Industrial part cleaning must achieve cleanliness standards required for high-quality downstream processes – coating, adhesive bonding, welding, curing – in a reliable, cost-efficient, resource-saving manner. Success depends on using suitable chemicals, equipment, and process technology.
When choosing a cleaning fluid, the chemical principle like-dissolves-like can be a guide.
Aqueous detergents are typically employed for water-based (polar) contaminants such as aqueous coolant and lubricant emulsions, salts, abrasion residue, and other solid matter. To make sure the medium will not attack the product surface, test the material compatibility and results through a cleaning trial.
For mineral oil-based (non-polar) contaminants such as machining oils, greases, waxes, and resins, a solvent will normally be used. Once the oil is removed, chips and particles on the product will lose their adhesion to the surface and are eliminated via injection flood washing or ultrasound.
Depending on the contamination being removed, the solvent will be a non-halogenated hydrocarbon, a chlorinated hydrocarbon, or a modified alcohol; the latter media have lipophilic and hydrophilic properties that can remove non-polar and, to a certain extent, polar contaminants.
Solvents exhibit a high degree of material compatibility and do not cause oxidation, discoloration, dulling, or other impairment of the part during cleaning treatment. Another advantage of solvents is quick and complete drying, even in difficult areas such as blind holes and undercuts.
Fully enclosed solvent-based cleaning systems from Ecoclean Inc., Southfield, Michigan, carry fluid in a closed circuit. Integrated distillation and filtration systems continuously automate solvent reconditioning, nearly eliminating operator exposure to the solvent, while delivering consistent cleaning quality and long solvent life.
The EcoCcore cleaning system works under a full vacuum to clean large quantities of parts using two flood tanks, heat recovery, full-flow, and bypass filtration. The system can use non-halogenated hydrocarbons or modified alcohols (polar solvents) easily changing from one solvent to another.
The EcoCcompact’s two flood tanks use a space-saving, modular configuration, to clean using polar solvents or non-halogenated hydrocarbons. Operating under full vacuum, the unit supports high-speed degreasing, intermediate cleaning, and specification-compliant final cleaning.
The EcoCduty features a solvent-based large-chamber cleaning system and uses hydrocarbons or polar solvents and operates under full vacuum in a modular design adaptable to shop needs. Configured as a vapor-degreaser, the system is also available with one or two stainless steel flood tanks, and vacuum drying is standard.
A compact solution, for small- or large-scale operations, the Minio 85C, delivers immersion, steam degreasing, and vacuum drying with non-halogenated hydrocarbon media, either between or downstream from production processes.
When considering investment in a part cleaning system, review the range of available technology to find the system that fits your part-cleaning challenges.