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What is vapor degreasing?

Vapor degreasing is a process used to thoroughly clean a variety of materials without the use of water.

How does vapor degreasing work?

Vapor degreasing boils a solvent to create a vapor which condenses on part surfaces into a liquid, dissolving soils which then drip away via gravity.

What is ultrasonic degreasing?

To enhance the vapor degreasing process, distilled solvent is collected in a sump fitted with ultrasonic transducers. The ultrasonic cavitation energy in the solvent sump enhances cleaning via a kind of "scrubbing" action.

How do I vapor degrease?

Parts are placed in a basket or suspended from a crane or other material handling system, and introduced into the vapor degreaser. Sometimes parts are immersed, perhaps with ultrasonics, or sprayed with distilled solvent during the process. When the part temperature is equal to the vapor temperature, condensation stops, cleaning stops, the part dries, and may be removed.

Is vapor degreasing legal?

Yes, but certain solvent processes are subject to regulation by the government or local air quality authorities. For instance, chlorinated solvents are subject to the US EPA NESHAP regulations. Or, if the solvent being used contains VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals), an air permit may be required to operate a vapor degreaser.

Is vapor degreasing safe?

Yes, absolutely, when the machine is correctly maintained and the process properly operated.

What solvents can I use in my vapor degreaser?

There are many options available depending on local regulations, company environmental, health & safety policies, etc. Solvents are based on non-flammable, halogenated hydrocarbon chemistries, often blended with alcohols or other organic chemicals.

Where can I buy a vapor degreaser?

Baron Blakeslee is an excellent choice for a degreaser vendor because we have been in business nearly 80 years, and specialize in vapor degreasing equipment. Baron Blakeslee designs & builds all of our own equipment, in our own factory in the USA. Many manufacturers do not even build their own equipment, instead using subcontractors, often selected on the basis of lowest cost provider.

Where can I get a used vapor degreaser?

Baron Blakeslee does not offer used equipment because we want our customers to have the best possible degreaser experience. Often times used equipment vendors do not have the resources or the knowledge to properly support the equipment they sell. We know, because Baron Blakeslee often ends up supporting, repairing and providing spare parts for used degreasers bought from a vendor of used Baron Blakeslee brand degreasers unable or unwilling to provide proper support.

Who fixes (services, repairs, etc) vapor degreasers?

Baron Blakeslee provides repair & refurbishing services for degreasers manufactured by Baron Blakeslee, Detrex Corporation & FARR Manufacturing.

How do I operate a vapor degreaser?

The operation of a vapor degreaser is considerably more simple than other types of industrial cleaning processes. Basically parts are lowered into the degreaser (at speeds <11 FPM), manually, or via a material handling system. In a vapor only degreaser, parts may be sprayed with solvent distillate, but are allowed to dwell in the vapor until part & vapor temperature equilibrate; at this point condensation stops, cleaning stops, and the parts are dry, then the parts may be removed from the degreaser. In immersion processes, parts are placed into a liquid sump that may contain filtration, spray under immersion or ultrasonics. After the immersion cycle is complete, the parts go though the aforementioned vapor process for a final vapor rinse (possible because the immersion sump is slightly cooler than the vapor zone), optional spray, then drying. In regard to maintaining vapor degreasers, all that needs to be done is monitoring soil loading (which increases with the addition of soluble soils, eventually indicating that the solvent needs to be distilled or recycled), checking acid acceptance of solvent (if applicable), changing filters (if the degreaser is so equipped), and cleaning the condenser surfaces of air cooled refrigeration systems (if the degreaser is so equipped).

How do I distill solvent from a vapor degreaser?

Degreasers are essentially stills. Users of immersion degreasers can perform a concentration procedure where some solvent is drained from the immersion sump into a clean container, and the unit is allowed to operate. The contents of the boil sump will concentrate, as the machine distills the solvent, filling the immersion sump, and eventually shutting down as a "low level" condition occurs in the boil sump. Obviously, the degreaser safety systems must be operating properly to perform the concentration procedure. Otherwise, Baron Blakeslee offers a number of solvent distillation systems that may operate offline or in continuous mode, coupled to a degreaser with a transfer pump.

How do I check acid acceptance in my vapor degreaser?

This is a simple procedure that generally takes only minutes to perform. A sample of solvent is collected from the lowermost valve of the water separator. Test instructions are specific to each solvent chemistry, and must be provided by the solvent manufacturer, who can also supply the acid acceptance test kit. Some solvents do not require acid acceptance testing. But the frequency & procedure of the acid acceptance test can only be indicated by the manufacturer of the solvent being used.

How do I empty the water separator on my vapor degreaser?

Certain solvents are sensitive to the presence of water which can cause them to hydrolyze to their corresponding acid. Water separators work by gravity. Water floats atop halogenated degreasing solvents because water is less dense. A valve is provided to drain most of the water off. Water separators must have a cap of water to work effectively, and for this reason, it is not possible to remove 100% of water from the separator by simply opening the water drain valve. Periodically, water must be removed manually, by siphoning it out of the top of the separator (as with a "turkey baster"). Or, the entire separator may be drained into a separatory funnel. Water effluent from any vapor degreaser must be disposed of properly in accordance with applicable regulations; it may not be poured down the drain.

Do I need to use desiccant in my vapor degreaser?

The desiccant used in vapor degreasers is 3 Angstrom Molecular Sieve, which are pellets of zeolite clay. The desiccant adsorbs water from the solvent, and may be reused by baking it dry. The most common requirement for the use of desiccant in a degreaser is if the solvent contains an alcohol in its formulation, as in solvents used for defluxing processes. The water that accumulates in the separator can extract the alcohol, negating the benefits of its presence in the formulation. In some rare cases, where degreasers are operated in very humid environments, desiccant may be required for adequate water removal.

How do I comply with NESHAP?

If a chlorinated solvent is being used, these materials are HAPs, (Hazardous Air Pollutants). In addition to other compliance and reporting requirements, the degreaser being used must be NESHAP compliant. The easiest path to compliance is to use a degreaser designed to be NESHAP compliant. All Baron Blakeslee vapor degreasers are NESHAP compliant. Our vapor degreasing systems incorporate appropriate control combinations as defined by NESHAP.

Do I need an air permit to operate a vapor degreaser?

The answer is "probably". There is one set of rules that ALL vapor degreasers users must be compliant to, and that is NESHAP, which applies to chlorinated solvents only, but NESHAP dictates best design & work practices that translate to the conservation of any solvent. (Baron Blakeslee degreasers, by design, are fully NESHAP compliant.) So, in that regard the Federal US EPA does have standards that govern the use of vapor degreasing equipment. However, states and even localities are free to draft their own regulations, as long as those regulations are more stringent than those of the US EPA. Typically, the state equivalent of the EPA is responsible for drafting and enforcing those regulations. It is advisable to check with the "most local" air quality authority in your area to see if a permit is required to operate a degreaser. This compliance is by no means unique to vapor degreasing equipment. If someone is operating an aqueous cleaning system, for example, they may need the appropriate permits in place to discharge water to the public sewer, or to exhaust vapor into the air. Baron Blakeslee are indeed the industry experts on vapor degreasing and cleaning operations in general. However, we can not become the experts on regulatory compliance concerning permitting vapor degreasers or other types of cleaning equipment. There are 50 states in the USA, and they each have their own regulations. Each state may have myriad localities that have their own unique regulations. Each state and locality is free to draft and change their regulations as they see fit. On that basis it is impractical, and frankly, impossible for Baron Blakeslee to be aware of the latest vapor degreasing compliance regulations anywhere one of our systems may be used. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the end user to research the unique aspects of compliance they must address to operate any piece of cleaning equipment.  Baron Blakeslee will gladly assist in sharing any information about our equipment necessary to complete a permit application, etc.

How do I dispose of waste from a vapor degreaser?

There are many reputable approved waste haulers who will accept waste from vapor degreasers. it is important to select a responsible approved waste hauler.

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