What Is Aqueous Cleaning?

We have talked a number of times on this blog about why governments and businesses have moved away from solvent-based cleaning systems and towards more environmentally friendly solutions. Solvents are very effective at removing grease, dirt, and oils, but they come with a heavy downside: pollution and long-term negative consequences for human and environmental health.

Aqueous cleaners also have clear advantages over solvents because traditional chemical methods of cleaning are becoming more regulated and more expensive. Part of the expense involves the purchase of specific cleaning products, some of which have been by law slowly phased out of use, but as people and governments become more and more concerned about the unintended consequences of certain cleaning methods, it’s becoming harder – and therefore more expensive –  to find venues that will dispose of the waste that results from processes that utilize toxic solvents.

top loadThis is why we at AEC Systems have focused on providing aqueous cleaning solutions to meet the needs businesses and manufacturers have without exposing anyone or anything to the dangers and risks solvents carry.  What is aqueous cleaning, then?

Aqueous cleaning uses water as its primary solvent. The following may be added as well: surfactants and detergents, emulsifiers, inhibitors, anti-foaming agents, PH buffers, builders, deflocculants, and chelating agents. By altering the PH of the aqueous solution, it can more effectively remove different substances. Acidic aqueous solutions are better for removing scale, rust, and oxides from metals, whereas alkaline aqueous solutions remove salts, oxides, organic soils, metal chips, and grease. Alkaline solutions are the most common type of aqueous solutions and can be used effectively within a range of temperatures.

Soaking parts alone will not remove some substances effectively or efficiently which is why parts washers are designed to incorporate ultrasonic equipment, spray washers, and other technology like immersion. When parts are immersed in an aqueous solution for a period of time, heat or agitation is used to clean hard-to-remove contaminants. Pressure spray washing can also use heat, along with steadily applied water pressure, to achieve the same goal.

With ultrasonic cleaning, a detergent is dissolved in an aqueous water solution and high frequency sound waves are used to produce bubbles that help dissolve and displace the targeted contaminants.

While aqueous cleaning does result in waste, the process is much healthier for both the environment and for those who have to operate the parts cleaners. Additionally, other technology, such as the washer washer, is available to lower the waste output and reuse the cleaning solutions in solution.

If your company is in need of an effective, efficient, and environmentally friendly parts cleaning solution, we at AEC Systems would love to discuss your options with you.

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