Advantages of Solvent Cleaning over Aqueous Cleaning?
Water and metal don't mix
What is Aqueous Cleaning? Aqueous cleaning is water-based and involves using various cleaning methods (from dip tanks to hand-scrubbing, to large industrial equipment washers) to remove grease, dirt, and oil from parts and equipment. Aqueous Cleaning uses water with surfactants, detergents, emulsifiers, inhibitors, anti-foaming agents, PH buffers and many other additives to the water wash bath to removed contaminants from your parts. After cleaning, the metal parts need to be rinsed (in de-ionized water) and dried prior to being able to use the parts in the next manufacturing stage. This process is usually done via multiple "wash tanks." Overall, the process can be cumbersome and prone to having parts not cleaned properly due to water deposits and the detergents, etc. left on the part.
What is solvent cleaning?
Solvent based cleaning is usually done in a vapor degreaser unit using a non-flammable, azeotropic solvent. Vapor degreasers are one contained system that heat the solvent to boiling and the "vapor" takes the oil, grease or other contaminant from the metal part into solution removing the soil completely. Vapor degreasers also have the ability to do ultrasonic immersion to increase cleaning of complex geometries. Improvements in vapor degreasing equipment and vapor degreasing solvent technologies make vapor degreasing an efficient, economical solvent cleaning option.
Some companies have mandated chemical solvents cannot be used - which makes aqueous cleaning an option. But for many manufacturing companies solvent cleaning is still a much more effective (from a comprehensive cleaning and time perspective), efficient (because it is fast), human-respectful (minimal interaction with solvents) and economical way to clean their metal parts.
Advantages of using solvent-based cleaning solutions
vs. water based (aqueous) cleaning process
1. ADVANTAGE: Solvent Cleaning is a more effective cleaning process.
Water-based cleaning means that soils (like hydrocarbons) do not readily dissolve in water baths and thus there is a limited efficacy of cleaning. This is the case with many oils and fluxes. You can consider adding detergents and other chemicals to the aqueous system, to boost cleaning efficiency. And then the pretreatment of the waste water is needed. Additionally, water-based systems can negatively react with the part to be cleaned and cause rust, corrosion or other damage.
Vapor Degreasing with AeroTron™ Solvent increases the efficiency of cleaning many soils and other contaminants not cleared by water systems. AeroTron™ Solvent-based vapor degreasing cleaning systems work well on a broad range of common manufacturing contaminants - such as oils, greases, lubricants, coolants, drawing fluids, adhesives, waxes, fluxes and flux residues.
+++ AeroTron™ solvent in vapor degreasers cleans better than aqueous cleaning.
2. ADVANTAGE: Rinsing and drying not required.
With aqueous-based cleaning, there are usually several steps required to properly execute the aqueous cleaning process. Once the part is cleaned, it must be rinsed and dried. This can add significant time to the cleaning phase of the manufacturing process.
In a vapor degreaser, the AeroTron quickly condenses in the cooling zone. The refrigeration condensing coil within the vapor degreasing machine cools and dries the part while the dirty solvent drips back into the tank for distillation, filtration and reuse. So there is no need for rinsing and drying of the parts - thus significantly reducing the cycle time.
+++ With AeroTron™, no rinsing or drying is needed.
3. ADVANTAGE: Solvent cleaning is fast -- significantly reducing cycle time.
With aqueous cleaning, the cycle times can be significant, as the part needs to be washed, rinsed and dried (often with time lag between stages). With solvent based vapor degreasing, cleaning happens in minutes (or seconds) all in one contained system, with the parts ready for the next process like plating or adhesion.
+++ AeroTron™ means shorter cleaning cycle times.
4. ADVANTAGE: Reduced footprint.
Traditional aqueous cleaning stations are footprint expensive. Each stage of the process from cleaning to rinsing to drying requires different units and thus more space for the equipment. A vapor degreasing system does the cleaning and drying all in one compact footprint, eliminating the need for the part to move from stage to stage. AeroTron™ solvent-based vapor degreasing is a more efficient use of footprint.
+++ AeroTron™ solvent vapor degreasers are compact, efficient cleaning systems.
5. ADVANTAGE: Minimal maintenance & reduced costs.
Aqueous cleaning requires detergents and bath monitoring to ensure the proper mix of detergent to water. Additionally, water-based cleaning requires de-ionized water and water treatment post-cleaning. AeroTron™ solvent-based vapor degreasers do not require bath maintenance. Additionally, vapor degreasing provides the ability to clean thousands of parts with clean distilled solvent - over and over.
+++ AeroTron™ solvent vapor degreasers require minimal maintenance.
While solvents cost more than water, keep in mind the solvents used in vapor degreasing can be recycled and distilled almost indefinitely. Between the savings in labor costs, reduced maintenance and energy consumption, and high-yield, high-quality of cleaned parts, vapor degreasing is the clear choice.