Steam degreaser or cleaning fluid?

Medical devices are cleaned with solvent steam to remove grease

Steam degreasing removes manufacturing soil. [Photo courtesy of MicroCare]

Which comes first: steam degreaser or cleansing fluid? This is determined by the contamination and the perfect cleansing course of for it.

Elizabeth Norwood, MicroCare

Cleansing is a necessary course of within the manufacturing of medical gadgets and tools. It helps guarantee elements meet high quality and validation requirements, but it surely additionally helps guarantee machine reliability.

When it comes time for medical elements producers to improve their cleansing strategies, it is essential to do some work earlier than buying any cleansing fluids or steam degreaser cleansing tools. With out correct planning, you might end up with a brand new – and costly – piece of cleansing tools however no appropriate cleansing fluid or methodology to get the job achieved.

To keep away from this dilemma, three questions should be answered first.

1. What’s air pollution?

Understanding the kind of contamination helps slender the selection of cleansing fluid.

Contamination of medical system elements contains a lot of productive soils, together with hydrocarbon-based sealing oils, equipment lubricants, corrosion safety brokers, and sawdust.

Additionally they embrace extra cussed soils corresponding to solder fluxes, silicone oils, artificial greases, grinding media, sprucing pastes, baked resins, inks, heavy tones, and thicker waxes.

2. What cleansing course of needs to be used?

When cleansing a degreaser with steam, the contamination of the elements additionally helps decide which cleansing methodology to make use of.

Single Solvent Steam Degreaser

Single Solvent Steam Degreasing course of makes use of a single cleansing fluid inside a standard two-sink steam degreaser. [Image courtesy of MicroCare]

Single Solvent Steam Degreasing course of makes use of a single cleansing fluid inside a standard two-sink steam degreaser. It’s perfect for eradicating gentle to reasonable soils. The elements are cleaned within the boiling pan, rinsed within the rinse pan and dried within the steam blanket over the 2 pans.

Some mono-solvents are additionally azeotropics, that are a cleansing fluid made from two or extra elements that mix collectively to kind a secure combination. They don’t separate and all the time act as a single solvent, even throughout boiling, cooling and distillation. Azeotropes assist enhance the cleansing efficiency of the liquid, make it non-flammable or enhance its toxicity degree. It has the cleansing efficiency and security of a mix of cleansing solvents however is straightforward to retailer, deal with and get rid of.

Degreasing with widespread solvents offers the velocity and comfort of cleansing with a single solvent, however makes use of two micelles for higher cleansing energy. Extremely-high boiling liquid in a single basin and ultra-low boiling liquid in one other work collectively to boost cleansing efficiency. The steam degreaser may also be geared up with sprays, ultrasonic warmth, ultrasonic and different auxiliary equipment to enhance cleansing efficiency. Degreasing with widespread solvents is right for eradicating extra cussed soils.

Dual solvent degreaser

The twin solvent steam degreasing course of makes use of two micelles for added cleansing energy. [Image courtesy of MicroCare]

Bi-solvent degreasing is right for cleansing laborious soil. Twin solvent cleansing makes use of a dual-tub steam degreaser and separate pre-cleaning tank. The dissolving fluid is positioned within the main cleansing tank outdoors the steam degreaser. It boils at a temperature nicely above the rinse liquid within the two rinse pans contained in the steam degreaser.

Warning: Use warning when selecting a degreasing cleansing methodology utilizing a typical solvent or dual-solvent steam. Not all elements of medical gadgets require probably the most intense and high-temperature cleansing strategies. Utilizing a really robust widespread solvent or a binary solvent can injury delicate substrates, particularly acrylic, ABS and polycarbonate generally utilized in many medical gadgets and elements.

3. What’s the greatest cleansing fluid to make use of?

Environmental rules must also direct cleansing engineers relating to the usage of steam degreasing fluid. It should meet native, state, or federal regulatory necessities.

For instance, propyl bromide (n-propyl bromide) and TCE (trichloroethylene) are banned or beneath scrutiny in lots of international locations as a consequence of air and water high quality issues. Because of this these cleansing fluids will seemingly have to be changed with higher alternate options quickly and will in all probability be averted.

Thankfully, a lot of efficient cleansing fluids in the marketplace at present boast zero ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) and low GWP (International Warming Potential) to satisfy more and more stringent environmental rules.

Keep free of significant burden

No matter which steam degreasing fluid or methodology a cleansing engineer chooses, they will relaxation assured that trendy solvent-based fluids are biocompatible and comprise no pyrogens. Solvent steam degreasing doesn’t use water, which helps keep an setting freed from micro organism, viruses, or different pathogens. Additionally it is a handy technique to validate a cleanroom appropriate and bioburden-free cleansing course of.

Select the liquid, then the steam degreaser

It is crucial for the cleansing engineer to first perceive what kind of contamination and which methodology of degreasing with steam and liquids will take away it greatest. Then, armed with this info, they will select the suitable steam degreasing tools and equipment.

For instance, if a cleansing engineer purchases a steam degreaser designed for cleansing with solely a single solvent, the machine is not going to permit choices. If the single-solvent cleansing course of is ineffective on contaminants, the engineer is left with soiled elements and an costly steam degreaser they can not use.

Chemist with steam degreaser

Cleansing check laboratories can carry out cleansing experiments on the soiled elements. [Photo courtesy of MicroCare]

Depend on medical system cleansing consultants

It’s extremely really useful that cleansing engineers search the recommendation of an skilled cleansing fluid provider with a view to choose the suitable cleansing fluid and difficult methodology of cleansing their medical system elements. Fluid suppliers typically have cleansing check laboratories for cleansing experiments on dirty elements to find out the kind of contaminant and to advocate whether or not a cleansing course of with single solvents, binary solvents, or co-solvents will work greatest. The check additionally helps decide if components or modifications to a steam degreaser are crucial to acquire the desired degree of cleansing.

When deciding easy methods to clear medical gadgets and elements, select a cleansing fluid first. Understanding the soil encountered, the required cleansing methodology and the anticipated cleansing outcomes prematurely helps medical system producers know which cleansing fluid to decide on and in the end the options of the steam degreaser required.

Photo of Elizabeth Norwood, Senior Chemist at MicroCare

Elizabeth Norwood is a Senior Chemist at MicroCare. [Photo courtesy of MicroCare]

Elizabeth Norwood is a Senior Chemist at MicroCare, which presents precision cleansing options. It researches, develops and assessments merchandise associated to cleansing, and has one and two patents pending for its work. Norwood has been within the trade for over 25 years and holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Saint Joseph College. For extra info, go to

The opinions expressed on this weblog put up are these of the creator solely and don’t essentially mirror the opinions of or its staff.

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