Health and safety play a pivotal role at BUCHEN – which is why the company places such importance on developing its own technology to further improve safety standards. Thanks to its latest innovation, a robot with an automated high pressure jet washer, the company has once again improved the working conditions for their industrial cleaning specialists.
No matter whether it be oil refineries, chemical businesses or heavy industry: if their machines need cleaning, then high pressure water jet systems with handheld lances are often deployed to perform the work. This carries a number of risks for the industrial cleaning experts – firstly because the water jet is so powerful and secondly because the spray generated obscures their vision. What’s more, there is the added uncertainty of the potential risks of the product residue and hazardous substances dislodged by the process.
No matter what the field, BUCHEN relies on equipment that provides an ergonomic working environment and guarantees the highest levels of work safety
These were, therefore, all good reasons for BUCHEN UmweltService to look at and improve the technology being used. The company’s own technology department spent a good three years developing a robot that enabled high pressure jet cleaning work to be automated. The result: its automated industrial cleaner (AIC).
Cleaning by hand with a handheld high pressure jet. The operatives must cope with a recoil of around 15 kilogrammes the whole time they are using the equipment. This problem is eliminated with the robot
At the heart of this AIC system is an industrial robot, one of the first in the world to be adapted to carry out mobile industrial cleaning work using high pressure technology. The robot is controlled with a joystick – by an operator sitting in the control centre (container) well away from the danger zone. The patent-pending AIC and its controls are operated intuitively by the person in charge. An additional concept monitoring the area of work and preventing the machine from being damaged makes it even safer to handle.
What was really important for BUCHEN was to develop a process that was easy to use: the system is operated intuitively and has a joystick that controls the robot’s axles so that the jets can be placed exactly where they are needed
The industrial cleaning specialists use a panel to control the AIC’s high pressure jet washer and can alter it to meet the local conditions by selecting the most suitable pre-defined program. Alternatively, they can program the exact movements the robot should take or take full control of the jet nozzles themselves by using the joystick.
In order to extend the areas it can be used in, a number of different cleaning tools can be attached to the arm of the robot. These include surface cleaners, spray bars and pipe washer heads as well as a nozzle similar to a manual high pressure lance. The distance it should be from the actual part being cleaned can be entered into the system beforehand and depends on how many deposits need to be removed. All these different options make it an extremely flexible system that can be adapted to meet the customers’ exact requirements.
“The high performance achieved by the AIC is an important add-on – and further underlines our belief that high work safety standards always benefit the quality and cost-effectiveness of our work.”
Kevin Seik, BUCHEN UmweltService’s head office technology department
There are a whole host of advantages to deploying this robot. First and foremost, it further improves safety levels. All the potential risks operatives may face in the danger zone simply no longer apply as they do not need to enter the area. At the same time, the ongoing physical strain of manual cleaning work is reduced. This is especially true when it comes to the powerful recoil caused by the high pressure jet. Industrial cleaning specialists working with handheld high pressure lances have to cope with a recoil of 15 kilogrammes and this increases to 25 kilogrammes if they are using jets that have a shoulder support. In contrast, the AIC system is effectively a back-friendly “desk job” in an air-conditioned container where they can carry out their work safely either sitting or standing.
Certification in accordance with ISO:9001, SCCP and OHSAS 18001 – health and safety are extremely important at BUCHEN
The AIC uses a ratio of pressure and water volume that produces particularly effective cleaning results. When used to clean surfaces, for example, it achieves a water throughput of up to 190 litres a minute at a pressure of 1,000 bar. Moreover, the same high quality cleaning results are reached as the distance between the jet and the part being cleaned remains the same throughout. The mobility of the robot creates further advantages – especially for cleaning work which operatives would have to do overhead or from an elevated position. Kevin Seik from BUCHEN UmweltService’s head office technology department commented: “The high performance achieved by the AIC is an important add-on – and further underlines our belief that high work safety standards always benefit the quality and cost-effectiveness of our work.”