Published on 02-Jan-2024

How to Troubleshoot & Resolve NDT Cleaning Problems

How to Troubleshoot & Resolve NDT Cleaning Problems

Cleaning parts using aqueous solutions are usually only one part of a much larger manufacturing process. When a problem arises in the process, technicians and engineers need to trace the source of the problem and determine the best solution.

Sometimes a problem will appear immediately after the step causing it. In those cases, troubleshooting can be simple and straightforward.

Other times, problems will only appear after several more processing steps. In these cases, tracing back the root causes can be difficult.

In this article, we outline 5 basic steps you can take to identify and resolve an issue with your aqueous cleaning system, and give you a list of common problems associated with water-based cleaners along with solutions for each.

5 Steps to Resolve an Aqueous NDT Cleaner Problem

  1. Identify: Identify the stage in the process where the problem first becomes apparent. Closely observe that stage to find out what makes the problem visible.
  2. Find the source: Starting with the identified stage where the problem becomes apparent, work backwards through the process and closely observe each stage to identify the source of the problem.
  3. Monitor: When the stage causing the problem is found, monitor that stage to find out if the problem is transient, if it is periodic or if it is inherent to the process.
  4. Dig deeper: 

If the problem is transient or temporary, identify whether any materials or conditions have changed. Sometimes a simple change in material can introduce unforeseen problems.

If the problem is periodic or sporadic, observe the environment and nearby process stages. Sometimes seemingly unrelated operations can influence each other to create a problem.

If the problem appears to be inherent in the process stage, collect as much information as possible. Evaluate whether the problem can be eliminated by changing the stage where the problem originates, or by changing the stage where the problem becomes apparent. Determine whether subsequent process stages would be affected.

5. Take Action : Based on the information you have, implement the best solution to the problem.

Common Problems with Aqueous Cleaning

If you have concerns or troubles with your process that are not covered in this list, please let us know so our experts can help you find the right solution to your cleaning issues.


Part is not clean (general)

Possible Causes

Solutions

Cleaner concentration is too low

Check cleaner concentration and adjust if necessary

Temperature is too low

Check temperature controller and adjust if necessary

Parts are not cleaned for long enough

Increase the time that the part is processed

Cleaning solution is loaded with too much soil

Check soil levels. If necessary, dump cleaning solution and clean out reservoir to remove soil sediment. Refill with fresh cleaning solution

Parts are not rinsed enough

Increase rinsing time. Increase flow of rinse water. Check rinse water for contamination.

Cleaner solution is not aggressive enough

Switch to a higher pH, higher alkalinity cleaner, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Part is not clean (hand scrubbing)

Possible Causes

Solutions

Parts are not scrubbed enough

Increase scrubbing action on part

Part is not clean (soak tank, agitated tank, ultrasonic tank)

Possible Causes

Solutions

Dirt is not being lifted off surface because ultrasonic power is too low

Adjust ultrasonic power setting

Large particles not removed because ultrasonic frequency is too high

Adjust ultrasonic frequency setting

Small particles not removed because ultrasonic frequency is too low

Adjust ultrasonic frequency setting

Too many parts loaded in bath at one time

Decrease number of parts processed at one time

Part is not clean (spray washing)

Possible Causes

Solutions

Too many parts being processed at one time

Decrease number of parts processed at one time to allow more space

Parts are arranged so that spray is inconsistent

Rearrange parts in basket

Part surfaces are dark after cleaning

Possible Causes

Solutions

Cleaner concentration is too high

Check bath concentration and dilute if necessary

Bath temperature is too high

Check bath temperature controller and adjust if necessary

Metal surface is being attacked by aggressive chemistry

Switch to lower pH, l ower alkalinity cleaner solution

Switch to a solution with more corrosion inhibitors

Let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Parts have a rainbow pattern similar to heat burn

Possible Causes

Solutions

Bath temperature is too high

Check bath temperature controller and adjust if necessary

Dryer temperature is too high

Check dryer temperature controller and adjust if necessary

Part surfaces show pitting, but part surface is otherwise clean

Possible Causes

Solutions

Metal surface is being attacked by aggressive chemistry 

Switch to lower pH, lower alkalinity cleaner solution

Switch to cleaner solution containing more corrosion inhibitors

Add low-concentration corrosion inhibitor to rinse water

Use a protective coat of machine oil for long-term parts storage

Let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Part surfaces have starburst pattern

Possible Causes

Solutions

Part surface being damaged by ultrasonics

Decrease ultrasonic power

Increase ultrasonic frequency

Cleaning solution turns yellow or brown

Possible Causes

Solutions

Bath temperature too high

Check bath temperature controller and adjust as necessary

Cleaner concentration too high

Check cleaner concentration

Cleaning solution oxidized over time

Ambient air can cause certain cleaner formulations to oxidize and darken over time. This does not affect the usefulness or cleaning ability of the solution.

Cleaning solution loaded with too much emulsified oil

Check soil levels. If necessary, dump cleaning solution and clean out reservoir to remove soil sediment. Refill with fresh cleaning solution.

A film of oil develops on top of the cleaning solution

Possible Causes

Solutions

Cleaner concentration too low

Check cleaner concentration and adjust as necessary

Bath temperature too low

Check bath temperature controller and adjust as necessary

Oil-phase de-foaming agent added 

If an oil-based de-foaming agent is in use, the film of oil on top of the solution is there to prevent the formation of foam

Oil loading in cleaner tank too high

Check soil levels. If necessary, dump cleaning solution and clean out reservoir to remove soil sediment. Refill with fresh cleaning solution

Cleaner chemistry not compatible with soils being cleaned

Switch to a different cleaner that is chemically compatible with the base material and soils being cleaned, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Excessive foam

Possible Causes

Solutions

Too much agitation

Decrease agitation until foaming stops

Spray pressure and volume too high

Check pressure and flow regulators and adjust if necessary

Recirculation pump cavitating

Check condition of pump and check for flow blockage

Cleaner concentration too high

Check cleaner concentration and adjust as necessary

Bath temperature too low

Check bath temperature controller and adjust as necessary

Cleaner de-foaming agents used up

Replenish de-foaming agents

Foaming soil or additive introduced to bath

If soil is naturally foaming, a different cleaner formulation may be required, or additional de-foaming agents may need to be used, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleanerhttps://www.magnaflux.com/Contact-Us.htm

Parts have a film of oil when removed from the cleaning solution

Possible Causes

Solutions

Parts not completely cleaned

See above recommendations for Part is not clean

Oil loading of cleaner bath too high

Check soil levels. If necessary, dump cleaning solution and clean out reservoir to remove soil sediment. Refill with fresh cleaning solution

Oil contamination of rinse water

Check rinse water to make sure only clean water is used for parts rinsing

Parts have excessive grease or heavy oils before cleaning

Add pre-cleaning step to remove excessive grease and heavy oil from parts

Cleaner chemistry not compatible with soils being cleaned

Switch to a different cleaner that is chemically compatible with the base material and soils being cleaned, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Parts have a white film or powdery residue

Possible Causes

Solutions

Parts not sufficiently rinsed after cleaning

Check rinse water to make sure only clean water is used for rinsing

Increase rinsing time or add second rinse stage

Increase rinse water flow or agitation in rinse tank.

Hard water scale forming on parts

Install water conditioners on the processing line

Switch to a different cleaner that has better hard water tolerance, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Silicates precipitating on parts

Switch to a different cleaner that does not use silicates, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Excessive scale buildup on tank fixtures or heater

Possible Causes

Solutions

Hard water scale

Install water conditioners on the processing line

Switch to a different cleaner that has better hard water tolerance, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Silicates precipitating on parts

Increase maintenance routines to clean scale off more frequently

Switch to a different cleaner that does not use silicates, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Part surfaces appear grainy after cleaning

Possible Causes

Solutions

Part is being etched by galvanic action between dissimilar metals

Verify that all equipment and cleaning tanks are properly grounded. Verify that part baskets or fixturing are properly grounded

Part is being attacked by aggressive cleaner chemistry 

Switch to a cleaner that is compatible with the base metal of the parts, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Color of alloy changes after cleaning

Possible Causes

Solutions

Part is being anodized by galvanic action between dissimilar metals

Verify that all equipment and cleaning tanks are properly grounded. Verify that part baskets or fixturing are properly grounded

Part is being attacked by aggressive cleaner chemistry

Switch to a cleaner that is compatible with the base metal of the parts, let us help you select the right Daraclean cleaner

Cleaner tank begins to rust at comers

Possible Causes

Solutions


Galvanic action is corroding metal of cleaner tank

Verify that all equipment and cleaning tanks are properly grounded

Let us help you determine the root cause and solution to advanced cleaning problems

Cleaner system begins to leak

Possible Causes

Solutions

Galvanic action is corroding metal of cleaner tank

Verify that all equipment and cleaning tanks are properly grounded

Rubber gaskets and seals being attacked by oils removed from parts

Verify all seals used in cleaning equipment are compatible with the oils and solvents being removed from parts at the temperatures being used

Let us help you determine the root cause and solution to advanced cleaning problems

We are ready to provide additional assistance with troubleshooting of cleaning processes, help with selecting the best cleaning solution for a part or soil, or to answer general questions about industrial parts cleaning.

Source: https://www.magnaflux.com/Magnaflux/Blog/Troubleshoot-NDT-Cleaners

Blog By: David Geis, Product Manager



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