XJ Restorations Cleans up with Safe Solvents
Vintage car restorations can be a dirty affair – oil, grease and years of accumulated dirt and debris can shroud the true beauty of the individual parts.
Bringing these parts back to life involves hours of dedicated work by specialist restorers to strip away the dirt and grease. For many, this has included turning to toxic hydrocarbon solvents and heated detergents. However, one Sussex-based business has bucked the trend by reinventing its parts washing process in a safer, cleaner, greener way.
Nestled away in a 4000sq ft premises in the resort town of Eastbourne on England’s southeast coast sits XJ Restorations. Founded in 2006 by Keith and Phil Parrington, XJ Restorations has developed a reputation as master restorers of a multitude of vintage Jaguar car models, including the famed XJ12C.
Restoring a variety of heritage car parts, such as the cylinder heads and engine blocks – many of which have not seen the light of day for years – to their former glory is an integral part of any professional restoration. Keith has typically carried out cleaning these parts using a combination of a hot wash pressure washing, a steam cleaner and a scraper to remove dirt and debris from the parts, all of which require significant amounts of time to set-up, use and clean.
Crucially, every parts washing process required an employee at XJ Restorations to get hands-on with the cleaning fluid. Such manual handling of the cleaning fluids and process was not only costing the company time, but it required technicians to put themselves in direct contact with potentially harmful chemical solvents.
Safety and efficiency were a key priority for Keith and he wanted to bring the company’s approach to parts washing into the 21st Century. However, with restorations taking a significant amount of time, finding an alternative process was hard within the constraints of his day. Enter Safe Solvents.
Our parts washing processes were inefficient, we knew that, but finding the time to source and trial a new solution proved difficult. Fortunately, our luck changed when a provider of parts washing solutions literally knocked on our door,” began Keith. “Safe Solvents arrived in their demo van to show us how their machines and parts washing fluids could help us to achieve a safer, cleaner working environment.”
He continued: “having witnessed first-hand the ease-of-use that Safe Solvents’ machines provided along with their professionalism and knowledge, we were more than willing to try them out and say goodbye to the hot wash. The demo team showed us how simple it was to load in the parts, lower the lid and leave the machine to do its thing without any manual involvement. We took the decision to set up a service contract for the Monsoon Pro Air spray gun cleaner and the Shockwave Pro 3000. The choice was simple as each machine suited our needs perfectly.”
Shifting up a gear
Keith’s decision to turn to Safe Solvents was more than just a business decision, it introduced the company to ‘Ambimization’. A major disruptor in the process and parts cleaning industry, Ambimization uses room-temperature, water-based fluids with safe detergents. Parts in need of a thorough clean can be left in the fluid, leaving Keith and his team to focus their time on other priorities.
The Shockwave Pro 3000 is a highly efficient, automated industrial ultrasonic cleaner that creates microscopic bubbles which release localised energy upon impact of surfaces. This process is ideally suited for XJ Restorations’ needs as it blasts away dirt from the smallest of crevices, resulting in a thorough, deeper clean – saving both time and hassle for the specialist Jaguar restorers.
Saving Keith and his team even more precious time, the Monsoon Pro Air spray gun cleaner contains everything needed to clean off complimentary parts and air-dry for immediate use. This means the dedicated team of restorers can quickly get back to doing what they do best – breathing life back into some of the UK’s most prized cars without the need to manually wash each spray gun with potentially harmful solvents.
“We have some very high-profile customers visit our workshop; in the past we’ve welcomed Sir Patrick Stewart and his XJS Convertible through our doors,” Keith adds. “Having a garage that looks like it’s fit for the rigorous demands of 2019, not 1819 is vitally important. Both the Shockwave and the Monsoon look great on the shop floor, meaning when customers look around, they can see that we live and breathe professionalism in all that we do.”
Steering towards sustainability
XJ Restorations’ commitment to sustainable working practices played a significant role in making the switch to Safe Solvents.
Keith continues: “We set up a service contract with Safe Solvents that sees them deliver their ambient, water-based fluids to us every three months. This means that we only ever have delivered what we will need for the months ahead, minimising waste. Additionally, any fluids left over from the parts washing process are offered to our team for use in their own garages. Around 50% of all of the fluid that we use is recycled as traffic film remover, with the other half removed by Safe Solvents.”
The service contract with Safe Solvents provides XJ Restorations with significant time saving benefits, as every three months, they provide a complete fluid renewal and machine cleaning service. This means that Keith and his team can stay focused on restoring cars, instead of restoring the shine to their parts washing machines.
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