Effective cleaning can sometimes only be accomplished with the outside help of other technologies. Surprisingly though, many of these modern professional cleaning systems utilize very common elements to clean. One particular form of cleaning that is impacting the manufacturing sector is plasma cleaning. Cool Clean has found a way to combine the plasma cleaning with our integrated CO2 spray. The results have been quite promising in surface treatment and preparation.
Solvent free cleaning can come in many forms. Plasma cleaning is an example of a dry method using a chemical reaction of air plasma for surface preparation. Atmospheric plasma systems focus the plasma for cleaning of substrates at the molecular level. Plasma cleaning is often found in the sterilization of medical implants, electronics and semiconductors, and automotive technology.
Plasma cleaning on its own can be a time sensitive process. It is limited in its ability to work consistently through uneven/thick films and solid residues. In order to get past the contaminants and reach the surface that is where CO2 cleaning comes in.
Another form of dry cleaning is using a spray of solid CO2 particles. The CO2 snow impacts the surface much like a sandblaster and cleans the debris. This method uses no additional solvents, but instead a very fine tuned mixture of heated air and liquid CO2 known as an integrated spray. The success of carbon dioxide for cleaning is due to its precise area of cleaning and non-abrasive force. Recycled CO2 has the added advantage of being remarkably environmentally-friendly.
Integrated spray by itself lacks a few things over plasma cleaning. There is no activation of bonding sites through oxidation or functionalization/surface activation mechanisms. These problems pushed Cool Clean to develop a combination treatment solution.
Plasma + CO2
Combining the two technologies provides the necessary surface cleaning and treatment required. The carbon dioxide can be used as a high pressure spray which cleans the surface without the need for any liquid. The concentrated gas also cleans without damaging or heating the sensitive parts of most electronic and medical devices.
What makes this approach so successful? The CO2 cleaning removes the film barrier and contaminants on the surface. Once particles are completely removed the plasma can work on the surface further improving the treatment. Applications of combination treatment using CO2 and plasma include, but are not limited to:
- Modify glass, ceramic, polymer, and metal surface layers to increase adhesion.
Selective Surface Treatment
- Selectively treat all or only a portion of smooth, porous, and irregularly shaped surfaces.
Remove microscopic particles, discolorations, oxides, stubborn films, and coatings from surfaces.
The best news is that both of these devices have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in industrial and professional cleaning applications. Using this combination treatment provides significant environmental benefits and eliminates concerns such as wet chemistries, environmental permits, hazardous waste, bath degradation, bath maintenance, water and air pollution, and toxic chemicals.
A number of companies are combining the power of plasma cleaning with a gentle CO2 spray. This unique combination can be used for cleaning complex products ranging from visual to microscopic levels.
The properties of CO2 and the use of it with plasma technology offer opportunities to achieve levels of cleanliness previously beyond our reach.