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3 Ways To Use CO2 Immersion

Posted by Amanda Bunch on Mar 12, 2018 8:31:00 AM

Precision cleaning requires CO2 technology that provides improved performance, productivity, environmental quality and economics, all while adapting to rapidly evolving device manufacturing technology. CO2 technology has been used primarily as a means for increasing the cleanliness of components, assemblies, tools and fixtures to increase both capacity and quality. However, arguably more significant, CO2 technology has proven itself to be a means for reducing the cost and improving the productivity of manufacturing high volume and high reliability products. In response to new manufacturing pressures, solvent-based cleaning processes have re-emerged to prevent malfunctions in high-reliability or high-power applications, necessitating a green process solution.

A precision cleaning technology called centrifugal CO2 cleaning combines unique centrifugal dry washing and rinsing processes using specially formulated high-boiling solvents such as citrus terpenes and paraffins with recycled carbon dioxide in a tunable cleaning solvent system.

Let's look at the 3 ways CO2 immersion is used and tested.






1. Precision Cleaning

Precision cleaning trends caused a change in solvent cleaning practices in the 1990's. New environmental concerns and legislative agendas regarding climate change, water and energy conservation shaped the new precision cleaning imperatives for the future. Complex devices such as flip-chip assemblies, disk drives, parts with micro-machined features, composite materials, bioabsorbable polymers, and partially assembled devices had a cleaning need that could not be solved with traditional methods.

In the early 1990s, the first generation Centrifugal CO2 cleaning systems were introduced as an alternative to ozone-depleting substances. This process was adopted faster for high-tech industrial applications. This new process proved to be as good or better than comparable cleaning processes and overcame weak solvent power. Centrifugal CO2 cleaning technology provided significant improvements in productivity, environmental quality, and cost of ownership of their precision cleaning operations.

Liquid CO2 is more suited as a solvent for less complex contamination but very effective for penetrating complex substrate geometries. CO2 is also an excellent drying or rinsing agent (as a solvent) for more powerful washing agents such as a high-boiling solvent (HBS). Using this unique solvent scheme, a range of wash-rinse cohesion energies, solvent powers, viscosities and surface tensions can be employed to address many different types of challenging (and more general) device cleaning applications. CO2 technology offers manufacturers, component suppliers and assembly equipment OEMs new techniques to retool their factories and equipment for clean production.

2. Outgassing - Extraction

For outgas cleaning involving certain polymers and applications, an optimal vacuum degas step is employed to remove residual adsorbed CO2 gas. All CO2 process fluids are automatically transferred and recovered using an integrated fluids management and recycling subsystem.

Centrifugal CO2 systems combine centrifugation, ultrasonics, exclusive CO2-expanded and/or optional O3-loaded prewash agents, liquid carbon dioxide, and optional downstream plasma post-processing with energy-efficient fluids recycling and reuse in a single system.  This system is the most capable precision cleaning platform available today and uses only environmentally safe and non-toxic cleaning agents. The parts washing chamber is a top-loading basket centrifuge with a manual or automatic closure.  The system includes fluids distillation, re-circulating spray-under-immersion, and clean fluid storage.  


3. Reusable CO2

The CO2 expanded HBS wash system separates, cleans and recovers carbon dioxide, HBS and contaminants using phase separation and microfiltration. The recovered CO2 is transferred into both the gross rinse tank and final rinse tank for reuse. The system is capable of recovering more than 95% of the CO2 for reuse. Centrifugal CO2 cleaning is a great substitute for traditional solvent and aqueous processes with bio-based agents reduces pollution, conserves energy and eliminates manufacturing wastes.


Why Centrifugal CO2 Immersion Cleaning?

1. Fully developed cleaning technology that provides a number of unique process benefits.

2. 100% dry cleaning (and rinsing).

3. Bio-based cleaning chemistries.

4. Extremely low surface tensions and viscosities.

5. Solvent cleaning power control.

6. Reduces waste generation and operational costs by eliminating the need for water, waste-water treatment, water recycling and drying with a smaller footprint.

7. Environmental safety and lower energy demand.

8. Develops unique cleaning solutions for the most demanding substrate-contaminant combinations.


Ready for next steps? Try our free CO2 Consultation.


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Topics: Surface Preparation, CO2 Cleaning, CO2 Precision Cleaning, CO2 Immersion, CO2 Composite Spray, CO2 Technology, Centrifugal CO2

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 for the 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,"

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

CO2 was considered an alternative method due to many attractive properties enabling its use as a cleaning agent. New dry cleaning alternatives emerged, including centrifugal liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) degreasing, CO2 snow, CO2 composite spray, laser and plasma. 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.

More recently, companies are concerning themselves with sustainability.  They are under pressure to reduce manufacturing wastes, improve productivity, lower production costs, achieve zero discharge of pollutants into the environment, and maximize water conversion.  As such, there is a need for leaner and greener methods of cleaning during manufacturing.

However, conflicts exist between the "green and lean" manufacturing model with wet cleaning practices.  For example, wet practices use a lot of energy and space.  Also, water resource availability has supplanted upper atmospheric ozone depletion concerns and is a major issue in many manufacturing sectors.

Since the 1990s, precision cleaning with CO2 has demonstrated significant cost-of-ownership, environmental, and performance benefits compared to conventional aqueous and solvent-based alternatives.  CO2 Composite Spray™ technology has evolved and emerged as a mature and bullet-proof precision cleaning technique.  This spray technology offered today provides a significant manufacturing waste reduction strategy and an attractive return-on-investment.  Many manufacturing companies are implementing CO2 composite spray cleaning technology within their production operations, attracted by its many attractive features, benefits, and integration possibilities.

CO2 Composite Spray Evolution Timeline

CO2 composite spray technology was invented and patented by David Jackson, President and CEO of CleanLogix LLC, in the early 1990s.  Since that time, we have steadily evolved and improved the technology.  The latest version of the technology, Vector Pro™, provides the highest performance and best economy to date, and is the foundation for countless precision cleaning and hard machining opportunities in the manufacturing industry.  The spray quality and efficiency of our Vector Pro spray technology has journeyed far from the initial Snow Spray technologies of the 90’s.  CO2 composite sprays are highly stable and provide adjustable cleaning capacity.  


Ready for next steps? Try our free CO2 Consultation.


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

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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