Manufacturing Today
- Page 15
Cleaning Up
E&J Parts Cleaning Adds Cleaner Machine as Anniversary Nears
by David Krechevsky

With metal and PVC pipe running this way and that, exposed electric motors and pumps, and a hydraulic hoist to lift and place interchangeable drums filled with dirty stamped or deep-drawn parts, this is not your mother’s washing machine.

No, this complicated, computerized piece of equipment is a vacuum-vapor degreaser, a machine of proprietary design used by Waterbury-based E&J Parts Cleaning Inc. to speed its process for cleaning customers’ parts.

But how quickly the machine can produce clean parts is not it’s best feature, according to John Clark III, E&J’s sales and marketing director.

“The reason why these machines are important is that they are zero-emission machines,” he said. “It’s a closed-loop system. That means everything that’s inside the machine stays inside the machine. Nothing goes into the air, and it uses a nonhazardous solvent.”

“In other words, this machine cleans parts without making a mess of the environment.”

The new machine represents a step in a new direction for E&J Parts Cleaning, Clark said. “It’s helped increase our production, while actually reducing our carbon footprint. So it’s a nonhazardous piece of equipment that’s healthier for the operator and much healthier for the environment.”

The machine took “a couple of years to conceptualize,” and about a year to be custom built by Serec Corp. in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, Clark said. It was transported in two pieces on a flatbed truck to E&J’s facility at 1669 Thomaston Avenue, where it was reassembled on the shop floor. It took another couple of months to calibrate and debug, he said.

“It was a major investment for us,” he said. “But it’s really about the future and making sure we can have a safer environment for our employees. We want to reinvest in the kind of equipment that is safer and cleaner. That’s the ultimate goal.”

It’s an important step for a company preparing to mark its 25th anniversary in 2018. E&J was founded in 1993 by the late Everett J. Hardick Sr. and Clark’s father, John T. Clark Jr., whom they refer to as Jack.

The company now is run by Jack Clark, his son John, and General Manager John Votto. It cleans stamped or deep-drawn products for manufacturers in a variety of industries, including in the automotive, cosmetic and medical sectors.

The company uses a variety of processes to produce clean and smooth parts, including aqueous cleaning, hand cleaning, barrel deburring, and bright rolling. It also can remove rust and treat parts to prevent rust.

E&J’s customers are almost all within Connecticut, and the majority are within a 30-mile radius of Waterbury, Jack Clark said.

“We’re proud to be part of Waterbury,” John Clark said. “For us, it’s been business friendly. The Greater Waterbury and Naugatuck Valley area are hotspots for manufacturing. Some of the biggest manufacturers in New England are right here in Waterbury.”

The company also is now ISO 9001 certified, an international standard for quality management systems that the Clarks say is key to working within their industry — especially since E&J works for customers without contracts.

“We pick up parts from companies, and we don’t know what’s coming in until we open the back of the truck,” Jack Clark said.

“Having a system in place allows us to work with large customers who expect that kind of quality and that kind of system,” John Clark said. “We take it very seriously, and that’s how you maintain customers without contracts.