Knowledge Base –
Knowledge makes the difference

The cleaning results of your cleaning system are influenced by many different factors. There are different types of cleaning agents and a wide range of cleaning technology and system concepts. To help you choose the right cleaning technology for your cleaning task and requirements we carry out cleaning trials using contaiminated parts from your production line in one of our test centers.

The Ecoclean knowledge base for parts cleaning is a reference book for industrial cleaning technology and a guide to the various cleaning agents, cleaning processes and cleaning systems.

Cleaning Technology

add

Batch cleaning technology

add

Ecoclean has solutions for all areas of wet chemical cleaning. Whether with water-based cleaners, environmentally friendly hydrocarbons and modified alcohol, chlorinated hydrocarbons or innovative polar solvents, the result is always the same –reliable cleaning of every type of contamination!

Growing demands on the quality of components requires increasingly complex solutions for industrial cleaning. With innovative standard solutions and individually customized cleaning systems, Ecoclean meets international standards on cleanliness in industries as diverse as the production of mechanical components, aviation and space flights, medical technology, the food industry, electronics and laboratory equipment.

Ecoclean provides a fitting solution for every application:

  • Automotive systems (e.g. injection, break and steering systems, turbo chargers etc.)
  • Mass components (e.g. turning, milling, fasteners, hydraulics etc.)
  • Non-metallic parts (e.g. rubber, ceramic, plastic etc.)
  • Aircraft and military components (e.g. engine and turbine components)
  • Precision components (e.g. medical, optical, tools, thin coating, fine mechanics etc.)

Precision cleaning technology

add

Fine cleaning systems using multi-stage immersion-type ultrasonic cleaning lines for the medical, optical, fine mechanical and coating industries. All equipment meets the highest standards of substrate cleanliness. Sophisticated modular design allows these systems to be cost effective and be individually tailored to any application and requirement.

UCM (a member of the Ecoclean Group) provides a fitting solution for every application:

  • Precision engineering (e. g. mechanical parts, aircraft-, automobile-, watch-, jewelry industry)
  • Medical technology (e. g. implants, surgical instruments, cannulae, etc.)
  • Precision optics (e. g. lenses, mirrors, prisms, masks)
  • PVD/CVD coating industry (e. g. carbide tools, automotive parts, fixtures)

Single piece cleaning technology

add

In accordance with the special requirements of automobile manufacturers and their suppliers, Ecoclean develops and produces water-based cleaning and deburring systems for large and medium-sized serial parts, such as those used in the powertrain. With flexible robotic cells and using our own in-house technology centers for innovative cleaning technology, we adapt the different procedures to perfectly suit each individual cleaning task.

The quality and operational reliability of automobiles and commercial vehicles are fundamentally dependent on the cleanliness of their individual components. The cleaning systems are therefore customized according to specific customers’ needs.

Ecoclean provides a fitting solution for every application of parts cleaning:

  • Automotive engine & transmission parts (e.g. cylinder head, crankshaft, camshaft, gears, housings etc.)
  • Automotive systems (e.g. injection, break and steering systems, turbo chargers etc.) vehicle construction parts (chassis, car bodies, skids etc.)
  • Aircraft and military components (e.g. engine and turbine components)

Surface treatment technology

add

Our Surface Treatment Division supplies equipment for surface roughening, activation, stripping, de-coring, rust removal, paint stripping, steam cleaning and cavity preservation.

Ecoclean offers suitable surface technology and solutions for every application:

  • Automotive engine & transmission parts (e.g. cylinder head, crankshaft, camshaft, gears, housings etc.)
  • Automotive systems (e.g. injection, break and steering systems, turbo chargers etc.)
  • Vehicle construction parts (chassis, car bodies, skids etc.)
  • Mass components (e.g. turning, milling, fasteners, hydraulics etc.)
  • Non-metallic parts (e.g. rubber, ceramic, plastic etc.)
  • Aircraft and military components (e.g. engine and turbine components)

Cleaning Media

add

Aqueous media

add

Nowadays environmentally-friendly water based cleaning plays the most important role in the intermediate and final cleaning of parts in industrial cleaning technology. Water based agents include alkaline, neutral and acidic cleaners. They are preferable if a large quantity needs cleaning and/or fine and precision cleaning has to be carried out.

Alkaline agents with a pH value >7 are most frequently used for surface cleaning in the metal processing industry. They remove not only organic contaminants such as grease, oil and wax, but also inorganic residues such as metal chippings and dirt. Strongly alkaline cleaners are more effective for removing organic contaminants than weaker alkaline cleaners.

The pH-value of acidic cleaners is <6. They effectively dissolve inorganic contaminants (e.g. metal chaff, pigments and dust) and in the same way clean up metallic surface oxides– particularly rust and scale.

Neutral cleaners generally have a pH-value between 6 and 9. They are used for cleaning and degreasing steel, cast iron, light metal alloys, non-ferrous heavy metals, glass, ceramics and plastics. Neutral cleaners are not generally as effective as alkaline cleaners for degreasing. For this reason and to achieve the required level of cleanliness we integrate mechanical applications, such as ultrasonic or injection flood washing, into the system.

To ensure material compatibility we conduct test cleaning runs on a number of different cleaning systems for water-based cleaners including flow-through spray units, and single and multi-chamber cleaning systems in our test centers.

Chlorinated hydrocarbons

add

Cleaning with chlorinated solvents is one of the classic processes in industrial parts cleaning. Success is based on the following characteristics:

  • Excellent degreasing action
  • Low surface tension
  • Rapid parts drying
  • No flash point


To avoid health and environmental risks,,the use of chlorinated hydrocarbons is controlled by the 2nd Federal Emission Protection Regulation (BImSchV). This requires cleaning to take place in a closed system and for the extraction area only to be re-opened when the solvent concentration has fallen to below <1 gm per cubic centimeter of air.

With the unrivaled, integrated air volume displacement process (PLV), , we provide a particularly efficient and environmentally-friendly system for a completely air-free operation of chlorinated hydrocarbon cleaning systems without activated carbon filters.  This has a number of advantages for the user :

  • Lower operating costs
  • Low consumption of solvent stabilizer
  • No system stoppages


The 2nd BImschV has approved the use of the chlorinated hydrocarbons perchlorethylen, trichloroethylene and methylene chloride.. Trichloroethylene has been classified as carcinogenic since 2002 and a substitution must therefore be found where possible (substitution requirement).

Thanks to their design for multi-stage processes – cleaning, rinsing, steam degreasing and drying – they are also suitable for fine and precision cleaning tasks.

Hydrocarbons

add

When talking about non-halogenated solvents for parts cleaning, the term hydrocarbon is normally used. Optimum cleaning performance, excellent environmental compatibility and low operating costs make them an attractive alternative to chlorinated solvents in industrial cleaning systems.

In some cases these hydrocarbons are flammable and are used for flash points higher than 55°C. Extra protection measures are not necessary if the solvent is being used at temperatures at least 15°C below the flash point; in the event of higher application temperatures, the risk of explosion is excluded with the use of an appropriate vacuum.

Hydrocarbon cleaning systems from Ecoclean have been successfully used for many years, in some cases for extremely demanding cleaning tasks, in fine and precision cleaning environments. The single chamber cleaning systems are designed for a multi-stage cleaning process – cleaning, rinsing, steam degreasing and vacuum drying.

Polar Solvents

add

Based on the principle "cleaning like with like", non-polar contaminents such as oil and grease are best removed using non-polar cleaning agents such as chlorinated hydrocarbons and non-halogenated hydrocarbons. With polar contaminents such as salt and emulsion, on the other hand, the best cleaning results can be achieved with water-based solvents, which are highly polar.

Between these are a number of cleaning tasks for which polar solvents are available. These one-component solvents are particularly well suited to emulsions, natural oils / fats and mixed impurities.

Cleaning Procedures

add

Dry cleaning

add

Cleaning without liquid agents is often used as an intermediate or pre-cleaning step. It serves to remove contaminants which could interfere with subsequent processes such as mounting bearing brackets or valve seats.

With the dry cleaning method, vacuum or compressed air is used to remove adhering contaminants from the workpieces. The process is designed to remove chippings, oil or emulsion without rinsing the workpiece.

With the compressed air method the contaminants are blown off the surface. In the vacuum cleaning technology version the contaminants are sucked off abruptly over a standing vacuum.   The advantage of these two methods is that no heat is introduced into the workpiece, and therefore the need for drying and cooling is eliminated. As a result, this process can easily be integrated into any mechanical manufacturing line as a cost-effective process.

High-pressure cleaning & deburring

add

High-pressure water cleaning is typically performed within the range of approx. 300-700 bar. Needless to say, applications above and below these pressures also exist, but will not be described in detail here.

High pressures cleaning and/or high-pressure deburring may be required for the safe removal of feather burrs which may arise during mechanical processing by machine tools . Pressures of around 300 bar are applied to aluminum parts whereas up to 700 b ar is used on steel parts or castings.

High pressure cleaning or high pressure deburring removes loosely adhering burrs in critical areas and flushes them away. Burrs which cannot be removed at this pressure are known as root burrs. Another application of high pressure cleaning or high pressure deburring is the removal of sand residue from castings.

High-pressure cleaning can also be performed at lower pressures. The aim is to remove and flush away stubborn contamination on the workpiece surface (e.g., carbon deposits, welding residue or scale). The pressures used depend highly on the type of contamination and will normally be determined by testing.

Injection flood washing (IFW)

add

Injection flood washing is used in almost all cleaning systems where parts that are heavily contaminated with chippings and oil or emulsion require pre-cleaning. The purpose of the operation is to remove most of the adhering contaminents in a first step.

Injection flood washing will generally be selected as the first step in the overall process. It is performed using a general, i.e. non-targeted array of nozzles relative to the part.

The flow is applied with water at a pressure of between 3 and 15 bar. This is carried out with either split-flow or solid jet nozzles. The high volume flow rates achieved, in conjunction with the arrangement of the nozzles underwater, ensures excellent cavity penetration even for the most intricate workpieces.

Immersion cleaning

add

Workpieces with a complex geometrical shape such as blind holes and undercuts are usually cleaned by immersion. In contrast to spray cleaning which is carried out predominantly with water-based agents, immersion cleaning is brought to a successful conclusion using solvents.

When the workpiece is immersed in the cleaning bath, the dirt adhering to its surface is removed primarily by the chemical cleaning action of the medium. Depending on the application, an ultrasound or injection flood washing stage may be added to intensify the cleaning performance.

Laminar Flow

add

Laminar flow boxes are used on the housing cover in order to achieve as less as particles as possible in the air in the "cleanest" area of the system. The boxes are usually installed from the last lift-out sink to the dryer and unloading position in order to ensure the highest parts cleanliness. Laminar flow boxes are a typical element of the clean room application and allow the cleaning plant to be directly "docked" to the clean room.

Lift-out

add

Slowly "pull" the components out of the last and cleanest sink with DI-rinsing. The surface tension is used by the water in order to expel the parts as dry as possible from the medium. In this process, the deionised water must be absolutely "gas-free" and as low in particle as possible. Lift-out is a necessary part of the system in many industries especially in precision optics.

Oscillation

add

Oscillation is a lifting out of the parts while an optimal exchange of liquid is ensured on the parts when the product is being immersed in the medium. In addition, particles are swept away from the component surface during oscillation.

Steam degreasing

add

Steam degreasing takes place in the closed work chamber of a chlorinated or non-halogenated hydrocarbon cleaning system. It is suitable for removing a number of contaminents including oil, grease and emulsion from lightly contaminated components.

The solvent is heated to boiling point and the resulting solvent vapor is directed onto the components to be cleaned. The difference in temperature between the hot steam and the cold component causes the solvent on the surface of the work piece to condense, which results in a rinsing action from the pure solvent condensation.

Spray cleaning

add

Spray cleaning is a classic process embodied in most cleaning systems. The kinetic energy of the spray jet improves the action of the cleaning chemicals used, dislodging contaminants from the surface of the workpiece.

Spray cleaning is used in most industrial cleaning systems. General or pinpointed application takes place at pressures between 2 and 20 bar. Above this range the process will commonly be referred to as high-pressure cleaning, but the transition from one to the other is fluid.

Cleaning results depend on how accurately the nozzles are directed at the surface being cleaned. This is particularly true with pinpointed fluid application. Cleaning deep bores or tapped blind holes require a targeted application of fluid. Relative movement between the part and the spraying nozzle can improve the result.

When it comes to attaining particularly high standards of cleanliness, a general spraying process may also be used as the final step in the cleaning process. Any small, stubborn particles still adhering to the surface will be washed away.

Ultrasonic cleaning

add

Ultrasonic cleaning is a method that can result in unsurpassed levels of cleanliness.

The parts to be cleaned are sonicated in a specific cleaning fluid. The ultrasonic generator is attached to the side wall or bottom of the cleaning bath.

The cleaning action of ultrasonic cleaning is based on the cavitation effect: The vibrations create minuscule cavitation bubbles  in the fluid which collapse, creating strong currents and turbulence that  "blast" the contaminant particles off the parts to be cleaned. For the effectiveness of cleaning, the rule is that the lower the frequency, the larger the cavitation bubbles and the higher the level of energy released.

Ultrasonic cleaning is used, for example, in precision mechanics, electrical and electronic assembly and prior to galvanic processing.