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Cleaning with Flammable Solvents

If you’re planning to clean parts with a flammable solvent (i.e. any liquid with a flash point) in an ultrasonic cleaner, there are several possible approaches to consider.

1. Clean Small Parts with Solvent in a Beaker
Clean Small Parts with Solvent in a Beaker

Operating an ultrasonic cleaner not designated as explosion proof with the tank filled with a flammable solvent poses a serious explosion hazard. However, beakers filled with flammable solvents may be positioned in water-filled ultrasonic cleaners for safe operation.* Small parts can be cleaned inside covered beakers which are partially immersed in water. The ultrasonic waves pass through the beaker walls and into the solvent. This operation should be carried out with sufficient ventilation to prevent solvent vapor accumulation.

Features

  • Beakers can be supported with special ultrasonic tank covers as shown to the left.
  • The maximum quantity of solvent that can be treated in an open ultrasonic cleaning tank depends on local fire regulations.
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2. Clean Larger Parts in High Flash Point Solvent (e.g. NMP, NEP)
Elmasonic X-tra LSM models

Elmasonic X-tra LSM models are certified for safe use with solvents with a flash point above 55˚C. The safety features on these ultrasonic units are tailored to the specific solvent that will be used in the tank. The ultrasonic power and heating automatically switch off if the temperature exceeds a limit set to 15˚C below the flash point. The integrated ventilation system does not allow an explosive atmosphere to form inside the tank housing. There are two tank sizes available, 7.4 gallons and 15.9 gallons.

Ultrasonic cleaning with NMP (n-methylpyrrolidone) has proven particularly effective in removal of paints and coatings and in cleaning glassware used for manufacture of medical cannabis.

Features

  • Stepless variable ultrasonic power (regulation by hand)
  • Temperature control with digital indication of actual and set values
  • Built-in explosion protection against the forming of an explosive atmosphere (primary explosion protection)
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3. Switch to a Non-flammable Cleaning Agent
Non-flammable solvent

Many cleaning applications that use flammable organic solvents can be accomplished with either biodegradable water-based cleaning solutions or non-flammable solvent-replacement chemicals. If your process has been registered with a regulatory agency, such as an FDA-approved process for cleaning medical devices, you may not be able to make the switch. But if you are not in a regulated environment a change in process may be the most cost-effective approach. Water-based solutions are very effective in cleaning a wide variety of components including electronics, optics, and medical devices. Water-insoluble paints and adhesives can be removed from metal parts such as paint gun nozzles with suitable solvent replacement chemicals.

Features

  • Soils Removed: Grease, Dirt, Coolant, Oil, Dust, Particles, carbon, Soot, Wax
  • Parts Cleaned: Carbs, Injectors, All metal parts, Plastic
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4. Clean Micro Parts with Volatile Flammable Solvent in Elmasolvex VA
Clean Micro Parts with Volatile Flammable Solvent in Elmasolvex VA

Extremely small parts such as watch parts, microoptics, and micro-machined parts are very effectively cleaned, rinsed, and dried in the Elmasolvex VA ultrasonic cleaner. This ultrasonic cleaner is certified to be explosion proof when used with solvents with a flash point ≥ 12°C. Optimum cleaning results are achieved using a combination of multi-frequency ultrasonic cleaning, oscillation, and vacuum technology. Cleaned parts are completely residue-free.

Features

  • For a detailed view of the operation of Elmasolvex VA, watch this video
5. Clean Larger Parts in Low Flash Point Solvent (e.g. IPA, acetone)
Clean Large Parts with Volatile Flammable Solvent with SOL XP

For cleaning larger parts with volatile solvents you’ll need a SOL XP explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaner available from Tovatech. Fully nitrogen inerted for fire protection. ETL approved as sold, no additional approvals required.

Features

  • ETL listed product
  • Optional air driven pump and purification system reduce handling and improve product quality. For continuous solvent purification
  • Optional cooling coils to reduce solvent loss and further control odor
  • 10-year warranty on ultrasonic transducers
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*Always check with your local safety organizations on the proper use of flammable solvents for cleaning. Tovatech is not responsible problems may arise from cleaning with flammable solvents.

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Elma stands behind their products. All Elma ultrasonic cleaners come with an industry-best 2 year warranty. If the unit malfunctions because of a manufacturing defect, simply call us and we’ll repair or replace the unit.

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