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It is becoming more popular to use specialized chemicals to clean E-coat paint tanks. Normally a combination of acid, solvents, and other specialized materials, the cleaners are sold in a semi-concentrated form. The cleaners are used as follows: after draining the paint from the tank, D.I. water is pumped into it. The cleaner is then added to the D.I. water and the solution is agitated for a period up to three days. The D.I. water/chemical solution is then dumped and the paint is returned to the tank.
UFS Corporation's bench testing has demonstrated that while these cleaners do not usually affect the tank liner or PVC components, they can have a detrimental effect on the ion-exchange membrane. As a result, we suggest the following procedures if you are considering using these chemicals to clean your E-coat tank:
As your E-coat tank is drained of paint, use a D.I. Water hose to gently rinse paint solids off the outside of all the TECTRON™ Anode Cells. Prepare a mild mixture of cleaner and D.I. Water. Using a hose, spray the solution on the anode cells with low to moderate pressure while standing back (8 feet.) This will gently clean some of the larger solids that may be near the very top of the cell. Rinse the cells with D.I. water to completely remove any leftover cleaner.
With the Anode Cells still in the tank, cover each Membrane Shell with a poly sleeve. UFS recommends using a poly sleeve that is at least 4 mm thick. Cut a length of poly sleeve that is approximately 2 feet longer than the exposed portion of the membrane plus the Cap and Collar. Double seal one end with two strikes from a heat sealer unit. Starting at the bottom, pull the poly sleeve up over the Cell beyond the collar, ending at least 6 inches above the anticipated level of the Cleaner/D. I. Water solution. Use a long plastic tie to secure the poly sleeve around the Neck of the Cell. After completing each cell, be sure to inspect the bottom of the sleeve to make sure that the seals are still intact and that there are no holes.
Follow the chemical manufacturer’s instructions to prepare the cleaner, fill the tank, and agitate the solution. Leave the solution in the tank for the recommended period of time.
After draining the cleaning solution and prior to refilling the tank with paint, loosen the poly sleeve by carefully cutting the plastic tie with a pair of side cutters. Remove the poly sleeve by gently pulling it off the cell from the bottom. Do not use scissors or a knife to remove the poly sleeve as these tools may cut the membrane.