Choosing a Cleaner

After a recent switch to a new source of sheet metal, we now have adhesion problems which seem to be related to cleaning. To correct the problem, my supplier suggests using a different cleaner chemical in the pretreatment. What are the considerations in the choice of a cleaner?


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Q. We have been using an iron phosphate pretreatment successfully for several years. Because we monitor and maintain the chemical solutions, we get consistent results. After a recent switch to a new source of sheet metal, the results have been erratic. We now have adhesion problems which seem to be related to cleaning. To correct the problem, my supplier suggests using a different cleaner chemical in the pretreatment. What are the considerations in the choice of a cleaner? D. N.

 

A. The principal considerations in the choice of a cleaner are detergency, foaming durability soil retention and sensitivity to metals. It would seem difficult to choose one of the host of cleaners available. This is often compounded by the synergistic effect between a cleaner and a particular phosphate chemical. The pretreatment chemical supplier can help you with this.
Proceeding logically, you must first know if the cleaner is sensitive to the mix of metals you process. Next, you must determine how well a cleaner will remove the oily soils from your metal with little or no foaming. Then, you must establish how long the cleaner is effective before dumping is necessary. Finally, you must determine how much soil will be retained before splitting-out occurs. A trial run is often the only way to prove out the performance of a candidate cleaner. 

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