Walter Surface Technologies introduced a series of improvements to its Surfox electro-cleaning system for welds, emphasizing it as a greener alternative for weld cleaning and chemical passivation, with improved cleaning performance. Walter also is offering three new system models and a larger range of accessories for metalworking operations, as well as an improved stainless steel passivation tester.

“More and more clients require high quality, clean and visibly pleasing welds,” stated Walter Surface Technologies president and chief operating officer. “The older methods of cleaning welds are costly, unsafe and complicated.”

For example, welding stainless steel often leaves a heat tint on the surface that metal fabricators must remove in order to satisfy the demand for a clean, fully passivated surface. Grinding is time-consuming and labor-intensive, and it’s not always effective. Cleaning with pickling pastes exposes workers and the plant environment to toxic compounds, and it can be difficult to use.

For fabricating operations in food and beverage or pharmaceutical packaging, architectural products manufacturing, and transportation industries, Walter’s Surfox system replaces mechanical abrasion and pickling paste with an electrolyte solution. Surfox electrolyte solutions are NSF-certified for use in food industries, and the Surfox system is ASTM-A967 / ASTM-A380 certified for chemical passivation on stainless steel.

It encourages a safer and healthier industrial environment for the worker, according to the developer, and a more efficient work process that lowers costs and produces a qualitative, consistent finish on stainless steel.

In a typical application, a worker fills the weld-cleaning machine with a highly conductive electrolyte cleaning solution. When switched on, the unit pumps the solution through an application pad that cleans and passivates the part simultaneously at a rate of three to six feet per minute. After the electro-cleaning process, the worker applies a neutralizing fluid to rebalance the pH of the solution. The result, according to the developer, is “the best finish in the industry; even a polished finish is possible.”

Three new models
The new versions of the Surfox package now available include the 204 (recommended for its versatility in multiple applications; the 104, especially for production use; and the “mini,” which is lightweight and portable enough for on-site welding, or for touch-up jobs and repair work.

The improvements now available to the Surfox system, include improved internal circuitry. New inverter boards provide non-stop cleaning, which improves overall productivity. The new circuitry provides a steady current, so the cleaning unit has no downtime, and enables use of highly conductive materials for new accessories.

Also, there are now more machine settings for electrochemical cleaning. With the flexibility of three settings (on the Surfox 204 machine) the worker can choose the Low, Medium, or High setting, according to the required cleaning level.

Another new feature is a carbon-fiber brush (sold separately) for precision cleaning. The high conductivity of carbon fiber results in greater electrochemical cleaning power, making this new accessory very effective for detailed, narrow areas or tight corners.

A large graphite insert and pad is available, too. This accessory is well suited for larger areas, and for small surface renewing. Highly conductive, the large graphite insert and pad result in greater electrochemical cleaning power.

The final improvement is an updated passivation tester. This tool makes it possible for workers to evaluate the quality of the weld cleaning and passivation. An illuminated panel displays a numeric value to indicate passivation on the surface. The tester also has data-logging capability and protects data from tampering.

Metal fabricators who use the Surfox system will save time and money, according to Walter Surface Technologies, improve working conditions, and reduce their environmental impact. It claimed that 70% of its new users end up foregoing traditional methods in favor of Surfox.