Liquid Cleaner Preference

During my more than 30 years in the metal finishing industry, a slow and quiet revolution has taken place. Early in my career many finishers would ask, “Why should I pay for water?” when we discussed liquid cleaners. Now when I talk to most metal finishing shops, they tell me they have a preference for liquid cleaners.

Why the new preference over the powder equivalents? My clients and prospects give me many reasons: It could be for safety, for control, for ease of handling and sometimes for the simple choice of a longer bath life.

User Safety and Other Preferences

Worker safety has always been a big focus in the work environment, and finding ways to assure worker safety helps control insurance costs. Because liquid cleaners typically require less handling by workers, there are fewer injuries from moving and lifting 50 pound bags. There are also issues with dust inhalation as bags are opened and dumped into tanks.

Workers may also be injured in cleaner eruptions. Cleaner eruptions often occur when a powder cleaner is added in a localized area to the process tank which is caused by an exothermic reaction (where excessive heat is generated). These eruptions can often cause serious injuries like skin burns, etc.

While liquids can be manually added, they also have the option of using automatic control systems or pumping / feed systems, because there is less manual handing of material and the opportunity for injury can be avoided.

Beyond safety, another advantage of liquid cleaners and the use of automatic control systems or pumping and feeding systems is consistency of bath makeup. Additions are not made by humans, therefore human error can be minimized. No cleaner spills on the floor and additions are never made in a hurry before a break or end of shift in the plant. Avoiding the peaks and valleys of irregular addition patterns allows bath concentration to be more predictable and cleaning to be more consistent.

The final advantage of typical liquid cleaners is their ability to extend bath life. This means fewer dumps and make-ups and overall reduction of operating costs.

25 years ago, things were different. Liquid cleaners were newer to the market and their effectiveness could be questioned. For years powder cleaners had been the choice of metal finishers and there was little or no reason to consider anything new. Today things are different safety, consistency and cost control have all led to better metal finishing with different cleaners.

At Asterion, we still offer powdered cleaners for some of our clients, but for a majority of our clients we provide a variety of liquid cleaners designed to help them protect their workers, maintain their part quality and control costs. If you are ready to talk about cleaners in your shop please call us.