GENERAL: MART invented Power Washing in 1971. In 1984 MART began investing $200,000 a year in an R&D program to improve the performance and reliability of its Power Wash Systems so that, to date, the investment in new technology exceeds $4 million. Based on MART’s knowledge of the other washer makers, this investment by MART to improve the Power Wash process and develop new technology exceeds the total investment in new technology by all the other washer manufacturers combined. How do we know this? Because the washing machines built by other washer makers are basically the same as when they first started in business.
With each MART engineering effort, much of the R&D and development work became the basis for more advanced R&D so that the smallest gains were time consuming and costly. The overall results of these efforts have yielded significant advances in parts cleaning technology, which is evident by the performance of our newest Power Wash Systems. One of the most important advances in washing technology is the MART invention of the Power Blast Manifold that has set the standard for the removal of difficult soils from surfaces that are hidden from a direct blast of solution from the nozzles. The oscillating manifold is just one example of the results of the MART R&D program.
Since the R&D program began, MART has registered 11 patents embodying over 30 performance claims, tracked 832 Engineering Change Orders, and made more than 3,000 engineering design changes to its CAD drawings. The details fill eight large volumes of Engineering Details and Specifications. Following are a few of the highlights:
PUMPS: The Pump System is the heart of a wash system. In all, more than 60 design and engineering improvements have increased Pump reliability and performance. The R&D involved, not just pump design, but the application as well. The results include: Reduce the suction restrictions (maximizing the flow of hot viscous solution into the eye of the Pump Impeller), and providing smooth transitions to the discharge plumbing, elbows, couplings, unions and pipe, and the Manifolds and nozzles. The result is that MART Pump efficiencies range from 78% to 86%, depending on the Pump model and application, compared to 40% to 50% efficiency for other washing machines. What this means is that a 30 horsepower MART Simplex Pump will outperform a 40 horsepower pump for flow and pressure on other washers. This increases the available cleaning energy and shortens wash times.
BLAST MANIFOLDS : In 1984 MART invented and patented its oscillating, non-synchronous Power Blast Manifold (PBM) Systems so that blasted solution could remove deeply embedded soils from all the crevices and hidden recesses of a wash load. Engineering modifications to the PBM total more than 55 improvements for reliability and efficiency gains.
GAS/PROPANE HEAT: The original heat exchanger design had baffles, flame diffusers, deflectors and turbulators to increase heat transfer efficiency. For all its engineering, MART maximized the heat transfer efficiency at 62%. In 1994 a combustion engineer was hired to improve the heat exchanger designs and help develop higher efficiency burner systems. The initial R&D program lasted seven months. MART engineers gained considerable knowledge of this technology so that the R&D has been ongoing. This effort resulted in more than 65 design and function changes. Each change increased heat transfer efficiency, shortened heat up and heat recovery times, and reduced energy consumption. Heat transfer efficiency is now 78% to 82%, which represents significant savings in gas/propane usage and lower operating costs. The benefit is most easily noted by the 900 degree F. to1,100 degree F. stack temperatures of other gas-heated washers, compared to 550 to 650 degrees F. for the MART. The low efficiency gas burner systems in competing washers represents wasted heat energy and higher operating cost.
FRESH HOT WATER AUTO RINSE (ARC): Another patented feature is the ARC that rinses each wash load with fresh hot water and the rinse water becomes makeup so that no solution discharges outside the cabinet. The first ARC systems used a high pressure piston pump, but MART engineers found that the high pressure pump created excessive misting that did not rinse thoroughly. The current design delivers rinse water in large droplet size which maximizes stain and chemical removal. MART Engineering also developed a “Rinse Bank” to ensure that a full volume of rinse water is available after each wash cycle. Through R&D, engineering made 34 improvements to the original design.
WATER LEVEL CONTROLS: It seems like a simple task to develop the Solution Level Control System, but the requirements proved to be a challenge. One of the criteria was measuring the fluctuating solution levels when the Pump was operating. Another challenge was that the viscosity of the solution changed with soil loading, and floating oil and other waste that often caused the controls to provide false level readings. In addition to these issues, MART engineering required, not only high and low volume readings, but a “Rinse Bank” for the Auto Rinse System. Meeting all the challenges with a reliable Water Level Control System took many iterations and several years of R&D. In all, MART produced 12 styles of Controls Systems before settling on a patented System that is reliable and service free, yet meets all the requirements for performance and reliability.
ELECTRICAL CONTROLS: Each Electrical Panel is an engineered system, designed to comply with NEMA and JIC, and meet the ANSI/NFPA 79 Electrical Standards for Industrial Machinery. The engineering task was complex because MART offers 34 engineered Power Wash Systems, each one with 104 available options. In all, the product line can result in more than 5 million washing machine configurations, and each Power Wash System requires its own unique electrical system. What evolved was engineered electrical systems that allow for mix-and-match capability. Research for the most reliable and efficient component for each application is ongoing. All components are UL-Approved and, when appropriate, touch-safe and CE Compliant. MART also uses THHN wiring exclusively to handle the electrical loads because the high temperature insulation is compatible with heated cleaning equipment. Panels, components and wiring are sealed to NEMA 12 Specifications. All Panels and all controls are touch safe. MART has logged 206 electrical design and engineering changes to date.
OIL SKIMMER: Through 1998 MART purchased and installed commercially available oil skimmers. None of the skimmers on the market were sufficiently rugged for the application with the result that they failed and frequently required replacement parts and repairs. MART engineers developed a skimmer that overcame all the deficiencies of the commercially available units. MART Skimmers are available in two sizes, with unheated and heated troughs.
TURNTABLE DRIVE: The design of the Table Drive was another considerable challenge. It required reengineering and new designs as higher performing pumps were added and, especially, with the invention of the oscillating Power Blast Manifold (PBM). The larger pumps and oscillating PBMs put high forward and reverse torque loads on the Drive as it rotated the Turntable. The original table drive was a rubber drive wheel that made friction contact with the outer Table ring. The tire was replaced with a solid fork lift tire and the outer ring of the Table was textured to minimize slipping. The design was practical but, as Table load capacities and pump sizes increased, the friction drive method proved ineffective. Engineering then developed the positive gear Drive System with clutch overload protection that now drives all MART Turntables. This System has proven extremely reliable and requires little maintenance. MART logged 22 R&D engineering changes over a 10 year period.
DOOR SEALS: Many washer makers, including MART, use labyrinth metal seals to prevent water from leaking outside the cabinet and onto the shop floor. The only provisions made for steam containment, with other make wash machines, are plastic or elastomeric gaskets that can fail and require replacement, and can create significant health hazards for workers who can be subjected to the spray of hot alkaline solution as it blows through a failed seal. MART engineering required that the steam discharge be contained without the use of gaskets, so they developed a steel-to-steel compression seal that effectively prevents the discharge of steam into the shop. The MART Door Seal System is reliable and requires no maintenance.
STEAM EXHAUST: All other washer makers use fan blades directly in the steam flow from the wash cabinet. MART engineers found this method to be unacceptable because it pulled a constant CFM of steam so that at times too much discharge is produced while, at other times, the fan cannot carry the steam load so that steam would discharge into the shop. The reason for this phenomenon is that the atmospheric pressure is constantly changing inside the building. The second issue addressed, which MART
engineers found unacceptable, is that a fan, pulley, bearings and belt in a constant velocity steam exhaust are in the steam laden air stream and thus subject to failure. Through R&D, MART overcame these deficiencies by engineering a venturi style Steam Exhaust that has no moving parts in the air stream. The venturi pulls a constant vacuum of 0.3 WCI negative pressure inside the cabinet so that the steam evacuation is constant, yet the system can never remove excessive heat. The result is system reliability that has lower heat energy consumption.
TURNTABLE BEARINGS: The washer is designed to remove grease from all parts and surfaces within the cabinet. Thus the grease in the table bearings are subjected to being washed out so that bearing maintenance is frequent. This problem was exacerbated with the larger more efficient Pump Systems and the invention of the Power Blast Manifold. Through a considerable R&D effort, MART engineers developed a dual seal bearing system for the larger Table bearings, and a permanently sealed bearing for smaller MART Power Washers. Many types of grease were also tested for film strength, heat resistance and the ability to resist strong alkaline chemicals. The testing resulted in the specification of a widely available grease that is highly effective and low in cost. R&D projects exceeded 2,000 hours of engineering.
OTHER R&D IMPROVEMENTS … Short High Impact Manifold (SHIM) to concentrate all the blasted energy from the Pumps on shorter work loads ▪ Sludge/Surface Scraper to remove waste and extend solution life ▪ Hot Air Blow Off (HABO) ▪ Center Probe Manifold to internally clean such components as electrical motor housings and aircraft hot sections ▪ Pump Drives that rotate 50Hz Pumps at 60 Hz speed ▪ Eclipse Burner Systems ▪ Additional Power Washer models including TORNADO and HURRICANE Series 52s & 72s, and special Systems for Aircraft wheels, brakes, bearings and landing gear ▪ Automated and Batch Lift Door Machines with Manual or Automated Conveyors ▪ Improved Locomotive wash systems for axles, wheelsets and bogies, plus over 60 more new options and changes.