Why Choose a Tunnel Washer to Clean Industrial Parts?

Why Choose a Tunnel Washer to Clean Industrial Parts?

Tunnel Washer at Better Engineering Facility

Table of Contents

The tunnel washer, also known as a conveyor parts washer, is a spray washer used in various industries. Tunnel washers are designed to clean a high volume of parts with a relatively simple part geometry. Remember, spray washers clean by “line of sight” and often struggle to clean parts with crevasses and hidden passageways. This article will discuss how a tunnel washer works, the types of tunnel washers, estimated water consumption, and how much a tunnel washer costs.

What is a Tunnel Washer?

A tunnel washer is a type of industrial cleaning machine that is designed to handle high volumes and large quantities of items. It is typically used in commercial laundries, hospitals, hotels, and other businesses that require frequent washing of linens, uniforms, and other fabrics.

Tunnel washers work by transporting items through a series of chambers where they are washed, rinsed, and dried. The machine can be configured to include multiple stages of washing, rinsing, and drying, depending on the specific requirements of the customer.

Compared to traditional washing machines, tunnel washers offer several benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced labor costs, and better control over the washing process. They also help to improve the quality and consistency of the washing results.

Overall, a tunnel washer is an ideal solution for businesses that need to clean large quantities of items on a regular basis. It offers a cost-effective and efficient way to meet the demands of high-volume laundry operations.

How does a tunnel washer work?

Functionally, components are loaded onto a conveyor belt, which then progresses through a fully enclosed tunnel. Typically, there are a series of stages within the tunnel that can include the following: recirculating wash, recirculating rinse, fresh rinse, blow off, heated dry, vacuum dry, or any combination thereof. 

Conveyor parts washers are prone to “cross-contamination” or “carryover”; therefore, a tunnel washer should have adequate buffer zones. The parts cleaning systems are commonly used in the food, pharma, organic waste, medical waste, logisticsautomotive, and metalworking industries.

What are the benefits of choosing a Better Engineering parts Washer?

A tunnel washer is a highly efficient and automated cleaning system that offers many benefits to manufacturers,  processing facilities, and other businesses that need to clean large volumes of products or materials. Some of the key benefits of using a tunnel washer include:

  • Increased productivity: Tunnel washers can clean large quantities of products or materials quickly, making them ideal for high-volume operations.
  • Improved cleaning quality: Tunnel washers use advanced cleaning technologies and techniques, such as multi-stage washing, rinsing, and drying, to ensure thorough and consistent cleaning results.
  • Reduced labor costs: Since tunnel washers are highly automated, they require less manual labor, which can lead to significant cost savings for businesses.
  • Enhanced safety: Tunnel washers are designed to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries, such as slips and falls or chemical exposure, by providing a controlled and safe cleaning environment.

Using a tunnel washer can help businesses streamline their cleaning operations, increase productivity, improve cleaning quality, reduce labor costs, and enhance safety. However, it is essential to consider various factors, such as capacity requirements and the type of products being cleaned, before choosing a tunnel washer for your operations.

What are the Types of Better Engineering tunnel washers?

Conveyor parts washers are typically designed with standard belt widths. Better Engineering offers a variety of standard belt widths: 6’’, 14’’, 24’’, 36’’, and 48’’. However, we can custom design systems as wide as 16’. Additionally, we can increase the working height of the parts washing system to conform to your largest parts. 

Our conveyor parts washers are flexible systems. These parts washers can be loaded or unloaded manually, with a robot or belt-to-belt transition. The conveyor belt is also customizable, including custom fixturing, a hold-down belt (great for stampings), parallel chains, and many other options. 

Our conveyor parts washers can also be modified with adjustable guide rails so an operator can load various containers into the same parts washer. Finally, these systems can be designed with a U-Shaped conveyor, called a continuous return-to-operator design, to allow an operator to load and unload from the same end of the conveyor. 

Finally, our conveyor parts washers are designed with ease of maintenance at the top of our mind. The bottom manifolds can be easily removed, the carriage trays under the belt are severely sloped to prevent water pooling, manifolds can be designed with quick disconnects, and nozzles can be the clip-on variety. We also offer a variety of particulate and oil filtration systems.

How much water does a tunnel washer use?

Water consumption is mainly dependent on your run temperature. Conveyor systems in traditional manufacturing settings will operate between 140-150 F. However, due to the large openings on both ends of the conveyor, holding higher temperatures can be challenging. One As a result, one expect to lose roughly 8% of their tank volume over 8 hours. 

Food, pharmaceutical, and medical waste applications require the sanitization of parts. Your tank temperatures need to meet or exceed 180 F in these environments. Under these circumstances, your evaporation rate will be roughly 12-15% of your tank volume over an 8 hr. period. 

What Factors Should you consider before choosing a tunnel washer?

While a tunnel washer may seem like the perfect solution for many cleaning operations, it is important to consider a few key factors before investing in one.

Firstly, the capacity requirements of your operation must be considered. Tunnel washers are designed to handle high volumes of items, so if you have a smaller operation, it may not be necessary to invest in a tunnel washer.

Secondly, the type of products being cleaned must also be taken into account. Tunnel washers are ideal for certain types of products such as trays, totes or washers, but  may not be suitable for others.

Thirdly, the space available in your facility is another important factor to consider. Tunnel washers are typically larger and require more space than other types of washers, so it is important to ensure that you have enough space to accommodate one.

Fourthly, the cost of purchasing and operating a tunnel washer must be taken into account. While tunnel washers can save time and labor costs in the long run, they may require a significant investment upfront.

Finally, it is important to consider the level of automation required for your operation. Tunnel washers can be fully automated, which may be ideal for some operations, while others may prefer more manual control over the cleaning process.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about whether a tunnel washer is right for your operations.

How much does a tunnel washer cost?

Better Engineering’s conveyor parts washers are only constructed out of stainless steel (304, 316, or 316L). These systems can also include a multitude of stages and options. The tunnel washer’s belt width, working height, stages, and selected options will all be significant cost drivers. One should expect to pay over $100,000 for a quality three-stage washer (recirculating washer, recirculating rinse, and dry); however, the selected stages are very application dependent.

Interested in learning more about our tunnel washers? Check our videos on YouTube.  Interested in receiving a quote on a machine? Contact us, and a representative will walk you through the process of determining what automated cleaning machine is right for your business.


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