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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.

 

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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, http://bit.ly/2AH8Ygx)."

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, http://bit.ly/2a6dx8e)." 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, http://bit.ly/2kfW16t)."

 

 

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Topics: Manufacturing Wastes, CO2 Cleaning, CO2 Precision Cleaning, CO2 Immersion, CO2 Composite Spray

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.

 

   DOWNLOAD CERAMIC INDUSTRY MAGAZINE PUBLISHED ARTICLE NOV 2016

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.

REQUEST A CO2 CONSULTATION

Read More

Topics: CO2 Cleaning, CO2 Precision Cleaning, CO2 Composite Spray

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.

Remember:

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

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