Petroleum Solvent: A Good Option for Auto Shop Parts Washers?

The auto repair industry uses petroleum-based preparations to lubricate parts and formulate fuel for vehicles. Consequently, auto repair shops encounter a high level of petroleum accumulations that must be removed from repairable auto components and tools used to repair them. Often, the most efficient way to clean both objects is placing them in an enclosed parts washing system that removes petroleum coatings.

Is a Petroleum Solvent the Best Option?

Traditionally, auto repair shops that use parts washing machines for removing petroleum buildup use one of two types of cleaning solvents: chlorinated solvents or petroleum solvents. The former have a relatively well-known list of disadvantages you may already be familiar with, including:

  • Further contamination of waste with chlorinated agents, increasing waste removal cost
  • Emitting vapors that can be toxic if inhaled
  • Regulations limiting use, particularly in low emission zones (LEZs)

To avoid these and other drawbacks of using a chlorinated solvent in parts washers, some auto shops use a petroleum solvent instead. Most types of petroleum solvent don’t involve the waste removal expense of chlorinated solvents. Even so, they have some significant drawbacks of their own, such as:

  • Emitting vapors that can be toxic if inhaled
  • Fast evaporation, making it hard to control worker exposure
  • Oily residue requiring an additional cleaning
  • High flammability

Using a parts washing system without chlorinated and petroleum solvents can place auto repair shops in a difficult position, especially when they’re accustomed to using one or both of these types of solvents as a go-to cleaner. What type of solvent could they use instead?

Benefits of Acetone Solvent

One alternative is using acetone or an acetone blend whose ingredients have the same traits as acetone in terms of toxicity, efficacy, and waste removal. A powerful degreaser in the right formulation, acetone is a naturally occurring chemical compound that’s non-toxic and non-carcinogenic — two qualities that aren’t associated with chlorinated and petroleum solvent.

In addition, acetone is highly affordable to purchase and use. It won’t boost your chemical waste disposal bill. And its formulation is non-toxic enough that acetone can even be ingested without fatal results, although you would probably have a whopping case of upset stomach.

Acetone and Your Parts Washer

Because acetone works well as a degreaser, and auto shops use parts washers for degreasing, acetone can be a viable replacement for chlorinated solvent and petroleum solvent. First, though, ensure your parts washer would accommodate acetone or an acetone blend. If so, using acetone may offer a safer, less expensive way to degrease auto parts and tools than using a petroleum solvent.

About Ecolink

Ecolink is a supplier of environmentally safe and environmentally preferred parts cleaning solvents for a variety of parts washers. We provide both stock and custom solutions, and supply free samples so you can see the results of a solvent before you place an order.

To explore acetone options for your parts washer, call us today at 800-563-1305, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to supporting your cleaning needs!             




Solvent Based Parts Washers: What Are the Advantages?

There are many makes and models of parts washers, with each having its own appearance and special features and capabilities. But before you start looking at the finer points of a parts washer, it’s important to decide which type of machine you need based on how it uses the cleaning agent: a solvent based parts washer or an aqueous based parts washer.

Solvent Based vs. Aqueous Based

Solvent based parts washers use a cleaner that has a solvent base. The solvent in the cleaner dissolves two or more ingredients to create a homogenous cleaner that is typically used without heat. Aqueous based parts washers, on the other hand, use water to dissolve detergent, and apply heat to aid with solvent dispersal and cleaning action. This is why parts washers that use aqueous based cleaners are often called “hot tank” washers, while those using solvent based cleaners are often known as “cold tank” washers.

Now that we’ve looked at the basic differences between aqueous and solvent based parts washers, let’s look at three key advantages of using solvent based parts washers.

  1. Can be More Energy Efficient

Because cold tank washers don’t use heat to facilitate solvent distribution or cleaning action, they often use less energy than hot tank washers, which heat up and maintain a stable temperature during washing. Whether you’re concerned about energy efficiency for cost reasons, impact on the environment, or both, a solvent based washer may be your best option.

  1. Can be More Solvent Efficient

Some solvent based parts washers are designed for solvent recycling (e.g., recycling vapor degreaser). The solvent condensates in a special unit, free of the soils it just removed. Then, the recycled solvent returns to the basin where it was first applied. This allows you to use a single application of the solvent for two or more more parts washing sessions.

  1. Can Perform Cleaning Faster

For users who need to clean a low volume of parts on a periodic basis, the speed of a parts washer may be of little concern. However, industrial organizations that have a high volume of parts to clean to perform at any given time are naturally concerned about speed. Solvent based parts washers that don’t use heat often have a cycle that’s faster than the cycle of an aqueous based parts washing system.

Need Parts Washer Solvent?

If so, Ecolink has several environmentally preferred solutions that are suitable as drop-in replacements for your current solvent. In addition to providing a dynamic line of stock solvents, we produce custom formulations that are tailored to the needs of unique users. Before you order one of our solvents, request a free sample so you can see how it works, with no obligation to buy.

If you’re ready to place an order, or you need assistance selecting a solvent, please call us today at 800-563-1305, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to providing a powerful, eco friendly solvent for your solvent based parts washing system!

Stainless Steel Parts Cleaners: Preparing for Heat Treatment

Stainless steel is an alloy that contains at least 10.5% of chromium by mass. Chromium is a chemical compound that gives stainless steel is shiny quality. Chromium is also highly corrosion resistant at normal temperatures, supplying the steel with its “stainless” quality. Depending on the grade of the steel, nickel may also contribute to the alloy’s shine and corrosion resistance.

Preparing for Heat Treatment

Stainless steel’s attractive appearance, excellent dimensional stability, and general corrosion resistance give it many aesthetic and utilitarian uses. Precision parts for various types of equipment are made from the alloy. Freeing them of accumulations (a.k.a. coatings) with stainless steel parts cleaners — particularly in preparation for heat treating — is the focus of this entry.

Before cleaners are selected, it’s important to determine exactly what’s needed to remove the coatings in question. Because chromium readily oxidizes at high temperatures when oxygen is present, stainless steel is heat treated in an oxygen-free furnace atmosphere. However, surface oxidation can occur even in non-oxygen furnace environments when coatings are left in place.

Properly Removing Coatings

Most stainless steel parts require stainless steel parts cleaners that remove coatings of grease, dirt, oil residue, and other common soils that accumulate on parts in industrial work settings. However, you occasionally encounter a coating that a solvent can’t be remove, such as rust resulting from pitting damage that has penetrated the surface of the metal.

If rust were at the metal’s surface, you could one of our eco friendly rust removers to get rid of it. But a deeper accumulation of rust needs to be grinded or sandblasted way, and the area from which it was removed should be buffed until it has the surface consistency of the remainder of the part. Then, stainless steel parts cleaners can be applied to remove lighter coatings that would oxidize in the furnace, such as paint, decals, and the coatings mentioned above.

Flux Residue Remover Necessary?

Unless the parts you must clean are too large to fit inside the heat treating furnace, you won’t apply flux to the metal before placing it in the furnace. The furnace presumably maintains a pure hydrogen / nitrogen atmosphere to prevent chromium from oxidizing. Consequently, no flux is needed to prevent oxidation. This means there is no need to invest in a flux residue remover.

On the other hand, if the parts are too large for the furnace, and they are heat treated in open air with a high-powered torch, flux would be applied to any section of the part that could reach the temperature for the “transformation point” of chromium — the point at which the microstructure of chromium’s surface layer starts to transform into a stable layer of oxide.

Need to Clean Stainless Steel?

If so, Ecolink has stainless steel parts cleaners that may be right for your needs, depending on the grade of the steel and the kind of coatings / soils you need to remove. If one of our stock cleaners isn’t the perfect fit, we can formulate a custom solution that is. To get started on selecting a cleaner for stainless steel, call us today at 800-563-1305, or use our contact form. We look forward to supplying environmentally preferred stainless steel parts cleaners!

Hot Tank Parts Washers: Commonly Asked Questions

An industrial parts washer is a significant investment. Consequently, first-time buyers often have questions concerning which kind of parts washing system they should target: a hot tank parts washer or a cold tank parts washer. The answer depends on the parts washing needs and goals of the user.

In this entry, we focus on commonly asked questions about hot tank parts washers to help you decide if they’re a good option for your parts washing requirements.

  1. Are hot tank parts washers the same as aqueous based parts washers?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Hot tank parts washers are typically aqueous based parts washers. This is because aqueous parts washing cleaners require hot water to dissolve the cleaning detergent — a combined process that produces the stringent cleaning action.

  1. What method of operation does a hot tank parts washer use to clean parts?

Each model is a different regarding construction and features, but hot tank washers generally operate in the following way: water and detergent are combined with heat to dissolve the detergent, then the parts washer performs a mechanical action often compared to a dish washer’s. The type of detergent used and length of the wash cycle determine the end result.

  1. Do hot tank parts washers make parts cleaner than cold tank washers?

It depends on what type of accumulation you need to remove. Cold tank washers generally use solvent based cleaners, which are designed to deliver chemical cleaning power without the need for heat; while hot tank washers use detergent that requires heat to achieve good efficacy. The goal is to match the parts cleaning job with the proper parts washer and cleaning agent.

  1. Do hot tank washers use the jet spray process or power wash process?

Hot tank washers use jet spray action or power wash action. The process used impacts the type of detergent used, how much detergent is used, the temperature to which water is heated, and the mechanical energy produced to perform the jet spray or power wash function.

  1. Does jet spray action offer better cleaning than power wash, or vice versa?

Wikipedia provides a succinct answer: “The power wash process is superior to the jet spray process for faster, more thorough parts cleaning cycles while minimizing detergent use and waste generation. The power wash process is generally effective for difficult soil removal applications, such as burnt hydrocarbons, paint, scale, varnish, carbon, mastic, or rubber.”

  1. Why should I purchase solvents for a hot tank parts washer from Ecolink?

There are several reasons to make Ecolink your supplier. We provide eco friendly stock solutions and custom solutions for hot tank parts washers. If a stock product isn’t a perfect match for your needs, we’ll create a custom solvent tailored to your requirements. In addition, we provide free test samples, so you can try a cleaner to see how it works.

To place an order or request information, please call us today at 800-563-1305, or use our contact form. We look forward to helping you select the right cleaner for your parts washing needs.

Using a Parts Washer for Sustainable Degreasing Solutions: An Overview

Sustainable degreasing solutions are degreasers that can be “sustained” through the process of solvent recycling, either by recycling the solvents through a waste management provider that performs solvent recycling, or by recycling them in-house. In this entry, we focus on performing the latter type of recycling with the use of a parts washing system that uses condensation technology to remove grease from solvent that removes the grease from parts during cleaning.

Using “High Boiling” Degreasers

Achieving sustainable degreasing solutions for parts washing systems can be greatly aided by the use of high boiling solvents, which are considered solvents that have a high boiling point compared to water, which rises to a boil in the temperature range of 168°F to 212°F. However, to recycle the solvents for reuse, you need a parts washing system that’s facilitate the recycling function. Below is a step-by-step process for how such a parts cleaning system is used.

  • Soiled parts are placed on a rack inside the parts washer
  • Solvent is placed in a basin that is below the rack
  • A heating coil in the basin activates to vaporize the solvent
  • Vaporized solvent rises and contacts soiled parts
  • During the cleaning process, airtight seals maintain vapor pressure
  • A vacuum pulls the used, vaporized solvent into a cooling zone, where it condenses
  • The condensed solvent collects in a holding unit
  • A transfer zone returns the liquid solvent to the solvent basin below the rack

In the most efficient operation, the parts washing system repeatedly recycles one application of solvent until the solvent must be replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This scenario delivers two major benefits. For companies, it can dramatically reduce the amount of degreaser that is used, and reduce solvent cost accordingly. For the environment, it produces less waste solvent and thus reduces the amount of energy used for waste solvent management.

Upfront Cost Vs. Long-Term Gain

Implementing sustainable degreasing solutions using the scenario above requires some significant, upfront investments for companies that are starting from scratch: purchasing the parts washing system, installing the system, purchasing a high boiling solvent, and providing training for using the system.

For industrial outfits that consistently use a high volume of degreaser in a short period of time, long-term gains from reducing solvent cost can justify the investments. If you think that your company may be in this position, and you need assistance arriving at an educated decision, the team of experienced product specialists at Ecolink can help you make the right assessment.

Contact Us To Get Started

If it turns out that your operation is a good candidate for implementing sustainable degreasing solutions through the use of vapor degreasing solvent in a parts washing system, we can supply the solvents you need on a scheduled basis, or as needed. We can also create a custom solvent if one of our stock solutions doesn’t do the trick. To get started on evaluating your options, call us today at (800) 563-1305, or use our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!