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topic 744

Low temperature cleaners


Q. I am an Associate professor of Physics from Kharkov Polytechnic University, Kharkov, Ukraine (a new state - a part of the former Soviet Union). I am working with some industrial enterprises and am interested in problems connected with Metal Finishing. You can find my name among the authors of the December, 1993, issue of METAL FINISHING. I've found your e-mail address in METAL FINISHING, too (August 1996)

I wonder if you could advise me how to resolve the following problem. The fact is our enterprises are very interested in energy saving technologies. I have got an inquiry from one big plant concerning Soak Cleaning Products and Electrocleaners that could operate at low temperatures (as we say - Cold Degreasing Technology). The plant technicians want to clean parts of bicycles and motorcycles at approximately room temperature before plating (total volume of the plating baths is about 50,000 gal.).

If you have a some information concerning such products and their producers I'd be very grateful if you could inform me about it. I would connect with the American producers to discuss possibility of some cooperation. I could to promote their products in the C.I.S. market.

I look forward to your comments on the above

Very sincerely yours,

Baizuldin B.M., doz. KPU
- Kharkov, UKRAINE


A. Most American suppliers of plating chemicals offer low-temperature cleaners, Dr. Baizuldin.

My opinion, based only on my personal travels rather than a rigorous marketing study, is that they are far less popular than they were in the 1980's, and that the primary reason is the difficulty they often pose in wastewater treatment.

Recently I was involved in an installation that used a cold-action cleaner, and we found that it was simply untreatable--we could not achieve the required difficult effluent standards with any practical treatment of the wastewater, so we had to revert to a standard cleaner.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. Bulat:

Cold Action Cleaner manufactured by Enthone is one pretty decent example of a heavily complexed electrocleaner that works reasonably well on steel, copper, brass, etc. at room temperature. It is difficult, but not impossible to treat when present in the wastewater in significant quantities (5% vol and higher), besides, your environmental standards may not be as stringent as ours.

berl stein
berl sig
"PlaterB" Berl Stein
NiCoForm, Inc.
supporting advertiser
Rochester, New York



A. Nyet to cold cleaning.

Low temperature cleaning was the hot topic of 70's and early 80's until everyone found out how cost prohibitive it was for "water break applications". In many cases the problems were in the soils. Buffing compounds, drawing compounds contain components i.e. waxes where the melting point must be exceeded to be removed. What people also found was the high concentrations and cost of treating high concentrations made it cost prohibitive. The 4 variables for cleaning are time, temperature, concentration and energy. What could get you close here is energy whether it be current, ultrasonic, turbulance or agitation (heavy). Most modern day formulations are made for "low" temperature. There is a big difference however between no temperature and low temperature.

Good luck,

Dan Zinman

Temperature of Ultrasonic cleaner with different surfactants or cleaners

July 4, 2016

Q. Hi,

Ultrasonic Cleaner: Temperature Vs. Surfactants or cleaner solutions
1. Is Ambient temperature or 60 °C for ultrasonic cleaner?
2. Is there any room temperature Ultrasonic cleaners or surfactants?
3. Ultrasonic cleaners function only at 60 ( 45 to 70 ) °C or not?
4. What are the ASTM, ISO, AMS, MIL specifications for Ultrasonic Cleaner ?


Surya Narayana
Process Engineer - Tumkur, Karnataka, INDIA

July 2016

A. Hi Surya. The short answer is that higher temperatures like 45 to 70 °C are best for cleaning for a bunch of reasons, including solubility, saponification, and higher energy content. But low temperature cleaning is not impossible, and temperatures too near the boiling point may interfere with cavitation action in ultrasonic cleaning.

To answer general questions, like your first three, properly would require many pages, and nobody is going to write those pages for you when many books are available with those pages about cleaning optimization :-)

If you give us the details of your own situation: what metal the parts are made of, why you're cleaning them, etc., it is possible that people may be able to provide food for thought.

I'm not aware of ASTM, ISO, AMS or MIL specs for ultrasonic cleaners, but there may well be specs for how particular parts must be processed.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

July 12, 2016

A. Surya,
I'm not an ultrasonics expert, but it's fairly safe to say the action of the ultrasonics themselves are not dependent on temperature.

However, yes, having your ultrasonic bath heated may be beneficial for the same reasons it's beneficial to heat a non-ultrasonic bath.

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
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