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Be vigilant when making degreasing choices

There can be no doubt that readers of Trade Magazines have remained keenly interested in the advantages to be found in process cleaning, whilst being confused by the amount of misinformation that seems forever presented to them.

I guess there can only be two reasons for this.
These are an intention to mislead or simply a lack of understanding of the subject.

In any event the listener needs to take time to match what is said to what is factual. Too often companies generalise on the basis that they are not keen for users to look deeply at the subject, yet this is vital if good decisions are to be made.

In the end, the final judgement of the user is what matters but I wonder how many people express frustration at some of the suppliers they have met who spent more time criticising a proven product rather than validating their own.

Too often suppliers are advising what not to do rather than dealing with what really works. This is negative selling and appears on the increase as the market shrinks, regulation gets tighter and independent specialists are more limited in numbers.

Recent history suggests that larger suppliers rely on their size to justify their competence when in fact the really satisfied customers are saying smaller companies with real specialists provided the best solutions.

No-one can argue against the fact that the popular choice is still Vapour Degreasing. This is easily confirmed by the companies involved in making machinery for degreasing. The order book is heavily stacked in favour of vapour degreasing.
If there is one slight disadvantage currently, it lies in the fact that lead times are often 20 weeks to delivery of machines.

It is true though that these highly cost effective systems, using very little solvent, are likely to remain the first choice for some considerable time.

Arguments related to the Solvent Emissions Directive carry little weight with modern machines as they are so well engineered that they are generally compliant to regulatory targets.
If there is one common request made by users it remains that they wish there was a single company capable of offering the total solution, e.g. both their own product and machinery together.
This would shorten the circle and place more onuses on the supplier to be responsible for promises made.

Most machinery companies work with a multitude of chemistry suppliers, since they want the machine sale, but where disputes arise this can be protracted as its easy to blame someone else for issues.

Much is said about Hermetically sealed systems being the successful solution. This seems at odds with the market in the UK where few exist and a number are beginning to show difficulties now. Speak to an independent specialist to ensure you know the limits of these machines.

Those who declare aqueous systems are superior need to ensure they advise the user that more energy, more space, longer cleaning cycles, more risk of residues and waste disposal issues are comparisons to be made. If Global Warming is an issue for you then consider the energy required here.
To accept that water is safer or better, needs to be well argued. Never forget the solution needs changing regularly and the oils and metals produced are waste and needs correct disposal.

When offered vapour degreasing it will often be suggested that product transfer systems attached to the machine bring a number of benefits. For handling benefits it is true but never doubt they will never contribute to reducing your consumption, so do nothing for emission targets.
Where you have modern machinery you should be confident that issues of reducing exposure are well catered for.
Even open top machines present little risk these days. Long gone are the days of old machines with little engineering. For that we can all be grateful.

Often, the best way forward is to make a supplier talk to you about their own product. Beware of those who distract you from this.

If a claim is made that seems suspect, get it put in writing.
Transparency is a vital ingredient in any relationship with your supplier.

The target audience for most suppliers are those using the Carcinogen Trichloroethylene. It is this group that seek urgent change but must guard against being told it’s a good idea to continue with it.

Do your research, set the questions and insist on the evidence for the arguments put forward.

Protecting your business, your staff and the community around you gives a sound basis to ensure a real assessment.

The majority have already moved to better choices so this is a confident indicator that a successful change is viable.

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page last modified on 17/12/09


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The Environmentally Friendly Vapour Degreasing Solvent

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