Innovation driven by legislation
Vapour degreasing is the simplest but most effective degreasing and cleaning process. It has, until recently, been subject to little change since it was first invented in the early part of the last century. The name for the process is a misnomer as the cleaning is actually achieved by solvent vapour condensing on the cooler target parts and the hot liquid solvent dissolving oil and removing dirt.
Vapour degreasing is a mature technology on which legislation is now effecting changes so fundamental that the more accurate name for the process “Condensation Cleaning” should be used to reflect the way in which it works. More importantly the alternatives in equipment design and fundamental differences in the technologies which guarantee its continuing use in the future need to be considered and understood.
In Europe the United States and in other advanced industrialised economies increasingly stringent legislation to control emissions of VOCs and especially solvents has led to new formulations for paints and other coatings where water replaces most of the solvent. In the early days of these changes the quality of the coatings was not as good as solvent based coatings but innovation has driven the development of new polymers and the results are now as good as, if not better than, the solvent based originals.
As with coatings, cleaning systems have had to change. With increased legislation concerning the regulation of health and environmental safety uses of solvent have been targeted and alternatives are encouraged by the relevant authorities and law makers often without serious consideration of unintended consequences…
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