Ecoclean offers ultra-fine and precision cleaning services

According to Ecoclean, by combining wet chemical and low pressure plasma cleaning methods for ultra-fine degreasing in a single machine, the surface characteristics required for downstream coating or bonding are effectively achieved. Photo credit: SBS Ecoclean Group.

Due to changes in manufacturing, assembly and coating technologies, as well as more stringent regulatory specifications, there are increasingly stringent cleanliness requirements for particulate and film-like parts. Whether production equipment for the semiconductor industry, biotechnology, laser and sensor technology, measuring and analysis devices or components for accumulators, fuel cells and systems optics, performance and reliability requirements are extremely high, requiring process cleanliness improvements. Additionally, for medical technology products such as implants, instruments, cannulas and endoscopes, particulate and film-like contamination from manufacturing processes is a critical criterion due to regulatory specifications. Additionally, there is also a trend towards miniaturization and functional integration with smaller and more complex components.

According to SBS Ecoclean Group (Frankfurt, Germany), a supplier of complete cleaning solutions, these developments imply that specifications for particle cleanliness in the micrometer and nanometer ranges, as well as very strict requirements concerning the residual contamination of thin layers, must be respected by more in addition to industrial sectors. Depending on the components and/or applications, it may also be necessary to observe outgassing rates for organic substances and residual moisture, as well as reduced limit values ​​down to the atomic percentage range in surface analyzes for residues of prohibited substances.

For Ecoclean, the result is a series of very demanding parts cleaning tasks throughout the manufacturing chain. Ecoclean claims to adapt its cleaning processes, control software, machinery and environmental conditions to changing requirements and applications.

Choose the right system concept

A cleaning room with a person standing outside.

For integration into clean rooms, ultrasonic ultra-fine cleaning systems are equipped in accordance with the applicable clean room class. Photo credit: UCM / Gebr. brewer

When selecting a suitable cleaning system for a specific task, Ecoclean first determines whether the system will be used for pre-cleaning, intermediate cleaning or final cleaning. Depending on the usage and cleanliness specifications to be achieved, the solution can be a chamber or multi-tank immersion machine, a flexible ultrasonic multi-tank machine based on standardized modules or a customized ultra-fine cleaning system based on ultrasound. Optimal cleaning chemicals and processing technologies (e.g. spraying, high pressure fluid application, immersion, ultrasonic or megasonic processing, plasma cleaning, injection washing, cleaning pulsed pressure (PPC), as well as passivation/preservation if necessary) are also specifically chosen for the application and the contaminants to be removed.

Cleaning processes and systems for ultra-high cleanliness

Standard equipment installed in precision and ultra-fine cleaning systems are multi-frequency ultrasonic systems that offer flexible adjustment of ultrasonic frequency and intensity to the requirements of different parts to be cleaned. With parts that have complex geometries, capillary structures or porous surfaces, such as sintered metal components or additively manufactured components, the PPC method comes into play. Features such as overflow on multiple sides in all wash and rinse tanks, as well as immersion/spray rinse technology specially developed for ultra-fine cleaning systems, are designed to help meet cleanliness specifications.

A rising stand.

In the immersion/spray rinsing tanks specifically developed for ultra-fine cleaning processes, the parts are sprayed as they come out of the bath. This is said to improve the result of rinsing. Photo credit: Zeiss.

According to Ecoclean, the decision of which parts are made for which wash and rinse tanks, as well as part-specific process parameters such as temperatures, ultrasonic power and frequency, CPAP intensity and stay in the different washing and rinsing tanks, are defined during the development phase of the process. Depending on the complexity and heat absorption capacity of the parts, drying is mainly done by infrared or vacuum technology. The resulting room-specific cleaning programs are stored in the machine control. According to Ecoclean, the software-controlled implementation of the cleaning sequence plays a decisive role in this context, as it ensures that the specified residence times in the washing and rinsing tanks are precisely respected, and that the prioritized sequences ( for very fragile parts, for example) can be programmed.

Through cleaning trials using genuine parts at its facilities, Ecoclean says it can help determine the best system and process solution for cleanliness and economic efficiency.

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