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When To Avoid Universal Cleaners In Precision Parts Cleaning

To save money, cleaning process managers might consider a universal formulation an acceptable tradeoff. We couldn’t disagree more. No universal cleaner offers the results that equipment-specific formulations do.

This is why Brulin optimizes most of our parts cleaning line for either immersion/ultrasonic or spray wash processes. Our detergents not only perform well in the typical cleaning performance measures (such as soil removal, tank life, and material compatibility) but also make full use of the capabilities of the cleaning equipment being used.

A properly operating ultrasonic cleaner can improve cleaning performance significantly: an optimized cleaner enhances performance even more. Brulin’s Immersion & Ultrasonic line is made with this in mind: our chemistry optimizes the transmission of ultrasonic cavitation through the fluid, directing energy toward effective soil removal.

On the other hand, Brulin’s products used for spray washing (and other heavily agitated processes) are optimized to limit foaming. Using a universal cleaner in either process has negative results: with ultrasonic cleaners, cavitation is suboptimal: with spray wash cleaners, universal formulations often cause excess foam, which can contaminate your rinse water.

The Right Aqueous Detergent Makes All the Difference

Some parts cleaners prefer a specific cleaner regardless of the process. The market is there for universal cleaners, so why has Brulin focused on specialized aqueous detergents instead? It’s all about results.

All cleaner formulations, even universal ones, are optimized for specific applications. For example, an aggressive cleaner with vigorous soil removal might cause corrosion on delicate substrates. That’s not optimal and could be prevented by matching the formulation more closely to the process.

We consider universal aqueous detergents to be too much of a compromise with too much potential for suboptimal results. The latter is especially problematic in high-precision cleaning applications. Your clients depend on you to deliver a clean, unblemished part. Even though it’s cheaper, using a universal detergent might cost you more in the end.

Immersion & Ultrasonic Aqueous Detergents

Ultrasonic cleaning is highly effective in removing particulate and stubborn soils on more intricate parts with uneven surfaces, while immersion cleaning is useful for parts with more even surfaces. Since both are low cavitation processes, the same chemistry can be used for both.

Brulin’s ultrasonic products, including AquaVantage 815 GD, were developed with immersion and particularly immersion ultrasonic equipment in mind. The aim was to optimize ultrasonic cavitation.

The results speak for themselves. Several independent studies have found that the cavitational energy of Brulin’s ultrasonic line is much more effective in soil removal than our competitors. Our optimized formulations allow other specifications to be relaxed, including cleaners with milder chemical characteristics, reduced temperature and processing time, and more.

Spray Cleaning Aqueous Detergents

Spray-cleaning formulations are designed to give excellent cleaning and very low foam characteristics in a heavily agitated process. They should also use spray impingement of the detergent on soiled part surfaces.

Aqueous detergents designed for low agitation (immersion) will foam too much in spray wash applications. On the other hand, products designed for high agitation applications (spray wash) can be used in immersion but generally with suboptimal ultrasonic performance.

Does Brulin Offer Any Universal Cleaners?

Yes, but these are primarily suitable for immersion with high agitation forces or spray wash applications with relatively low pressures.  There will be performance tradeoffs which may or may not be an issue if using these hybrid detergents outside the above applications.

Cleaning Equipment Choice Matters, Too

Different cleaning equipment technologies exist because each has its distinct advantages.

  • Spray wash performs best on parts with large areas accessible to direct impingement but should not be used for small parts with blind holes and passages.
  • Immersion ultrasonic is better for small parts with blind holes and passages but is much less efficient with large parts because of the power required.
  • Immersion with turbulation or other heavy agitation works best on parts with large areas and holes accessible to recirculating water. However, large flat parts that can impede the movement of cleaner, which may cause parts to move and collide during the cleaning process.

Just as a parts processor should choose the equipment technology that best suits his parts, he should also look for the cleaner technology that best suits the selected equipment.

How Brulin Can Help

Our specially formulated aqueous cleaners are developed for a broad range of applications. Our AquaVantage® 815GD used in immersion and ultrasonic cleaning is relied upon in many industries. AquaVantage® 1990 GD also boasts an unrivaled combination of cleanability, material compatibility, and recyclability for spray wash and rotary basket applications.

No matter the cleaning need, Brulin has the right chemistry to meet your needs and operational objectives.

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