Cleaning Q&A: Cleaner Evaluation

What is the valid procedure for split testing a soak cleaner?


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Q. What is a valid procedure for split testing a soak cleaner in a graduated cylinder and how do you evaluate the results?

A. To my knowledge there is no standard procedure for the evaluation of oil splitting in a soak cleaner. When doing process development work, it is generally useful to have a “known” baseline from which to compare results. That could be an existing cleaner with some known ability to split or emulsify oil. In that case your current cleaner can serve as the process baseline for comparison with numerous other cleaners of similar classification (such as immersion, spray and so on).

In this case, a controlled evaluation method may be to add oil to the standard cleaner (controlling the cleaner concentration and temperature) with mixing. Allow the mixture to stand and measure the volume of oil that splits and surfaces at the top of the cleaner. You may choose a “standard” process oil or one that you are already using in manufacturing. The choice of oil will have as much to do with its ability to split as the chemistry of the cleaner.

Once you have established a baseline for your current cleaner for which you have some production history, you can then compare numerous available alternatives to estimate if their oil splitting ability will be better than  or worse than your current cleaning system.

Originally published in the October 2015 issue.

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