Brenk Brothers is in Fridley, Minnesota, and is a 3rd-generation precision machining company. 

The sprawling 100,000+ sq/ft facility has 145 employees who provide precision machining, turning, grinding, and other services to aerospace, defense, medical, and high-tech data storage customers.

The team utilizes over 100 CNC machines, including 5-axis, multi-pallet, and milling systems, specializing in close tolerance machining (less than 0.0005”). The experienced staff also offers cost reduction suggestions that maintain or improve function and manufacturability.

As a contract machining facility, Brenk manufactures various aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel parts in 2000, 6000, and 7000 series.

Problem: Inconsistent Results, Long Cycle Times

Brenk Old DryingDepending on the part and its stage, the cleaning process removes machine coolant, NDT fluids, residual plating fluids, and other manufacturing debris. After the cleaning process, parts may be returned to the assembly department or shipped for more machining operations — multiple times in some cases.

Brenk used a manual aqueous ultrasonic wash and 2-sink water rinse cleaning process, followed by manual drying with shop air to blow the water off and out of intricate parts. This process was ripe with many issues, such as inconsistent results, long cycle times requiring the staff's full attention, and parts needing to be completely dry before the next manufacturing step.

As the business grew, these pitfalls became a real bottleneck in the manufacturing process. To meet the demand, Brenk needed a reliable, fast parts-cleaning solution with integrated vacuum drying.

One additional item critical to Brenk is the cleanliness of parts entering the CMM room, both in process and at final inspection. Parts must be thoroughly clean and dry to accurately measure, which is important to achieving the high levels of quality and tight tolerances their customers require.

Solution: Rotary Basket Washers

When a new parts cleaning process was under consideration, Brenk reviewed the capabilities of the MAFAC PALMA and several other rotary basket washers that Jayco Cleaning Technologies carry.

Brenk visited manufacturers and tested cleaned parts in each system. They were looking for a system that could provide a repeatable and controlled cleaning process and completely dry parts. They also wanted the ability to automate the process in the future.

Upon evaluating the various systems, Brenk Brothers selected the MAFAC PALMA for their cleaning process.

Results: Reduced Cleaning Time by More Than 50%

Brenk MAFACThe now-implemented PALMA system has reduced the cleaning time by more than 50% and improved part cleanliness and drying.

“Parts drying is so critical that if all of the cleaning parts of the washer broke, we would still use the machine for drying,” says Dan Witt, Project Manager, referring to an integrated vacuum drying system used in the PALMA. Vacuum Assist can completely remove all water from the most intricate parts machined by Brenk.

Today, a technician loads parts into a basket, slides the basket into the washer, and presses the start button. While the parts are cleaned, the technician has time to perform other tasks.

Once the cleaning cycle is completed, the basket of clean, dry parts is removed from the system and moved on to the next step in the process.

The implementation of the MAFAC PALMA into Brenk Brothers' cleaning process has significantly improved the overall cleanliness of the parts and the efficiency of the parts cleaning process. The Vacuum Assist drying system has greatly reduced parts handling and improved the time required to move parts to the next process.