Greener cleaner: water-based industrial parts cleaner

Supplier: Revolution Advanced Metals & Materials By: Graham Smith
03 October, 2011

One company has harnessed mother nature's cleaning powers to create an industrial parts cleaner that is not only effective, but environmentally friendly as well.

Microbes are the natural world’s cleaners. It is these microorganisms, for example, that gradually break down oil spills in the ocean.

The cleaning power of these microbes has now been harnessed to create an industrial parts cleaner which offers an alternative to traditional solvent and detergent-based systems.

Jim Picot of Revolution Materials is distributing the environment friendly German-made Bio Circle system in Australia.

Bio Circle is a water-based parts washer but rather than using detergent, the cleaning agent contains living microbes which eat the oil and grease and convert it into CO2.

"Parts washers usually use a petroleum-based cleaning solvent," Picot told Industrysearch.

"That chemical is flammable, it has noxious fumes, it gives a lot of people dermatitis and it is carcinogenic – that solvent also has to be disposed of periodically too."

Picot said the Bio Circle answers many of the health and safety and environmental issues associated with existing cleaning systems.

"It’s completely safe. It’s non-flammable and because of the bio-remediation process taking place, you don’t have to dispose of the cleaning fluid," Picot said.

"Because that need for disposal is gone, the health and safety issues are gone. It’s a far more pleasant system to use and than one using noxious solvents. The actual machine is fairly basic, the secret is the liquid itself."

Picot told Industrysearch that water-based cleaners had been around for a while but had a reputation for not quite cutting it.

"Existing water-based cleaning systems use water with some kind of detergent added," Picot said.

"They generally clean OK but not necessarily as effectively as solvent-based cleaners. Another problem is that eventually the cleaning liquid gets too dirty to clean and you need to then throw that liquid away and get fresh stuff."

Picot said the Bio Circle microbe-based process was being used in a variety of manufacturing and industrial settings throughout Europe.

"It’s being used in maintenance workshops, in the automotive industry, in the military. Really it’s for anybody that’s doing any kind of maintenance work where you need to clean the part to see if it needs fixing or replacing.

"Manufacturing people use it to remove the turning and cutting oils from CNC machines - its even been used for cleaning dental implants to clean the cutting fluids off the metal parts."

Revolution Materials has already sold a number of Bio Circle systems in Australia. Picot said it is able to cope with some of the most demanding cleaning jobs.

"It’s being used in the La Trobe valley to clean very heavily soiled parts in the power stations. These things are covered in black coal dust and the liquid turns black very quickly but it doesn’t matter if it’s black as it still cleans," he said.

"These microbes deal with any dirt or grime and break it down and it’s a completely natural process. What they’ve done is capture that process into a self-contained, nicely packaged little system."