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The CO2 Cleaning Story

Posted by Amanda Bunch on Dec 11, 2017 9:24:01 AM
Ever wonder how precision cleaning using CO2 got started? How did a natural gas like CO2 get turned into a high tech cleaning process that services Aerospace, Medical, Optical, Microelectronic and Hard Disk Drive markets? Several important factors have influenced and ignited the need for cleanliness in manufacturing such as: concern for the environment, economic competitiveness and technology.



1990's CFC Phase-Out

Alternative Precision Cleaning

According to Mark Skaer in an article entitled The 1990s: The Decade of Refrigerant Chaos - and Change, "The 1990's was termed decade of refrigerant chaos and change. Cooling was a hot and heavy subject debated throughout the entire world this past decade. The original protocol called for a 50% reduction in chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) chemical production by 1998. The refrigerants used in well over 95% of the world’s systems were to be eventually phased out during the decade of the 90s. Engineers, wholesalers, contractors, and mechanics were all affected. So were system manufacturers, chemical producers, and component manufacturers (theNews,"

In the 1990s, manufacturing of industrial and commercial products were significantly impacted by the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) phase-out. During this time, alternative precision cleaning practices (new and old, wet and dry) were widely investigated. Many manufacturing companies were looking for a cooling replacement that did not affect ozone depletion, maximized energy efficiency and had recycling practices. 

New dry cleaning alternatives emerged, including centrifugal liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) degreasing, CO2 snow, CO2 composite spray, laser and plasma. CO2 was considered an alternative method due to its properties that could be used as a cooling/refrigerant agent. However, due to the maturity, widespread availability, and knowledge of aqueous cleaning equipment and processes at the time, industry predominantly changed to wet (aqueous) cleaning practices.

Aqueous cleaning did resolve the immediate cleaning problem however, with it came a vast amount of costs: equipment maintenance, bath monitoring and maintenance, drying processes, deionized water production, wastewater management, rust and corrosion prevention, larger factory space utilization and increased labor burden. Product designs and assembly procedures suitable for CFC cleaning processes required transformation to overcome aqueous cleaning constraints such as water entrapment, drying and potential corrosion. There was also an increased piece part cleaning and drying operations prior to assembly. Therefore, the quick fix proved to be costly and manufacturers were open to looking at other technologies that cleaned as good or better than aqueous processes at lower production costs.

New Dry Cleaning

Using CO2 to clean

CO2 performed in many ways similar to dry CFC solvent spray processes and could clean applications such as optical assemblies, wire bonded assemblies, sensors and data storage devices. These markets were some of the first commercial applications CO2 technology could clean with success and could present cost savings to compete with wet processes. CO2 composite sprays are unlike other snow guns in that the sprays are relatively lean and warm with much smaller fractions of microscopic CO2 particles uniformly dispersed in a heated propellant gas, which creates better surface preparation. In these instances, wet processes could not be considered due to material compatibility, cleaning efficacy or assembly procedure constraints.

As we entered the new century, companies began concerning themselves with sustainability and pressure to reduce manufacturing wastes, improve productivity, lower production costs, achieve zero discharge of pollutants into the environment and maximize water conversion. With all of these factors, a need for a new way of cleaning in manufacturing grew. There was a conflict with the new "green and lean" manufacturing model with wet cleaning practices. Also, water resource availability has supplanted upper atmospheric ozone depletion concerns and is a major issue in many manufacturing sectors.

Between the 1990s to present day the CO2 composite spray "dry" technology developed and evolved into the marketplace just as companies was growing a need for it. What the technology offered now was not just a cleaning solution but also a return on investment that has now become a waste management platform for the manufacturing industry. Precision cleaning with CO2 over time proved significant cost-of-ownership, environmental, and performance benefits compared to conventional aqueous and solvent-based alternatives. Many manufacturing companies are implementing CO2 composite spray cleaning technology within their production operations, attracted by the technologies features, benefits, and integration possibilities.


CO2 Composite Spray Evolution Timeline

The CO2 technology invented, patented and improved by CleanLogix over the last 30 years and has become the foundation and standard for everything precision cleaning and/or machining within the manufacturing industry. The spray quality and efficiency has journeyed from archaic SnowGun and Thermal Ionized Gas (TIG) which produced an inconsistent and sputtering spray, to CO2 Composite Spray with more consistency and adjustable cleaning capacity using between 8-12lbs/hr of CO2, to the latest rendition called Vector Pro CO2 Composite Spray that outputs smaller fractions of microscopic CO2 particles uniformly dispersed in a heated propellant gas, which creates better surface preparation and using between 2-8lbs/hr of CO2. The CO2 technology over the years has improved in value for both cleaning capacity and production costs.


The Future of CO2 Cooling

"The most common HCFC in use today is HCFC-22 or R-22, a refrigerant still used in existing air conditioners and refrigeration equipment (EPA," Most HCFCs like R-22 will be phased out by 2020. What does this mean for CO2 cleaning? CO2 is a replacement for refrigerant opportunities for CO2 technology uses and applications. The reduction in CFCs has and will only benefit the need for CO2 technology in the coming future applications where cleaning and cooling is needed.

The Food Techno Engineering Company is a recent example of how this reduction of R-22 is impacting companies. The Food Techno Engineering Company has opened a research laboratory to test cutting edge transcritical CO2 refrigeration systems to push the development of CO2 technology forward in the food-manufacturing sector. CO2 refrigerant is now considered equivalent to HFCs. FTE has designed a booster unit to recover waste heat and is equipped with an air-cooled gas cooler and water-cooled gas cooler (R744,"



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Topics: CO2 Cleaning

3 Ways To Use CO2 Composite Spray

Posted by Amanda Bunch on Nov 6, 2017 12:31:50 PM

Looking for a new way to precision clean your application?

Precision cleaning with CO2 provides significant cost-of-ownership, environmental and performance benefits. Precision cleaning is an important component of a contamination control program that includes product handling and packaging, controlled environments, ESD control, and proper operator practices.



CO2 Spray Cleaning

Alternative Precision Cleaning

First generation CO2 spray cleaning alternatives were introduced in the 1990s and found early adoption in applications involving specialized devices such as optical assemblies, wire bonded assemblies, sensors, and data storage devices. Companies are always trying to reduce manufacturing waste, improve productivity, lower production costs, achieve zero discharge of pollutants into the environment and maximize water conservation. The current industry "green" need was in conflict with wet cleaning practices and thus the need for dry cleaning technology emerged.

CO2 composite spray is neither a snow gun nor spray nozzle, but rather a system of several integrated components and processes for forming and applying a spray cleaning composition. CO2 composite spray provides a stable and consistent surface cleaning performance. This technology aides in elmination of water usage and wastewater, a lower carbon footprint, and improved worker safety.


Application and Performance

Versatile Technology

A CO2 composite spray process is similar to conventional CO2 pellet or ice blasting used in industrial cleaning applications, but on a smaller and more precise scale. CO2 composite sprays are relatively lean and warm with much smaller fractions of microscopic CO2 particles uniformly dispersed in a heated propellant gas. The heated propellant gas mixes with the cold CO2 particles to produce an increase in thrust. The result is a highly energetic cleaning spray that does not cause surfaces to become wet during application. COcomposite spray may also be also be used with other cleaning process additives such as atmospheric plasma, laser, and trace organic compounds to provide a robust surface treatment platform.

Applications using this technology are automotive, aircraft, aerospace, computer hard disk drive and medical device markets. The adoption of CO2 composite spray has been proven for applications where both cleanliness and production objectives must be achieved.

CO2 Composite Spray can be applied three ways:

1. Precision Clean - combines the cleaning (or cooling) power of microscopic crystals of solid carbon dioxide with patented coaxial jet spray cleaning processes to effectively remove contaminants (i.e., particles, thin films, heat) from the exterior or exposed surfaces of a product (or tool).

2. Cool Lubrication - utilize various combinations ionized fluids, oxygenated machining lubricants (Triox™) and CO2 – formulated and applied in-situ and as-needed to improve the productivity and economics of challenging machining applications.

3. Surface Preparation - appropriate surface preparation is the essential first step to provide consistent and reliable adhesive or cohesive bond strength. Major bonding elements comprise substrate, adhesive, bondline surface area and (for adhesive joining) joint design.

New Generation Technology

Back To The Future

In the latest evolution of the CO2 composite spray technology, CO2 is converted into a supersaturated fluid and crystallized using a patented micronizing process to form energetic and microscopic CO2 particles having 2x higher density when compared to the 1990s spray. Precision cleaning with CO2 provides significant cost-ownership, environmental, and performance benefits compared to conventional aqueous and solvent-based alternatives.

Many manufacturing companies are implementing CO2 composite spray cleaning technology within their production operations due to the technology's featues, benefits and integration possibilities.

Ready for next steps? Try our free CO2 Consultation.


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Topics: CO2 Composite Spray

Contamination Control: Let CO2 Do The Work For You

Posted by Amanda Bunch on Sep 20, 2017 1:49:05 PM

Looking for a new innovative way to control your manufacturing contamination challenge?

Particles and other residues that accumulate on precision assemblies and support equipment during manufacturing processes must be removed to prevent yield loss. Precision cleaning is needed at various stages to control particle and other residue burden.




The Importance of Contamination Control

Manufacturing Environment

According to Jeffrey Becker in an article entitled Implementing A Contamination Control Program, "As science progresses, the demand for cleanrooms in bio-tech, pharmaceutical, medical device, semiconductor, and nanotechnology continue to grow. As the demand for these controlled environments increases, it becomes more and more critical to develop and implement effective contamination control programs. The purpose of these programs is to ensure that any material, substance, or energy that adversely affects the product or process is eliminated, or at least, minimize to safe levels (CE Magazine,"

There are many factors to consider for precision cleaning and inspection operations within a cleanroom-based manufacturing process flow. Particles and residues generated during assembly and test processes accumulate on the support equipment and can transfer to subassemblies during handling, which can lead to product quality problems.  There is a need for a new way of cleaning high reliability products during manufacturing that reduces or eliminates this type of surface contamination.


CO2  for Precision Manufacturing

An Integrated Workflow

For an automated dry cleaning system to be acceptable, it must demonstrate high reliability, high throughput, and excellent cleaning performance at a reasonable cost. CO2 Composite Spray™ is a proven strategy for improving particle and residue cleanliness and reducing particle and residue burden.

Cleaning complex support equipment or precision assemblies can require multiple off-line operations including disassembly, removal from the cleanroom, return to the cleanroom, reassembly and calibration. In addition, some operations require processes that are batched, precision cleaned, dried and returned to the manufacturing line. Cleanroom atmospheres contain water vapor, organics, salts, and particles. These airborne contaminants can be deposited onto surfaces of critical support fixtures and assemblies being cleaned. All of these procedures are disruptive to product flow and create an additional contamination burden.

Hence, properly designed carbon dioxide cleaning systems with inert atmospheres in clean cabinets can be very effective for cleaning precision parts without having to disrupt operation flow. Carbon dioxide cleaning has unique capabilities such as CO2 conservation and control, spray impact energy control, elimination of local surface condensation and easier adaptability to automation equipment. All these factors make this technology ideal for controlling contamination in a manufacturing setting. These CO2 systems and methods adapt to cleanroom manufacturing assembly lines, production equipment, processes and can decrease maintenance burden without damage to support hardware.


Ready for next steps? Try our free CO2 Consultation.



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Topics: CO2 Cleaning, CO2 Precision Cleaning, contamination control

CO2 Reduces or Eliminates Manufacturing Waste

Posted by Amanda Bunch on Aug 10, 2017 2:23:04 PM

In an era of complex business challenges; intense global competitiveness, burdensome environmental regulation and resource constraints, companies need both lean and green (clean) manufacturing technology to eliminate multifaceted manufacturing wastes in production operations.

All forms of manufacturing waste significantly impact profitability. So why let these preventable wastes steal your company's hard-earned profits?



Conventional Manufacturing

What is Manufacturing Waste?

Manufacturing waste is any resource used in a production process that does not go out as part of the product or is unnecessarily used (or misused) to produce a product. Manufacturing waste is defined differently for every business, however, it has the same underlining message. If the process is non-value adding and costs you money but earns nothing for your business then it is a waste.



 Eight Deadly Wastes of Manufacturing

There are eight major forms of manufacturing waste that impact manufacturing profitability.  Manufacturing wastes include for example lost time, high energy usage, excessive labor, poor product quality, low productivity, too much factory space, scrap, and stock levels.  These wastes steal company profits. To stay competitive, companies must implement programs that reduce or eliminate these wastes.


Overproduction waste is costly to a manufacturing operation because it prohibits the smooth flow of materials and degrades quality and productivity. Motion waste processing time and is a health and safety concern. Defect wastes have a direct impact on the bottom line, resulting in rework or scrap which are a tremendous cost burden to an organization. Transport waste is excessive movement and handling which causes damage and defects and can cause product quality to deteriorate. Environmental waste such as energy or water use, solid or hazardous waste, air pollution, or chemical hazards are typically overlooked when in fact they impact the bottom line and surrounding communities. Inventory waste tends to hide other waste generation activities on the plant floor, which must be identified and resolved in order to improve operating performance (and cash flows). Waiting waste is whenever goods are not moving or being processed and a product lead-time is tied up – time is money. Processing waste is using expensive high-precision equipment or processes where smaller footprint, more flexible, and less precision equipment and processes can combine steps which would be more efficient – the enemy of good enough is better than.


Lean and Green Manufacturing

CO2 Technology is the New Manufacturing Model

“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.” – Shigeo Shingo (source: Newcastle Systems Blog)

The manufacturing waste radar chart (shown right) illustrates an exemplary manufacturing waste generation transformation (Old versus New state) using our CO2-based clean manufacturing technology.  Notice that the area bounded by the various waste generation activities becomes smaller with the implementation of clean manufacturing methods and processes.  Smaller waste generation activity represents a cost reduction or profit improvement for the transformed production process, tool, or line.

Our CO2-based clean manufacturing technology provides the following benefits:

  • Simultaneously eliminates or reduces composite forms of manufacturing waste: time, labor, space, transport, defect, inventory, processing, equipment, raw materials, air pollution, water pollution, wastewater, solid waste, and energy waste.
  • Improves quality and reliability requirements imposed by advanced materials, manufacturing methods and processes, and applications.
  • Uses flexible automation, modular and clustered assembly operations (cells) to eliminate repetitive operational task errors and reduce skilled labor wastes.
  • Adaptable to production tools, lines, and processes to improve efficiency and productivity in variable-volume, high-mix, and high-value production operations.
  • Flexible and scalable to changes in production needs over time.
  • Intelligent, autonomous, and capable of communicating key information in real time that enhances manufacturing quality, timeliness, and productivity.
  • Produces a low cost-of-operation and good return-on-investment.

The lean and green clean manufacturing model using CO2 technology combines advanced surface cleaning, surface cooling, and surface modification technologies and robotics technology to provide multi-tasking manufacturing processes for a production line, in a manufacturing tool, or within a reconfigurable cell.

As shown in the exemplary comparison on the right, the clean manufacturing model provides the basis for huge returns in the form of less labor inputs, less space, less energy usage, less time waste, less water usage, among many other waste reductions.





Ready for next steps? Try our free CO2 Consultation.


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Topics: Manufacturing Wastes

Why Is Surface Preparation Something To Care About?

Posted by Amanda Bunch on Jun 22, 2017 9:54:13 PM

You may be asking yourself what does surface preparation have to do with CO2?

Appropriate surface preparation is the essential first step in providing consistent and reliable adhesive or cohesive bond strength.  In preparation of bonding surfaces, precision cleaning is required to achieve a high degree of surface cleanliness. Surface cleanliness is the absence of foreign materials deposited on bonding surfaces.

Conventional surface treatment options for joining substrates pose different constraints in terms cost of ownership, environmental compliance, and performance. Carbon dioxide (CO2) based processing alternatives offer an effective, eco-friendly and robust platform for preparing many types of substrates surfaces for numerous medical, aerospace, automobile, ophthalmic and microelectronic bonding applications.



Conventional Surface Preparation

How Clean is Clean?

Removing contaminants such as fingerprints, particles, manufacturing process residues, vapors, machining oils, loosely adhering oxides and other surface contaminant layers are crucial for creating a surface for bonding.

Conventional industrial cleaning techniques pose various constraints that allow for product damage, contamination, materials wastes and not many are adaptable to automated manufacturing tools. Bonding technologies are numerous and include: adhesive bonding, mechanical fastening, laser welding, soldering, brazing, acoustic bonding, diffusion bonding, isothermal solidification bonding, transient liquid phase bonding, exothermic bonding, dip coating and thermal spray coating.

Hence, there is a need to have a more comprehensive surface treatment process that can address contamination challenges using one method as opposed to secondary treatments.


The CO2 Factor

Why is bonding essential?

There are various industries that require strong joints or durable surface adherents such as paints and coatings that can survive challenging environments such as pressure, strain, heat, cold, UV, ozone, steam, moisture and the human body. CO2 surface treatment technology provides robust bond line surface preparation using numerous singular and hybridized treatments which are completely dry, selective, safe for the environment and easily adapted or integrated with new and existing manufacturing processes, tools, lines and automation.




Manufacturing a strong bond

Manufacturing a strong bonding surface requires three aspects:

1. Maximize mechanical interlocking - increase the surface roughness in order to physically anchor bond between adhesive and surface.

2. Matching cohesion energy - degree of cohesion energy matches the adhesive with surface to create a highly wettable bond.

3. Increasing surface absorption and reactivity - surfaces should have sites that are polar or contain chemistries for the adhesive reaction.

CO2 Surface Treatment Technology

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) based surface treatment technology can manufacture a consistent and reliable bond surface and address the various limitations of conventional cleaning and modification processes for bonding.

 Precision CO2 cleans surfaces to remove hydrocarbon and silicone oil films, particles, and loose oxide layers, provides selective spray or bulk immersion treatments and pre-cleans surfaces for more uniform and effective atmospheric plasma surface activation.





There are three CO2 processes that precision clean surfaces for bonding:

  1. CO2 Composite Spray Treatments - CO2 composite sprays provide precise control of spray cleaning energy both mechanical scouring and chemical cleaning power. CO2 composite sprays are very useful for delicate substrate surfaces such as thin metallic or polymeric coatings, or surfaces containing fragile mechanical features. 
  2. Centrifugal CO2 Immersion-Extraction Treatments - Centrifugal CO2 immersion treatment techniques utilize liquid or supercritical CO2 to remove both external surface and internal subsurface contaminants and are also used in cooperation with other dry techniques such as UV/Ozone, vacuum plasma and eco-friendly additive chemistries.
  3. CO2 Hybrid Treatments - the surface scouring and solvent cleaning actions of a CO2 composite spray are used in cooperation with atmospheric plasma CO2 to form a process called CO2 particle-plasma cleaning. The CO2 composite spray controls surface temperature and cleanliness working with plasma to simultaneously remove debris and excess heat from the treated surface.


Ready for next steps? Try our free CO2 Consultation.


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CO2 Tech Pioneers

We set the bar

For over the past 30 years, CleanLogix LLC has been the forerunner of CO2 technology exploring all facets and propelling technological evolutions. Our technology portfolio is the only of its kind, offering a breath and depth of CO2 spray, immersion and particle-plasma patents that has in turn created multiple product platforms.


  • Over 30 years experience
  • CO2 eliminates manufacturing wastes
  • CO2 is the solution for your contamination challenges


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