“Onsite Gravimetric Testing at Waterford’s Keltech”
On the 14th of June 2017 Keltech officially commissioned its own onsite gravimetric testing laboratory. The lab is specifically designed for the internal cleanliness testing of fuel and hydraulic reservoir tanks, a first of its kind in the UK and Ireland. This is another step in Keltech’s commitment to “reservoir tank excellence”.
Keltech’s global OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) customer base will benefit from the service as reservoir tanks will be monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure that optimum levels of internal cleanliness are achieved throughout Keltech’s robust manufacturing process.
Based on the ISO4405 / ISO16232 standards, the gravimetric testing is achieved by partially filling the reservoir tank with liquid, sealing it and then extracting any contamination into the liquid by agitation or sloshing. The test liquid is then drained and vacuumed through a membrane filter (normally 5 micron) which traps any solid particles. The weight of these particles is determined by the difference in weight of the dried filter before and after, usually expressed in mg.
The results of the test are usually reported in mg per litre of reservoir tank volume, allowing direct comparisons of different reservoir tanks. The filter media is also examined under a microscope to determine the composition and max particle size. These images can be saved for future reference.
This test may be repeated several times to determine the efficiency of the particle harvesting for any reservoir tank type. This information can be used to determine the optimum number of cleaning cycles required (often a single cycle is sufficient).
In addition to confirming that reservoir tank cleanliness meets/exceeds customer specification, gravimetric testing also verifies the development and continuous improvement activities of the reservoir tank cleaning process at Keltech – the goal being to provide the required cleanliness at optimum cost.
Keltech also have the capability to clean hydraulic reservoir tanks on a flushing rig – the hydraulic fluid is circulated through the reservoir tank, filtered and passed through an in-line contamination monitor. The flush can be pre-programmed to stop when the required cleanliness level is reached e.g. ISO 4406 18/16/13.
Speaking at the launch of the Laboratory, Keltech’s Managing Director Ray Breen praised the hard work of his R&D department whom had been working on the project for the past 18 months. “today marks another key milestone for Keltech, this new facility allows us operate to the widely used ISO standards and firmly cements our position as the go to people for reservoir tank cleanliness solutions”.
Reservoir tank cleanliness has become a huge area of concentration for OEM’s in recent times as fuel and hydraulic systems have become ever more sensitive to contaminants which have the potential to cause significant damage to operating components.
Sean Long of Enterprise Ireland commented on the new venture. “it is excellent to see a firm like Keltech hone in on a specific area and become true experts. Their use of scientific thinking with regards to the entire reservoir tank manufacturing process from metal grade selection right through to the tank cleaning and preservation agents used is industry leading, it is clear to see that this is why they are gaining such traction in this space with customers dotted all over Ireland, the UK, Germany and beyond”
Keltech are now manufacturing over 25,000 reservoir tanks a year with that figure likely to increase again says Business Development Manager Seamus Lawlor. “Reservoir Tanks is a real growth area for the business right now, we have seen 50% growth in the last 2 years with many more opportunities progressing in the pipeline. Our European Business Development Executive, Ryan Kalagin, is working on several major projects in Europe right now. We are on target to be manufacturing 50,000 reservoir tanks per annum by the year 2020”.
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Keltech "2017 Year in review"
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