The Keith Monks Record Cleaning Machine was introduced in 1969 and is still unique in the method used to vacuum-dry the cleaning fluid from the vinyl record.
The KMAL (Keith Monks Audio Ltd) Record Cleaning Machine was originally developed from a ‘Record Doctor’ concept devised by Percy Wilson in England and presented to the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in 1965.
In 1969, Keith Monks was successful in securing orders from the BBC for the first KMAL Record Cleaning Machines to be manufactured.
The KMAL Record Cleaning Machines have been in continuous production since that time.
Today, Jonathan Monks (Keith’s son) manufactures a range of record cleaning machines under the company name of Keith Monks Audio Works.
These machines are truly of ‘professional’ quality, required to run ’24/7′ at broadcast and ‘archive’ institutions such as the BBC, the British Library and the US Library of Congress.
The record rotates at 80 rpm and after cleaning, dirty fluid is removed by vacuum suction. A counter-balanced ‘tonearm’ moves across the record (moving slowly from inner to outer groove) with the plastic vacuum nozzle resting upon the record.
Uniquely, the suction nozzle also contains a slowly moving, soft nylon thread, to stop re-contamination of the record and also to act as a soft ‘buffer’ between the nozzle and the delicate record surface.
Under the top deck, a reel of soft nylon thread is motor-driven slowly through a brass tube inside the ‘tonearm’.
A second motor drives the movement of the suction arm across the record (from inner to outer groove).
The top-mounted cleaning brush with built-in, hand-pumped fluid application. The brush has specially selected, soft-tipped but hard-wearing, ultra-fine, tapered bristles.
Glass containers inside the machine hold the record-cleaning fluid and waste fluid.
The ‘heart’ of the KMAL record cleaning machine is a medical-grade suction pump. This particular example (from the 1970s-80s?) contains a twin-diaphragm pump made by Charles Austen Pumps Ltd in England.
The record platter is of course separately motor-driven (Lenco idler-drive) and is designed for continuous operation all day.