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Merit Partnership Pollution Prevention Project for Metal Iinishers

The Merit Partnership is a joint enture between U.S. Lni-


ronmental Protection Agency ,LPA, Region 9, state and local
regulatory agencies, priate sector industries, and community
representaties. The partnership was created to promote pol-
lution preention ,P2,, identiry P2 technology needs, and ac-
celerate P2 technology transrer within arious industries in
southern Calirornia. One or these industries is metal rinish-
ing, which is represented in the Merit Partnership by the Metal
linishing Association or Southern Calirornia ,MlASC,. To-
gether, MlASC, LPA Region9, and the Calirornia Manurac-
turing Technology Center ,CMTC, established the Merit Part-
nership P2 Project ror Metal linishers. This project inoles
implementing P2 techniques and technologies at metal rinish-
ing racilities in southern Calirornia and documenting and
sharing results. Technical support ror this project is proided
by the Institute ror Research and Technical Assistance ,IRTA,
and Tetra Tech LM Inc. ,rormerly PRC Lnironmental Man-
agement, Inc.,. The project is runded by the Lnironmental
Technology Initiatie and LPA Region 9 and is implemented,
in part, by CMTC through the National Institute or Stan-
dards and Technology.
INTRODUCTION
Chlorinated solents hae traditionally been used ror degreasing
because ,1, they quickly dissole organic soils such as oil, grease,
and dirt rrom parts and ,2, residual solent on parts eapo-
rates rapidly, leaing them clean, dry, and ready to be rinished.
Today, howeer, use or most chlorinated solents is being phased
out by increasingly stringent state and rederal air regulations.
Some solents used in metal rinishing, such as 1,1,1-
trichloroethane ,TCA,, are ozone-depleting and global warm-
ing compounds. Other solents, such as perchloroethylene
,PLRC, and trichloroethylene ,TCL,, are subject to increas-
ingly stringent regulations because or the risks they pose to
human health.
Numerous aqueous, or water-based, cleaning chemicals are now
aailable that are signiricantly less toic than chlorinated sol-
ents. Because organic soils are less soluble in water than in
chlorinated solents, chemical and physical mechanisms such
as surractants, emulsiriers, agitation, sprays, and ultrasonics
are orten used to enhance cleaning errectieness. This ract
sheet rocuses on ultrasonic aqueous cleaning as an alternatie
to solent degreasing.
AQUFOUS CLFANING CHFMICALS
Many aqueous cleaning chemicals are aailable ror use with
ultrasonic and other types or cleaning units. Chemicals with
surractants, compounds that penetrate and loosen soil by low-
ering surrace and interracial tension, are typically the most
errectie. Inhibitors, compounds that reduce corrosion or metal
parts, and emulsiriers, compounds that keep oil and grease in
suspension to preent their re-adsorption onto parts, may be
included in the cleaning chemical and may enhance cleaning
perrormance.
Solvent Substitution Strategy Solvent Substitution Strategy Solvent Substitution Strategy Solvent Substitution Strategy Solvent Substitution Strategy
1. Identify and contact aqueous cleaning chemical ven-
dors and arrange for bench top testing to determine:
cleaning potential for shop-specific soils
substrate compatibility with cleaning chemicals
2. Contact aqueous cleaning unit vendors and perform
testing at vendor facilities to identify the chemical
and unit combination that best meets cleaning
requirements
3. Arrange for an on-site demonstration of aqueous
cleaning unit and chemicals; systematically test
cleaning chemical candidates and vary operating
parameters to identify best cleaning performance
DLCLMBLR J997
FINDING AN ALTFRNATIVF TO SOLVFNT DFGRFASING
Ultrusonic Aqueous Cleuning
Reasons for Replacing Solvent Degreasing Reasons for Replacing Solvent Degreasing Reasons for Replacing Solvent Degreasing Reasons for Replacing Solvent Degreasing Reasons for Replacing Solvent Degreasing
with Aqueous Cleaning with Aqueous Cleaning with Aqueous Cleaning with Aqueous Cleaning with Aqueous Cleaning
N Comply with federal and state regulations
N Eliminate solvent storage and handling
N Eliminate potential for accidental releases
N Create safer working conditions
N Eliminate air regulation compliance costs
N Eliminate solvent purchase and disposal costs
N Eliminate emissions of ozone-depleting, global
warming, and hazardous compounds
The cleaning chemical should be compatible with the metal
being cleaned and capable or remoing the speciric type or soil
present. Part rinsing may be required arter aqueous cleaning
to preent contamination or subsequent process operations.
Unlike solents, which eentually become saturated with dis-
soled soils and become spent, aqueous cleaning solutions are
typically immiscible with most organic soils and thererore hae
longer userul lies. Oils rloat to the surrace or a nonemulsirying
aqueous cleaning solution and can be skimmed orr, and heay
soils settle and can be riltered or manually remoed. Aqueous
cleaning solutions may also be amenable to biodegrading ril-
ters that remoe organic contaminants. Ir an aqueous clean-
ing solution`s quality and concentration are maintained, the
solution can be used ror longer periods than solents berore
requiring disposal.
Although rresh aqueous cleaning solutions are usually classi-
ried as nonhazardous, they may accumulate enough contami-
nants such as metals or oil and grease during the cleaning
process to be classiried as hazardous waste when disposed.
Chemical analysis should be perrormed to determine the waste
classirication or a spent aqueous cleaning solution. Spent so-
lutions are typically treated in an on-site wastewater treatment
system or shipped orr site ror disposal.
ULTRASONIC CLFANING TFCHNOLOGY
Ultrasonic cleaning inoles application or high rrequency
sound waes, typically in the 20-to 50-kilohertz range, in a
tank or cleaning solution to produce an intense microscopic
scrubbing action. The ultrasonic waes create an oscillating
high and low pressure rront in the solution that produces
millions or microscopic bubbles at the surrace or the part.
These bubbles implode, radiating a shock wae that heightens
chemical actiity and strips away contaminants rrom the parts.
Ultrasonic cleaning action can penetrate ery rine pores and
creices or part surraces, making it ideal ror precision and
general cleaning.
Ultrasonic waes are transmitted into the cleaning solution by
transducers. Transducers are rated according to their rrequency
and maimum wattage, generally, the higher the wattage, the
greater the cleaning action. Using ecessie ultrasonic power
may cause erosion or burning` on sort metal parts. Trans-
ducers can be positioned to target speciric areas or the parts,
and the greater the number or transducers used, the greater the
ultrasonic coerage.
CASF STUDY: ARTISTIC PLATING AND MFTAL
FINISHING, INC.
Under the Merit Partnership, an ultrasonic cleaning unit was
demonstrated at the Artistic Plating and Metal linishing, Inc.
,Artistic,, racility in Anaheim, Calirornia. The purpose or the
project was to compare the cleaning errectieness and opera-
tional perrormance or an aqueous cleaning unit to those or a
solent degreasing unit. Artistic processes zinc die-cast and
rorged-steel parts ror commercial customers. Plating opera-
tions include copper, nickel, and chrome electroplating on a
hand-operated rack line and copper electroplating on a manu-
ally operated barrel hoist line.
Artistic degreases parts berore electroplating to remoe con-
taminants such as oil, particulates, and burring compounds.
The burring compounds are particularly dirricult to remoe
and thus they represent a rigorous test ror cleaning systems.
SOLVFNT DFGRFASING OPFRATIONS
Artistic operates a 150-gallon apor-spray degreasing unit manu-
ractured by Baron Blakeslee Inc. Artistic starr spend about 5
labor hours per day degreasing parts. Parts are loaded into
baskets that are lowered into the unit by a manually operated
hoist. Artistic starr load between 6 and 60 parts in a basket,
depending on the size or the parts, and typically degrease two
baskets per batch. Artistic degreases about 120 baskets or parts
per day. Most or the parts degreased are zinc die-cast parts,
howeer, rorged-steel parts are also degreased occasionally. The
degreasing unit requires about 1 hour per week ror operation
and maintenance ,O&M,.
Artistic uses PLRC in the apor-spray degreasing unit. In
1996, the racility used 6,138 pounds or PLRC. Artistic con-
tracts with a PLRC endor to collect and distill spent PLRC
Types of Aqueous Cleaning Units Types of Aqueous Cleaning Units Types of Aqueous Cleaning Units Types of Aqueous Cleaning Units Types of Aqueous Cleaning Units
Spray Spray Spray Spray Spray - Parts are sprayed with cleaning solution at
high pressure in an enclosed cabinet.
Immersion Immersion Immersion Immersion Immersion - Parts are immersed in cleaning solution
agitated by mechanical oscillation, submerged spray
nozzles, or ultrasonics.
Wet Blast Wet Blast Wet Blast Wet Blast Wet Blast - Parts are blasted with a water and
abrasive medium slurry at extremely high pressure.
Sink-Top Sink-Top Sink-Top Sink-Top Sink-Top - Parts are manually scrubbed in a sink,
and cleaning solution is applied via a nozzle or flow-
through brush.
HELPFUL HINT: HELPFUL HINT: HELPFUL HINT: HELPFUL HINT: HELPFUL HINT:
OIL SKIMMING AND FILTRATION OIL SKIMMING AND FILTRATION OIL SKIMMING AND FILTRATION OIL SKIMMING AND FILTRATION OIL SKIMMING AND FILTRATION
Cleaning performance and cleaning solution life can be
improved by using an oil skimmer and filter. Most aque-
ous cleaning units can be equipped with these features.
The skimmer removes oil floating on top of the solution
that may otherwise leave a film on parts removed from
the unit. The filter removes solids and dirt that may de-
grade cleaning solution.
ror reuse. The PLRC endor gies the racility account credit
ror the spent PLRC, but Artistic pays ror disposal or solids
that accumulate at the bottom or the degreasing unit ,still
bottoms,. In 1996, Artistic generated 83 pounds or spent
PLRC and about 15 gallons or still bottoms, which resulted in
a net collection and disposal cost or >306.
The dirrerence between
the olumes or clean
PLRC purchased and
spent PLRC disposed or
equals the amount or
solent emissions,
which ror Artistic to-
taled 5,355 pounds in 1996. South Coast Air Quality Man-
agement District ,SCAQMD, PLRC emission rees and other
permit rees associated with operating the degreasing unit to-
talled >1,80 in 1996.
ULTRASONIC CLEANING UNIT AND AQUEOUS ULTRASONIC CLEANING UNIT AND AQUEOUS ULTRASONIC CLEANING UNIT AND AQUEOUS ULTRASONIC CLEANING UNIT AND AQUEOUS ULTRASONIC CLEANING UNIT AND AQUEOUS
CLEANING CHEMICAL CLEANING CHEMICAL CLEANING CHEMICAL CLEANING CHEMICAL CLEANING CHEMICAL
Because or increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, Ar-
tistic wanted to replace PLRC degreasing with an aqueous clean-
ing alternatie that would still meet the racility`s cleaning re-
quirements. Artistic, in cooperation with the Merit Partner-
ship, ealuated dirrerent types or aqueous cleaning units, in-
cluding spray cabinets, mechanically agitated immersion units,
and ultrasonic immersion units, and numerous types or clean-
ing chemicals. Testing was perrormed at both the Artistic
racility and endor racilities using parts rrom Artistic to com-
pare the perrormance or dirrerent types or cleaning units and
chemicals. Part cleanliness was assessed based on isual obser-
ation, wipe tests, and subsequent plating perrormance. Based
on the results and a cost analysis, ultrasonic cleaning was se-
lected as the type or cleaning process and Daraclean 236 as the
cleaning chemical with the greatest potential to meet Artistic`s
high cleanliness standard. Daraclean236, which is manurac-
tured by V.R. Grace and Company or Leington, Massachu-
setts, is an aqueous, mild alkaline cleaner that contains or-
ganic surractants, water conditioners, and inhibitors.
The ultrasonic cleaning unit was tested under actual produc-
tion conditions at the Artistic racility ror an 8-week period.
During the demonstration, the eisting PLRC degreasing unit
was shut down, and all parts that required degreasing were
cleaned in the ultrasonic unit. The ultrasonic unit, which was
rented rrom SAS Lquipment, Inc., or Claremont, Calirornia,
contains three 1,200-watt, 40-kilohertz ultrasonic transducers,
holds 100 gallons or cleaning solution, and is electrically heated.
Parts are immersed in the cleaning solution on racks that are
hung rrom a bar positioned across the top or the unit.
An oil skimmer and particulate rilter are optional reatures
that were not aailable ror the ultrasonic unit demonstrated at
the Artistic racility. Instead, Artistic starr used hydrophobic
absorbent pads to remoe oil that rloated to the top or the
Annual PLRC Regulatory Costs
Lmission lee: >1,130
SCAQMD Permit: >250
Other Permits: >400
1otal: $J,780
cleaning solution, and solids were cleaned rrom the bottom or
the unit at the end or the demonstration period.
OPFRATING PARAMFTFRS
Artistic starr spent the rirst week or the demonstration period
perrorming shakedown testing or the ultrasonic cleaning unit
to determine the operating parameters that would proide
optimal cleaning perrormance. The critical parameters ror
Artistic`s application were ,1,cleaning time, ,2,cleaning solu-
tion temperature, ,3, cleaning solution concentration, and
,4,number or racks cleaned per batch. Cleaning parts ror
about 15 minutes was round to be optimal, shorter cleaning
time did not adequately clean parts, while longer cleaning time
orten lert a layer or smut or oil on part surraces. Although
cleaning perrormance improed at higher temperatures, heat-
ing the solution aboe 10
o
l caused streaking and spotting
on parts. The most errectie concentration or the cleaning so-
lution was round to be 10 percent by olume during initial
testing. linally, cleaning perrormance was round to be pro-
portional to the number or racks loaded into the unit, the
more racks loaded, the better the cleaning.
RFSULTS
The ultrasonic cleaning unit met Artistic`s cleaning require-
ments at a leel equialent to that achieed by the solent
degreasing unit. Artistic starr cleaned an aerage or 100 racks
or parts per day ,13 batches or 8 racks,, which was a through-
put equialent to the 120 baskets or parts per day processed in
Ultrasonic Cleaning Unit
Ultrasonic Cleaning Unit Operating Parameters Ultrasonic Cleaning Unit Operating Parameters Ultrasonic Cleaning Unit Operating Parameters Ultrasonic Cleaning Unit Operating Parameters Ultrasonic Cleaning Unit Operating Parameters
Shakedown Shakedown Shakedown Shakedown Shakedown Optimal Optimal Optimal Optimal Optimal
Parameter Parameter Parameter Parameter Parameter Testing Range Testing Range Testing Range Testing Range Testing Range Setting Setting Setting Setting Setting
Cleaning Time 5 to 45 min. 15 min.
Temperature 160 to 180 F 170 F
Concentration 5 to 20% 10%
Number of Racks 2 to 8 racks 8 racks
the PLRC degreasing unit. During the 8-week demonstration,
racility production generally inoled rorged-steel parts, con-
sequently, only a small quantity or zinc die-cast parts were
cleaned in the ultrasonic unit. Howeer, the
rorged-steel parts are the more dirricult parts to
clean because they hae more burring compound
on their surrace. Thererore, Artistic starr epect
the unit to clean zinc die-cast parts equally well
or better.
Artistic starr reacted positiely to the ultrasonic
unit because it decreased the labor required to
clean parts and did not emit unpleasant and harm-
rul rumes. Berore implementing ultrasonic clean-
ing, rorged-steel parts were cleaned rirst by sol-
ent degreasing, ir required, then by soaking in a
hot alkaline tank rollowed by manual brushing
to remoe residual burring compound. Vith the
ultrasonic unit, the rorged-steel parts are dipped
into the alkaline soak tank and then brushed ror
much shorter periods because the ultrasonic unit
sortens and remoes most or the burring compound. This
process change reduced the labor hours required ror cleaning
rorged-steel parts by 50 percent as compared to solent
degreasing.
The labor hours required ror cleaning zinc die-cast parts also
decreased by about 50 percent. Vhen the solent degreasing
unit was used, zinc die-cast parts were loaded into and un-
loaded rrom a basket berore and arter degreasing, respectiely,
berore being racked ror plating operations. Vith the ultra-
sonic unit, racked parts can be placed directly into the unit
ror cleaning, eliminating basket loading and unloading time.
During the testing period, the aqueous cleaning solution was
used ror about 4 weeks berore being replaced. About 0.6 gal-
lon or cleaning chemical was added to the solution eery week
in order to maintain the solution concentration. Spent solu-
tion was treated in Artistic`s on-site wastewater treatment plant.
An aerage or two absorbent pads were used each
week to remoe oil rrom the cleaning solution.
The spent pads were disposed or orr site as haz-
ardous waste.
The ultrasonic cleaning unit demonstrated at the
Artistic racility was leased ror >495 per week,
the purchase price or the unit is >14,000. O&M
or the ultrasonic unit, including remoing oil,
adding water to make up ror eaporatie losses,
and measuring the solution concentration, required less than
0.5 hour per week, which is about 50 percent less than O&M
labor ror the solent degreasing unit.
Assuming permanent implementation or ultrasonic cleaning
at the racility, Artistic would realize a cost saings or >8,440
per year by decreasing or eliminating hazardous waste disposal,
process labor requirements, and air permitting costs. Ir Artis-
tic purchased the demonstration unit, the payback period would
be about 1. years.
Motiated by the positie demonstration results, Artistic man-
agement decided to permanently implement aqueous ultrasonic
cleaning and remoe the solent degreasing unit. Howeer,
Artistic plans to purchase a tank, transducers, an oil skimmer,
and a riltration system and build its own ultrasonic cleaning
unit. Artistic estimates that it can build an ultrasonic unit
with signiricantly greater capacity at a cost lower than the pur-
chase cost or a comparable commercially aailable unit.
Ior more information on the Merit Partnership or this case
study, contact the following individuals:
Laura Bloch ,LPA Region 9, at ,415, 44-229
John Siemak ,CMTC, at ,310, 263-309
Dan Cunningham ,MlASC, at ,818, 986-8393
Kipton Kahler ,Artistic, at ,14, 632-1496
Assistance ror this ract sheet was proided by Tetra Tech LM Inc.
Zinc Die-Cast Part Cleaning Process and Duration Zinc Die-Cast Part Cleaning Process and Duration Zinc Die-Cast Part Cleaning Process and Duration Zinc Die-Cast Part Cleaning Process and Duration Zinc Die-Cast Part Cleaning Process and Duration
Solvent Degreasing Ultrasonic Cleaning
1) Loading into basket (10 min) 1) Racking
2) Degreasing (20 min) 2) Ultrasonic cleaning (15 min)
3) Unloading from basket (10 min) 3) Rinsing (5 min)
4) Racking _______ Total time = 20 min
Total time = 40 min
"Based on the demonstration results, ultrasonic
aqueous cleaning can completely replace our solvent
degreasing operations."
Ruben Angel
Artistic Environmental Coordinator
ULTRASONIC AQUEOUS CLEANING RESULTS ULTRASONIC AQUEOUS CLEANING RESULTS ULTRASONIC AQUEOUS CLEANING RESULTS ULTRASONIC AQUEOUS CLEANING RESULTS ULTRASONIC AQUEOUS CLEANING RESULTS
Per Year Per Year Per Year Per Year Per Year Annual Annual Annual Annual Annual
PERC PERC PERC PERC PERC Aqueous Aqueous Aqueous Aqueous Aqueous Savings Savings Savings Savings Savings
Chemical Purchase Cost Chemical Purchase Cost Chemical Purchase Cost Chemical Purchase Cost Chemical Purchase Cost $2,890 $2,400 $490
Haz Waste Disposal Cost Haz Waste Disposal Cost Haz Waste Disposal Cost Haz Waste Disposal Cost Haz Waste Disposal Cost $306 $60 (oil pads) $250
Cleaning Labor Cleaning Labor Cleaning Labor Cleaning Labor Cleaning Labor 1,320 hours 660 hours $4,620
O&M Labor O&M Labor O&M Labor O&M Labor O&M Labor 52 hours 26 hours $1,300
Air Permitting Cost Air Permitting Cost Air Permitting Cost Air Permitting Cost Air Permitting Cost $1,780 $0 $1,780
Total Annual Savings = $8,440 Total Annual Savings = $8,440 Total Annual Savings = $8,440 Total Annual Savings = $8,440 Total Annual Savings = $8,440
Capital Cost = $14,000 (assuming unit purchase) Capital Cost = $14,000 (assuming unit purchase) Capital Cost = $14,000 (assuming unit purchase) Capital Cost = $14,000 (assuming unit purchase) Capital Cost = $14,000 (assuming unit purchase)
Payback Period = 1.7 years Payback Period = 1.7 years Payback Period = 1.7 years Payback Period = 1.7 years Payback Period = 1.7 years

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