ITW Chemtronics - Attention to Detail Improves Cost and Performance of Vapor Degreasing

Our thanks to ITW Chemtronics for allowing us to reprint the following.
By: Michael Watkins, ITW Chemtronics

Vapor-phase degreasing, or vapor degreasing has been used for decades as a reliable method for cleaning and degreasing metal parts, aviation components, electronic and electrical components, surgical tools and medical implants. In many cases it is the only method that can be used to reliably clean pieces that have a complex structure. Vapor degreasing offers other advantages as well. The degreasing solvents used are nonflammable, so there's no fire hazard. Vapor degreasing requires little operator training, low operating cost and minimal floor space. It complies with VOC and HAP air emissions requirements if operated properly. But all these advantages can only be realized if the equipment is operated properly.

Vapor degreasing is entering a new era of both challenges and opportunities as environmental regulations become more stringent, limiting the use of traditional chlorinated solvents in vapor degreasing equipment. The performance of a vapor degreasing operation is intimately tied to the choice of the degreasing solvent used, and the selection of approved solvents is growing smaller each day. ITW Chemtronics offers two liquid cleaners that are recommended and approved for use in vapor degreasing systems. These products have a range of boiling points and solubility values that lets the customer tailor the degreasing solvent to his particular requirements.

Let's briefly review the vapor degreasing process and equipment. A simple vapor degreaser usually consists of a heated sump in which the degreasing solvent is brought to boiling. The heated vapor from the boiling solvent rises until it contacts a cooling jacket and/or condenser coil, at which point the vapor condenses and falls back into the sump. Parts to be cleaned are lowered into the heated vapor where the vapor condenses onto the part and dissolves any grease and oil. The oilcontaminated solvent then dips back into the heated sump. The self-distilling nature of this cleaning method means that the cleaning is always performed with pure, distilled solvent...

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