Safe Degreasers: Low Toxicity Cleaners Produce Less Air Contamination

ByTimothy Byron

Safe handling practices have always been a concern in the parts finishing industry. Degreasers are harmful to inhale and can be absorbed by the skin. They are commonly applied through vapor degreasing methods for individual part cleaning. This process uses a solvent in its gas form to prepare a part for finishing. Condensation in the chamber removes all contaminants from the part. A solvent basin is coil heated to a boil to create the needed evaporation. The vapors rise to a chamber fill-line where the part is placed for cleaning. Once in place, condensation takes place allowing the liquid to clean all grime off the part. Liquid beads encapsulate the contaminants and run off into a section setup for disposal or reuse.

Vapor degreasing is common because it can be used for electronic part cleaning without the risk of water damage. It is practical for any type of cleaning where water-based practices cannot be used. Surfaces may be cleaned to accomplish multiple finishing processes such as painting or welding. Part oxidization and water spotting are no longer a complication. Vacuum degreasers emit no solvent, making them safer; however, they are more expensive and have a slower production rate. Safe degreasers can be incorporated into this process to reduce hazard risks without compromising the productivity supplied by the cleaning process.

Industrial Degreasers: Decreasing Vapor Release during Cleaning

Industrial degreasers are essential for removing all contaminants for finishing. If these particles are not removed, applied practices will not be effective. Vapor degreasing is dangerous because it encourages the release of harmful compounds. It is important to use the safest chemicals possible during this process to reduce the risks associated with this type of part cleaning.

Both organic and inorganic solvents can produce compounds as they evaporate. Those released by traditional degreasers are harmful to the environment and all people in their vicinity. The dangers associated with these cleaners have brought on the development of more environmentally friendly agents. Some cleaners release volatile organic compounds that are eco-friendly, but still dangerous to inhale. Any business performing vapor degreasing can better protect their workers by selecting an effective low VOC solvent.

Additional measures can be taken to better ensure safety when working with industrial degreasers. The danger increases when part output is higher because more vapors are being released into the area. Even with effective safety practices in place, many companies tend to overlook the hazards associated with vapor degreasing as a whole. Many practices can be put into effect in addition to implementing safer cleaning agents.

Overexposure is a serious concern that can be partially eliminated by using an organic solvent with low VOCs. Exposure to harmful chemicals can have serious ramifications on an individual, making it pertinent to be up-to-date on these regulations. Tests can be run to determine the current level of operator exposure.

Both cooling system retrofitting and preventative maintenance are ways to reduce emissions. Solvents should be supplied through a pump instead of by a bucket. Correct labeling keeps operators better informed of associated hazards and proper usage. All can greatly reduce the harmful effects of vapor cleaning when combined with safe degreasers.

The use of industrial degreasers in vapor cleaning can be risky as gases are emitted into the air. Safe degreasers, along with preventative practices greatly reduce these risks.

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