blasting system.
The dry ice blasting process uses non-abrasive media in the form of recycled CO2 particles that won’t damage surfaces or equipment. The combination of dry ice cleaning’s kinetic energy and thermal effects break the connection between the dirt and surface, lifting away contaminants.
Unlike blasting with other media, dry ice blasting:
Does not leave any secondary waste
Is safe and non-toxic
Is non-abrasive and will not damage equipment
Does not create downstream contamination
Robotworx experienced results
1) Saves time
Replacing tedious and time consuming manual methods with dry ice blasting has significantly sped up the robot refurbishment process.
The old process process required several employees to clean robots by hand, taking as much as eight hours per robot. With dry ice blasting, RobotWorx has reduced the cleaning time to less than two hours with a one person cleaning crew.
Since dry ice blasting produces no secondary waste, there is nothing to clean up except the debris that was blasted from the robot’s surface.
“Dry ice blasting has made a significant impact on our entire robot refurbishing process.”
- Matt Schrift
2) Saves money
RobotWorx estimates that it now saves more than $60 in labor costs per robot and was able to reduce its use of cleaning solvents by 75%, as well as the costs of other supplies needed to clean the robots by hand.
3) Cleans without damaging robots
Unlike steam cleaning or water, dry ice blasting allows RobotWorx to clean its electrical equipment without leaving a moisture blanket on or inside the robot.
And unlike sand or soda blasting, dry ice blasting is a non-abrasive method that rigorously cleans the intricate electrical components without causing any damage.
4) Safe and user-friendly
Dry ice blasting dramatically reduces the need for solvents or chemicals, creating a safer work environment for RobotWorx employees. The easy operation of the system has allowed the company to train multiple people, allowing Robotworx to clean robots as often as necessary.
“The dry ice blasting process allows us to clean effectively without damaging any of the robots’ components. It is much faster than the tedious and time-consuming solvent alternative and saves us time on the initial cleaning of the robots, which in turn speeds up the entire refurbishment process, allowing us to prepare more robots for customers.”
- Matt Schrift
For a re-manufacturer like RobotWorx, dry ice blasting is helping to give up to 15 years of service back to hundreds of robots each year. RobotWorx has found an efficient, user-friendly, environmentally responsible cleaning solution that is helping to bring robots back to life.