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Cleaning Flame Heads

This month I have to admit a change of heart regarding the servicing of flame heads. Since typical flame heads cost on average $1500-3000, with some going as high as $15,000, I feel compelled to advise all customers to send their heads back to our shop for regular cleaning and maintenance. Quality today matters more than ever, and a few hundred dollars’ investment in getting the maintenance done right, plus keeping a spare flame head so that you can rotate that in when the other rotates out, just makes sense in today’s exacting market.

People often fail to clean heads correctly because to do so involves a very tedious, painstaking process using the correct drill size and counterbore. The head also needs to be boiled in a grease-cutting solution to loosen any carbon buildup. Then we clean each port with the drill and blown out each port with compressed air. There can be hundreds of flame ports in a head, and we may need to repeat the entire process as many as six times before we feel the head is operating at maximum efficiency.

The reason we know whether the head is good as new is that we put the flame head through extensive testing. If the testing reveals some loosened carbon getting stuck in the ports we repeat the process until it’s all out. Because we know how the flame head is built, we know what’s behind the flame port and can remove all buildup without damaging the ports or compromising the integrity of the head. We know what a good-burning flame port looks like and we won’t return any heads to the customer until the ports are all burning the way they should.

Typically we can turn around a cleaning of the flame head in a day, at a cost of $250-500. That’s a lot cheaper than replacing a ruined head. And it’s also another reason we recommend keeping replacement flame heads onhand to keep your line up and running during scheduled maintenance. As soon as you put a clean head in, send us the one that’s been running and we’ll evaluate it to make sure it will still perform at the required level, clean it, and get it back you.

Call me if you have any questions or concerns about the maintenance and performance of flame heads and torches in your shop. 919-956-5208, or

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