Many industries rely on harsh solvents and manual labor for parts cleaning in the facility. However, this practice can be damaging to workers’ health as well as a threat to the environment. This is mainly because solvents are high in VOC’s which pollute the air and are often toxic to humans. Spent solvents are usually difficult to dispose of because they are considered hazardous waste which requires special handling at high costs. A safer, more sustainable option is to avoid solvents altogether and switch to aqueous cleaners.
Aqueous cleaners are water-based solutions containing less than 5% VOC’s. Many people hold the misconception that aqueous cleaners are less effective cleaners than solvents and that they cause rust formation. Unlike solvents, aqueous cleaning relies on heat, agitation, and soap action to break up greases and dirt particles. As a result the same cleanliness can be achieved without the dangerous effects of solvents. In order to prevent rust, aqueous solutions can be combined with rust inhibitors but quite often the problem can be avoided through drying parts at the end of a cleaning.
An additional misconception about aqueous cleaning is that it is more costly than using solvents. While aqueous cleaning may require the initial investment in a wash cabinet, it will bring about significant savings when it comes to chemical demand, disposal, and man-hours. Waste aqueous solution with sludge usually requires disposal less than three times per year. The ease at which the solution can be disposed of depends on the presence or absence of hazardous contaminants such as metals. The life of a solution can be extended through oil skimming, filtration, and avoiding overloading. Because aqueous cleaning can be performed by an automated wash cabinet, this method allows workers to devote time to other tasks.
Whether you are concerned for environmental sustainability, workers’ health, or company savings, it is a good idea to switch to aqueous cleaning if you currently use solvents. To get the transition underway contact HPI Processes, Inc., your local CUDA parts washers dealer. With extensive knowledge and experience in the industry we can provide you with all the information, supplies, and assistance you need to smoothly incorporate aqueous cleaning into your daily operations.