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Lean and Clean help needed

I have a client who manufacturers nail clippers.  The basic process is the
blanking of cold rolled steel into the individual parts with a soluable lard oil
lubricant, cleaning to remove the oil, and moving on to resistant welding or
file cutting (making the grooves in the file).   The parts are small and
quantities large.  Two problems occur if the oil is not removed from the parts.

1.   Smoke  is created in the automatic welding process.
2.   Automatic hopper feeder bowl gets gummy and jams in the file cut.

The client is in the midst of lean manufacturing and knows that the current
batch cleaning is a bottleneck and a constraint to  cellular manufacturing.  All
parts from four different blanking machines must be stacked and moved to a
central batch cleaning process that is connected to the wastewater treatment.

I am looking for assistance in improving this process.  We are  looking upstream
to the lard oil lubricant that has been used for a long time, as well as the
cleaning area.  Any suggestions for finding alternative lubricants that might
eliminate the need for cleaning or a better cleaning method than the current
batch system?  Any real experts out there that can help us cut to the chase and
evaluate our alternatives?

Thank you,

Judy Wlodarczyk
8 Two Mile road
Farmington, CT  06032
860-644-9718 (phone)
860-507-5659 (fax)