Posted on June 18, 2018
We call the next step of the refurbishing process industrial cleaning. This step of the process happens after an order has been received from the customer. The pack is torn down for deep cleaning and preliminary repair. The preliminary repair process includes disassembly, industrial cleaning, sewing and reassembly.
The first step is disassembly. Here the pack is reviewed again to be sure it has all necessary components that may have been missed when the pack was received, sometimes weeks, months or years before.
Next is a multi-faceted industrial cleaning. The metal components are washed with our primary washing technique which is ultrasonic cleaning. Dalmatian does its ultrasonic cleaning at 175 degrees with detergents that remove the smoke.
Ultrasonic cleaning is similar to the process for cleaning a diamond wedding ring but at a very large industrial scale. The value of the ultrasonic cleaning is the microscopic bubbles that percolate up from the bottom. These bubbles aren’t visible to the human eye, but when they hit the surface they explode with a pressure of 20,000 PSI. The smoke, dirt, and debris is dislodged from the packs.
This intense cleaning method is demanded by these products. Imagine a firefighter running through a burning building and bumping into a burning polyester couch. The glue and fabric gets glommed onto the side of the pack. He then proceeds to drag it through the mud before getting sprayed with water and hanging it up wet. We have to get through all those years and layers of whatever may have gotten on the pack. The ultrasonic temperature helps those components get clean.
The fabric components, the Nomex and Kevlar straps and harnesses, are also removed and put through a special washing process of their own. We use machinery called extractors. On the surface they appear to be very large washing machines but, in fact, they are more like a centrifuge. At first it runs like a front loading washing machine swishing the harness around with special detergent designed to get into all the pores.
The big difference is the spin cycle. These large machines spin very fast with a force 100 times gravity. What that does is pull out the detergent that has become embedded in the cloth, taking the dirt and grime with it. This deep cleaning is not easy to be accomplished without this system. We have developed these techniques over many years to ensure the best clean to the harness and frame.
After deep cleaning, the harnesses proceed to sewing. Our industrial machines were custom made in Japan to pull the Kevlar thread needed to resew the harnesses in the appropriate way. Kevlar thread is very rough and takes a special feeding mechanism. The fabrics and straps used are purchased from the same suppliers that are used by the manufacturers of the packs. Where needed, stiches are removed and new fabric sewn in.
The final step of the cleaning is done by hand. There are
components that can’t be put into the ultrasonic cleaner or the extractors.
This tedious process involves household cleaners, brushes, sponges, and
attention to detail. Dalmatian uses only hazmat free cleaning materials. Part
of our philosophy for rejuvenation and restoring is that we not use hazardous
chemicals around our staff that would damage the environment
Finally, after everything has been cleaned and sewn, everything is reassembled. Components that needed replacing are included and it is gathered into one functioning unit. The pack is now ready for final assembly and testing.