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 most effective cleansing course of for it.

Elizabeth Norwood, MicroCare

Cleansing is a necessary course of within the manufacturing of medical units 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 suitable cleansing fluid or methodology to get the job carried out.

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

1. What’s air pollution?

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

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

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

2. What cleansing course of must 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 conventional two-sink steam degreaser. [Image courtesy of MicroCare]

Single Solvent Steam Degreasing course of makes use of a single cleansing fluid inside a conventional two-sink steam degreaser. It’s supreme 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 manufactured from two or extra elements that mix collectively to type a steady combination. They don’t separate and at all times act as a single solvent, even throughout boiling, cooling and distillation. Azeotropes assist improve the cleansing efficiency of the liquid, make it non-flammable or enhance its toxicity stage. It has the cleansing efficiency and security of a mix of cleansing solvents however is simple to retailer, deal with and eliminate.

Degreasing with frequent solvents gives the pace 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 will also be geared up with sprays, ultrasonic warmth, ultrasonic and different auxiliary equipment to enhance cleansing efficiency. Degreasing with frequent 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 onerous soil. Twin solvent cleansing makes use of a dual-tub steam degreaser and separate pre-cleaning tank. The dissolving fluid is situated within the major cleansing tank outdoors the steam degreaser. It boils at a temperature properly 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 standard solvent or dual-solvent steam. Not all elements of medical units require essentially the most intense and high-temperature cleansing strategies. Utilizing a really sturdy frequent solvent or a binary solvent can harm delicate substrates, particularly acrylic, ABS and polycarbonate generally utilized in many medical units and elements.

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

Environmental rules must also direct cleansing engineers concerning using 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 nations as a consequence of air and water high quality issues. Because of this these cleansing fluids will possible should be changed with higher alternate options quickly and may in all probability be averted.

Happily, a lot of efficient cleansing fluids available on the market immediately 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 fashionable solvent-based fluids are biocompatible and comprise no pyrogens. Solvent steam degreasing doesn’t use water, which helps preserve an setting freed from micro organism, viruses, or different pathogens. It is usually a handy strategy to validate a cleanroom suitable and bioburden-free cleansing course of.

Select the liquid, then the steam degreaser

It can be crucial for the cleansing engineer to first perceive what sort of contamination and which methodology of degreasing with steam and liquids will take away it greatest. Then, armed with this data, 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 won’t enable 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’t use.

Chemist with steam degreaser

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

Depend on medical gadget cleansing consultants

It’s extremely really useful that cleansing engineers search the recommendation of an skilled cleansing fluid provider so as to choose the suitable cleansing fluid and difficult methodology of cleansing their medical gadget elements. Fluid suppliers typically have cleansing check laboratories for cleansing experiments on dirty elements to find out the kind of contaminant and to suggest 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 vital to acquire the required stage of cleansing.

When deciding easy methods to clear medical units and elements, select a cleansing fluid first. Understanding the soil encountered, the required cleansing methodology and the anticipated cleansing outcomes prematurely helps medical gadget 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 gives 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 data, go to

The opinions expressed on this weblog publish are these of the writer solely and don’t essentially replicate the opinions of or its staff.

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