The manufacturing industry today uses different kinds of chemicals in its cleaning processes. The industrial cleaners often contain some sort of degreasing chemical to clean parts and components before for instance surface treatment processes. These types of cleaning methods imply expensive and dangerous handling of chemicals in the manufacturing process, as well as in the transportation of hazardous waste. Furthermore, the cleaning processes also uses a substanstial amount of energy for cleaning.
“Ultra-clean water” is relatively new way of cleaning without the use of chemicals. The method has proven successful, for example, in the cleaning of building exteriors, transformer stations, and tunnels. The procedure has been to spray with low-pressure, thus better salvaging the paint yet removing dirt, oil and debris from surfaces such as walls. Successful projects, for example, include the cleaning of the above mentioned building exteriors and tunnel walls at and Södra Länken tunnel system in. The aim of this paper is to explore the potentials of how “ultra-clean” water cleaning can be used in the manufacturing industry. The overall goals of the project are to reduce manufacturers’ use of chemicals, and also the amount of emissions to landfills. Another goal with the project is to reduce the environmental effects on the manufacturing site, the amount of chemical emissions during manufacturing and the amount of chemical transports from the facility. Furthermore this innovation have a potential to improve the working environment within the industry and at the same time reduce the energy consumption used for cleaning. Two case studies will be presented in which environmental performance of a prototype of the solvent-free cleaning technology is compared with existing technologies. The first case is dealing with cleaning of circuit-boards with special attention to flux material residues. Furthermore the second case focuses on surface treatment industry and focuses more on the ability to clean oily and/or fatty surfaces.
To summarize, this research project have a large economic and environmental potential in its unique constellation of university research and manufacturing company involvement. At this moment the potentials are preliminary but shows a lot of promise for the future.