Based in Berkshire, XTRAC is a supplier of custom-engineered transmissions for applications on land, sea and air, with successes in Formula 1 racing applications. As a result, its processes and practices are always under review.

Previously, when machined components were progressing through the various stages of manufacture, they were coated in a heavy, oil-based corrosion preventative, which had to be removed and reapplied after each operation. This was sticky, messy to handle, time consuming and presented health and safety concerns.

To overcome these problems, the company introduced VCI bag technology along with an aqueous-based detergent with a rust inhibitor additive which, once applied, leaves only a thin protective film that permits the work piece to be worked on at the next stage of manufacture without having to be removed. With the new system, application and drying-off take around five minutes, compared to 25 minutes before. With each component passing through an average of ten stages involving rust inhibitor application and removal, some 200 minutes can be saved during the manufacturing process.

For the solution, a drying system is used to remove all moisture from the washed components. This is a specially adapted blower-powered device from Air Control Industries. Called the ‘JetBlack’, it delivers a high volume of clean, filtered air at low pressure which provides rapid effective drying with no dangers to the operative.

An additional benefit is the avoidance of transferring corrosion inhibiting ‘tramp oil’ (residual oil) into the coolant tanks, reducing coolant and tool life, as components progress from stage to stage.