It Happened! A Revolutionary Cleaning Workshop

The first Product Quality Cleaning Workshops (PQCW) was at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville Texas, May 16-17. Participants included manufacturers in the areas of automotive, optics, medical, and metal finishing as well as developers of cleaning chemistries, cleaning equipment, and techniques for surface analysis. The workshop confirmed our expectation that there are benefits to manufacturers of the unique combination of presentations, hands-on exercises, and demonstrations of cleaning and surface monitoring techniques.

Ok, we’re biased; but since it’s our newsletter, we get to write our own review. The written and verbal comments we’ve received both during and after the program were positive and productive. No over-ripe tomatoes were thrown at the presenters. Everyone seemed to appreciate the opportunity to look at aqueous and solvent cleaning approaches in a non-commercial atmosphere as well as the opportunity to evaluate the benefits and limitations of all cleaning approaches. In fact, nearly all of the participants stayed on after the end of the workshop to ask questions and discuss cleaning problems.

Participants did just that – they participated; they took an active role in the workshop.

For example, in one hands-on exercise, we mixed solvents to show the degree of “how like dissolves like” (and how oil and water don’t mix). The exercise illustrates how Hansen Solubility Parameters can be developed. Understanding solubility is important, because it helps you to put together cleaning methods rationally rather than relying on claims and assertions by suppliers.

The format of the workshop encouraged participants to explore promising cleaning options. We all have our favorite cleaning approaches. It sometimes seems we are divided into hydrophilic and hydrophobic people – those who will only use aqueous chemistries and those who will only use solvents. It’s easy to get into a rut. At this workshop, we saw people expanding their horizons. We noticed people who were clearly oriented to using solvents actually enjoying testing aqueous cleaning agents with high frequency ultrasonics. And, we found a few “water cleans everything” types having fun and appreciating the solvency exercises.

Along with Professor Darren Williams of SHSU, we want to thank all of the participants for their insightful observations, patience, sense of humor, and spirit of adventure. We are indebted to Scott Mackler (Cleanroom Consulting LLC) for providing a concise, practical introduction to cleanrooms. Ashlyn Everhart and Matthew Peavy, our student assistants, did a stellar job with the hands-on exercises and demonstrations. Their understanding, tact, and sophistication makes us optimistic about the future of manufacturing and technology.

We thank the sponsors for their activities at the workshop. Participants appreciated the opportunity for educational, informational interaction with the sponsors. They didn’t just sit behind a table; they were right there in the testing area!

PQCW was educational for all of us, including the instructors. Teaching in the lab is definitely different than teaching in the classroom. We knew it would add a much-needed dimension to the workshop format. It is a challenge to do demonstrations and to involve participants in hands-on exercises; and Barbara is firmly convinced that she will not pursue a career as a demonstrator of veggie choppers on late night television.

Stay tuned for future events! We will build the workshop and we will conduct another PQCW in 2020.

What’s next? Time to think about a presentation for Parts Cleaning Expo (PCx 2019) in Cleveland, Ohio, April 2-4, 2019. A call for abstracts will be coming out in July with a September 30 deadline.

Many thanks!

To the PQCW sponsors – your knowledge and the participation of your representatives were important assets to the workshop




Gardner Publications, Media Sponsor





To those who contributed or loaned cleaning agents, associated materials, or equipment



All Foils






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