Invented by Ronnie Dwaine PHELPS, Preston Cray SMITH, Joseph Wayne Deskin, Jon Loshinsky, Allan Stanfield, Texas Nameplate Company Inc

The market for system and method for removing by-products from a metallic substrate is witnessing significant growth due to the increasing demand for high-quality metal products in various industries. This technology plays a crucial role in ensuring the durability, strength, and overall performance of metallic substrates by effectively removing unwanted by-products. Metallic substrates are widely used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, construction, and electronics, among others. During the manufacturing process, these substrates often accumulate by-products such as oxides, impurities, and contaminants, which can negatively impact their performance and longevity. Therefore, it becomes essential to remove these by-products to enhance the quality and reliability of the metallic substrates. The system and method for removing by-products from a metallic substrate offer an efficient and cost-effective solution to address this issue. This technology utilizes various techniques such as chemical treatments, mechanical processes, and thermal treatments to eliminate the unwanted by-products. These methods are designed to be highly effective while minimizing any potential damage to the metallic substrate. One of the key factors driving the market growth for this technology is the increasing demand for high-performance metal products. Industries such as automotive and aerospace require metallic substrates with exceptional strength, corrosion resistance, and thermal stability. By removing the by-products, the system and method ensure that the metallic substrates meet these stringent requirements, making them suitable for critical applications. Moreover, the growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental regulations is also contributing to the market growth. The system and method for removing by-products from a metallic substrate often employ eco-friendly processes and chemicals, minimizing the environmental impact. This factor has led to increased adoption of this technology by companies striving to reduce their carbon footprint and comply with regulations. Furthermore, the advancements in technology have led to the development of more efficient and automated systems for removing by-products from metallic substrates. These systems offer enhanced precision, control, and speed, resulting in improved productivity and cost-effectiveness. The integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms has also enabled predictive maintenance and optimized process parameters, further boosting the market growth. However, there are certain challenges that need to be addressed for the widespread adoption of this technology. One of the major challenges is the initial investment required for implementing the system and method. The cost of equipment, chemicals, and skilled labor can be significant, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Therefore, manufacturers need to focus on developing cost-effective solutions to make this technology more accessible. Additionally, the complexity of the metallic substrate and the by-products can pose challenges in achieving optimal results. Different substrates and by-products may require specific treatment parameters, which can be time-consuming and require extensive research and development. Therefore, continuous innovation and collaboration between manufacturers, researchers, and end-users are crucial to overcome these challenges and drive the market forward. In conclusion, the market for system and method for removing by-products from a metallic substrate is witnessing substantial growth due to the increasing demand for high-quality metal products and the need for sustainable manufacturing processes. This technology offers efficient and cost-effective solutions to remove unwanted by-products, ensuring the durability and performance of metallic substrates. However, challenges such as initial investment and process complexity need to be addressed to accelerate the adoption of this technology across industries.

The Texas Nameplate Company Inc invention works as follows

The disclosure is a system and method for removing residues and deposits from a substrate marked with a chemical etching. The system comprises one or several upper sprayers which deposit a cleaning agent on the top surface of a product when it passes underneath the sprayers. The system also includes a brush to clean the top surface after the cleaning solution is applied. Optionally, the system can include one or more lower brushes and sprayers to clean the bottom surface of the products as they are conveyed throughout the system. The system also includes an air knife that helps to dry the product before it exits the system. The system also includes a controller which can be used to adjust different system parameters.

Background for System and method for removing by-products from a metallic substrate

It is sometimes desirable to mark products with information. It may be necessary to imprint a model number or product name on a product. Chemically etching a product’s surface with the information is one way to attach information. U.S. Pat. describes an example of this process. No. 8,540,285. After a chemical etching, the surface of the product can have residues or deposits. Manual cleaning can cause damage to the product and create hazardous waste. It can also pose health risks for workers.

A system includes an automated conveyor system which moves a product between various modules of the system to facilitate cleaning. The conveyor system is typically driven by a motor that drives a set lower rollers. The cleaning process starts when the product enters the system. A cleaning solution is applied to the top surface of it. One or more sprayers are used to apply the cleaning solution to the product’s top surface as it is transported through the system. The product is then passed beneath a brush positioned above a conveyor system after the cleaning solution was applied. The brush is placed so that it contacts the top of the product in order to remove any residues or deposits. A fluid collector module is also included in the system. It is located beneath the conveyor system. Fluid collector module includes a collection tray for cleaning solution that runs off the product. A filter media extends from the conveyor system to the collection tray and filters the cleaning solution to remove deposits, debris etc. The fluid collector module includes: a collection tray to collect cleaning solution that has run off the product; a filter media that extends between the conveyor system and the collection tray to filter the cleaning solution by removing deposits, debris, etc. The system may also include a drying unit in a typical implementation. The drying module may include an air knife, which includes one or multiple air knives that direct the air to the product in order to dry it. The drying module may also include one or two drying brushes.

In another embodiment, additional sprayers can be positioned underneath the conveyor system to apply cleaning solution to the bottom surface of the products as they move through the system. In other embodiments the system may include additional brushes that scrub the product while it moves through the system. “For example, additional brush may be placed above the conveyor, and additional brushes can also be located below the conveyor to scrub the bottom surface of the products.

The drawings will be used to describe the various embodiments of this invention. The invention can be embodied many ways and is not limited to those described here.

Referring to FIG. In perspective view, a substrate-cleaning system 100 is shown with the cover 105 installed. The substrate cleaning module 100 comprises the cover 105 as well as a loading module, a breaking, module, a scrubber, module, a rinsing, module, a drying, module, an unloading, module, and two solution storage, filtering, and module modules. The substrate cleaning system 100 can be enclosed in a cover 105, which minimizes the release of volatile organic compounds. The cover 105 can include multiple smaller panels, or fewer large panels. The cover 105 can be constructed from stainless steel in a typical embodiment. In a different embodiment, one panel or more may be made from a transparent material like glass.

A product 10 which is to be cleaned may come in different shapes and sizes. The product 10 can be a metal sheet in a typical embodiment. The product 10 can be made from aluminum, steel or similar materials. The thickness of the product 10 can vary depending on its use. It could be anything from thin sheets up to thicker plates.

Referring to FIGS. In FIGS. 3A, 4 and 5, a plurality automated rollers extend along the length of the substrate cleaning system 100. They are disposed in the rinsing and drying modules 106 and 108, respectively. To make the FIGURES more clear, not all automated rollers are given reference numbers. However, those skilled in the art can recognize their presence in the FIGURES. The plurality automated rollers can be driven in different ways. In a typical embodiment the plurality automated rollers 111 includes a lower roller 112. and an upper roller. On the end of each lower roller 112, there is a stacked gear pair. In this embodiment, the first lower roller 112 of the set is connected to the motor by one of these stacked gears. The second gear in the stacked gear pair connects the first lower roller to an adjacent second roller. The pattern for connecting lower rollers can be repeated indefinitely to connect as many as are needed. This allows the plurality automated rollers to be driven by a single motor. A motor 135 from FIG. 3A is an example of a drive motor for a number of rollers. 3A. Each additional lower roller 112 connected to the first lower roller is rotated when the motor drives the first lower roll 112. The product 10 that is resting on the first lower roller 112 will be moved along the lower wheels 112. The product 10 is then moved from one module into another for an automated cleaning procedure. The distance between the automated rollers can be adjusted as desired. However, it should be set so that at least two automated rollers support the product as the product moves through the substrate cleansing system 100.

In a typical embodiment, the plurality of automated rollers 111 include lower rollers 112 and upper rollers 113, which lower rollers 112 and upper rollers 113 permit the product 10 to pass between the lower rollers 112 and the upper rollers 113. A space between the upper rollers 113 and lower rollers 112 is adjustable to permit products 10 with different thickness to pass between the lower rollers 112 and the upper rollers 113. In one embodiment, the upper rollers 113 can move vertically relative to the lower rollers 112 to permit different thicknesses of products to pass between the lower rollers 112 and the upper rollers 113. In such an embodiment, for example, each end of the upper rollers 113 may be positioned in vertical slots that permit each upper roller 113 to independently move vertically. The upper roller 113 may further include a spring to bias the upper roller 113 in a downward direction. In such an embodiment, as the product 10 passes between the lower rollers 112 and the upper rollers 113, the product 10 pushes the upper rollers 113 up as much as is needed to allow enough space for the product 10 to pass through the lower rollers 112 and the upper rollers 113. In this embodiment, the spring drives the upper roller 113 down towards the product 10 to help secure the product 10 between the upper roller 113 and the lower roller 112.

The lower rollers and upper rollers both include hub portions 114. Each hub portion 114 has a raised section that is made of a material such as urethane that gives the rollers 112 and 113 an additional grip. The urethane provides additional grip, which reduces the likelihood that the product 10 resting on the urethane hub 114 will slip in relation to the rotating of the plurality automated rollers. In addition to offering more grip, urethane also resists various abrasive chemical agents, such as various types of cleaners. Other materials can be used in place of neoprene, as long as they do not degrade quickly in the presence or solvents.

In another embodiment, the first drive motor can be used to power a set of automated rolling rollers and the second drive motor to power a set of rollers. In a further embodiment, multiple motors can be used to drive a number of automated roller sets. Motors 135 and 167 are examples of motors which may be used to power the plurality automated roller sets. The plurality of automated rollers can be used in various embodiments throughout the substrate-cleaning system 100.

Referring to Figure 2, the loading module 101 of the substrate cleaning system 100 is shown in perspective view. In FIG. 2, the loading module of the substrate cleaning systems 100 is shown from a perspective view. As shown in FIG. In order to better understand the workings of substrate cleaning system 100, a portion of the side of the machine has been removed. The loading module 101 is where the product 10 to be cleaned enters. The loading module 101 consists of a conveyor 116 and a motorized conveyor 153. The product 10 with the chemically etched graphics is placed on a conveyor of the loading module 116. The entrance module includes a product detection 140 and a lighting curtain 141. The product detector 140 detects whether the product 10 is present once it has been placed on the conveyor 116. The product detector can be made up of different sensor types such as optical, weight-based, etc. The conveyor motor 153 drives the conveyor 116 to move the product 10 toward the light curtain of the entrance module.

The light curtain 141, a safety device, uses one or multiple light beams to detect the presence of an object such as a human hand. The light curtain 141 will send a signal to the controller 301 if an object is detected in the path of one or more beams. This will shut down the substrate-cleaning system 100. The one or two light beams should, in a typical embodiment be located above the conveyor so that the product 10 can pass under the light beams without interfering with the light beams. The product 10 then passes through an entry slit (143) after passing through the light curtain. The entrance slit is typically made from urethane, and it includes two sealing members (123), which overlap to create a sealing slit. 8). “Upon entering the breaking module 102, the product 10 exits the loading module 101 by passing through the entry slit 143.

Referring to FIG. In FIG. 3A, we see the breaking module 102 in a perspective view. As shown in FIG. In order to better understand the workings of substrate cleaning system 100, the side of the machine has been removed. The breaking module 102 consists of a number of nozzles, a number automated rollers, one or more sprayers, and a motor. The product 10 is pushed through the breaking modules 102 by the plurality nozzles. It passes above or below the under sprayers. The nozzles are connected via tubes to the solution storage module 110(1) by a network. The solution storage module 110(1) consists of a tank, a pump, and a heater. The tank 117 is where the first cleaning solution 120 will be stored. The pump 121 draws the first cleansing solution 120 out of the tank 117. It then directs it through the heat exchanger to be heated or cooled according to your preference before being fed into the plurality nozzles 118.

In one embodiment, the plumbing 144 is located above the automated rollers. The rigid piping in the plumbing 144 provides a structure for suspending the plurality nozzles over the plurality automated rollers of the breaking module. The plurality nozzles 118 spray the first cleaning liquid 120 on the products 10 as they pass through the breaking modules 102. The number of nozzles included in the 102 breaking module can be changed to suit your needs. “Adding additional nozzles to the plumbing 144, or adding more rows of plumbing 144 can be used to change the number of nozzles.

Referring to FIG. The plurality of nozzles dispensing the first cleaning solution on the top surface of the 10 product in a laminar, smooth flow. A nozzle from the plurality 118 includes a central bore that intersects with a semicircular slitted portion 146. The semicircular portion 146 intersects with the central bore in such a way that the edge of the central hole 145 meets the curved edge 147. This type of nozzle maintains the surface pressure of the cleaning solution to allow it to pool on the top of the product 10. The pooling allows the cleaning solution to cover the entire top of the product to break up and dissolve chemicals, deposits, debris etc. The top surface of the product 10 is cleaned. The cleaning solution is dispensed in a laminar, smooth manner. This has the added benefit of reducing the atomization. In another embodiment, the valve may have a different shape. The operation of the solution filtering and storage module 110(1) will be described in more detail below.

Referring to FIGS. In Figures 3A and 3C an under sprayer is shown in the gaps between adjacent automated rolling 111. The under sprayer is placed just below the level of the lower rollers in the modules 102,104 and106 of the substrate-cleaning system 100. The under sprayer includes a hollow board 148, and a plurality spray holes 136. The hollow plank is in fluid contact with the same system as the plurality nozzles 118, and the spray holes 136 allow the first cleaning solution to be delivered to the backside of the product 10. During the etching procedure, the back side of the product 10 may be coated with resins and other deposits to protect it. It is sometimes desirable to remove resins, or other protective materials from the backside after the etching has finished. The substrate cleaning system can more effectively coat the back surface of a product 10 as it passes through the substrate system 100 by placing the under sprayer under the plurality automated rollers of the breaking modules 102. In addition, the under sprayer acts as a guide to prevent the product from falling beneath the plurality automated rollers of the breaking modules 102. The FIG. 3A shows only one under-sprayer 115. “A person with ordinary skill will recognize that additional sprayers 115 can be added between adjacent automated rollers 112 throughout the substrate cleaning systems 100 as desired.

In a typical embodiment the first cleaning solution is a liquid solvent that dissolves or breaks down chemicals, deposits, dirt, etc. On the surface of the product 10, In one embodiment, first cleaning solution is heated. The heating of the first cleaning liquid 120 helps to break up and remove chemicals, deposits, dirt, etc. The surface of the product 10 can be cleaned by heating up the first cleaning solution 120. In other embodiments, first cleaning solution is not heated. In another embodiment, the cleaning solution 120 can be cooled. In one embodiment, the temperature of the cleaning solution is adjusted to keep the cleaning solution at a temperature that is close to the boiling point but below it. In one embodiment, the temperature of the cleaning solution is maintained between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The first cleaning solution is high-flash solution 100 in various embodiments.

While moving through breaking module 102 the product is transported at a rate that gives the first cleaning solution 120 sufficient time to break down or remove chemicals or deposits on the product before it exits breaking module 102. In one embodiment, the speed at which the product 10 moves through the substrate-cleaning system 100 ranges between 30 inches per minute and 60 inches per minutes. In another embodiment, a speed at which the product 10 moves through the substrate-cleaning system 100 can be higher than 60 inches per minutes. In another embodiment, in which the product 10 is moving through the substrate cleaning 100 at a speed less than 30 inches per second, it may not be possible to achieve this. In another embodiment, product 10 can periodically stop in the substrate cleaning 100. It may be necessary, when the product 10 stops in the substrate cleaning system 100, to stop one or several brushes so that the product 10, which may have stopped underneath a brush, is not damaged. The product 10 exits the breaking module and enters the scrubber module 104.

Referring to FIG. In FIG. 4, the scrubbing unit 104 is shown from a perspective view. As shown in FIG. In order to better understand the inner workings, a portion of the side of the substrate cleaner 100 has been removed. The scrubbing unit 104 comprises a plurality automated rollers, a first spiral brush, a second spiral brush, a lower spiral brush, a motor, and a motor. The first upper brush 149, and the two upper brushes 154 are placed across the width of the module 104. They are also positioned at an appropriate height over the automated rollers of the module 104 in order to allow contact between the first and second upper brushes 149 and 154 as the product passes underneath the first and second upper brush 154. The lower spiral brush 159 is positioned below the plurality automated rollers of the scrubbing modules 104. It is also disposed at a suitable depth to allow contact with the products 10 as they pass above the lower spiral brush 159. In one embodiment, the height of the upper spiral brushes 149 and 154 can be adjusted. The motor 156 drives the first upper spiral bristle 149. The motor 156 drives a drive shaft 170 across the scrubbing modules 104. A belt 171 connects the drive shaft 170 to the upper spiral brush 149. A drive shaft 172, a belt 173, and the second upper spiral 154 are connected to motor 157. The drive shaft 172 is used to connect the lower brush 159 with the motor 157. An additional belt is also required. A person of ordinary skill would know that, although not explicitly shown in the picture, the belt 173 can be used to drive the lower brush. In one embodiment, the upper spiral brushes 149 and 154 spin at 300 revolutions per minutes. In another embodiment, first upper spiral brushes 149, second upper spiral brushes 154, and lower brush 159 may be operated at different speeds, depending on the design considerations, such as the material to be cleaned, type of cleaning fluid, etc.

In a typical embodiment the bristles of the upper spiral first brush 149 are arranged helically around a central part of the upper spiral first brush 149. As shown in FIG. As shown in FIG. 9). The fender is used in a standard embodiment to serve two functions. First, it prevents the first cleaning solutions 120 from being spread unnecessarily throughout the substrate cleaning system. Second, you can supply additional first cleaning solutions 120 to the first upper spiral brushes 149. Spraying additional first cleaning solutions 120 on the first spiral brush 149 helps to keep it clean. The fender 160 has a pair fluid manifolds (161) to supply additional cleaning solution (120) to the first upper spiral toothbrush 149. Each fluid manifold includes a plurality 162 of holes 162 in an interior portion of the fender. The fender is in fluid communications with the solution filtering and storage module 110(1). In a typical embodiment of the substrate cleaning system, each upper spiral brush includes a fender. In another embodiment, some upper brushes might not have a fender.

The second upper spiral bristles 154 include bristles 128, which are helically placed around a central part of the second spiral brush, but spiraling in the opposite direction to the bristles helically located on the first spiral brush. The first upper spiral 149 rotates in order to feed brushed chemical, deposits, debris etc. The first upper spiral brush 149 rotates in one direction and the second upper vertical brush 154 in the opposite direction. The product 10 is pushed away by the spiral brush. In another embodiment, scrubbing module 104 using principles of the invention can include more or less brushes depending on what is desired. Additional brushes can require additional motors or extending the length of the module.

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