Hitting Cleanliness Targets


With demand increasing, BAE Systems Land (BAES Land) contacted MecWash Systems to create a bespoke solution to clean a wide range of challenging components to a high standard.

BAES Land are leaders in the defence sector where they design, manufacture, upgrade and support combat vehicles and provide ammunition, precision munitions, artillery systems and missile launchers to a global customer base. The BAES Land business unit is a primary supplier of ammunition of all calibres to the UK MoD for use by the UK Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and the site at Radway Green in Cheshire manufactures Small Arms Ammunition. A new project to make a new brass component at Radway resulted in the need to wash parts on numerous occasions during the manufacturing process.

By using both the Duo and the MWX, the team at BAES Land ensure a stringent parts washing process. The MecWash Duo is a highly compact, efficient, interstage cleaning system and features both wash and rinse tanks, allowing it to deliver high quality cleaning. First of all, the components are put through a rotational immersion wash cycle, then a powerful spray wash, followed by the spray rinse stage. The single chamber design houses 100 jetting nozzles that operate in conjunction with drum oscillation or rotation. Finally, a high volume, hot air drying cycle completes the process.

The result is clean and dry ammunition brass tube components, within the required TAKT time and cleanliness specification. The system makes light work of removing coolants, cutting fluids, drawing lubricants and fine brass swarf.

The Duo wash system is required to remove contaminants at the various manufacturing stages of the brass tube cutting and forming. The MecWash cleaning chemical AC32 is perfect for the contaminant removal on brass, this is also suitable for multi-metal applications. A demineralised water rinse leaves the tubes with a stain free, shiny finish.

Jigged stainless steel weld mesh wash baskets were designed by MecWash to satisfy the specific handling requirements from BAES Land. These are interchangeable between the Duo 400 and the MWX400, saving both manufacturing time and costs. Once the Duo has degreased the components, the basket is transferred to the MWX400 for the final clean stage, known as acid pickle, to remove dicolouration and impurities such as scale and other contaminants.

The MWX400 is a high specification machine and features wash and rinse tanks, and can deliver an ultrasonic wash, a high volume flood wash and a spray wash. This is followed by an ultrasonic rinse, a high volume flood rinse and a spray rinse.  The cycle is completed with high volume hot air drying and vacuum drying. The single chamber design houses six sided spray jetting nozzles to ensure complete spray coverage of components.


The MWX400 wash system is required to acid pickle the brass tubes leaving them 100% stain free with a cosmetic and shiny surface. The MecWash cleaning chemical S5, a citric acid based cleaner, is perfect for the process and is friendlier to both the environment and the workforce than the sulphuric acid that was formerly used for this application. These brass tube components are finally rinsed with demineralised water.

John Pattison, managing director at MecWash, comments: “BAES Land has very specific cleaning requirements for the brass components, so we worked closely with their team to develop the right process, chemistry and washing system that could deliver the desired results. Using the MecWash Duo and the MWX400 ensures a rigiourous standard of cleaning for a high volume of components.

“We designed the stainless steel baskets specifically for BAES Land, which helped to drive the efficiency of their processes. The cleaning chemical solutions, AC32 and S5, were both designed inhouse by our laboratory team, and are effective at degreasing, washing and decontaminating their brass components. We were delighted to provide BAES Land with a holistic parts washing solution with our unique chemicals and systems,” said John.

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