Today’s demanding product performance often requires components machined or stamped to very tight specifications. High-durability ball bearings are a classic example. Because of their complex geometries, production debris can become trapped in the raceways, or the bearings may have endured heavy wear before being returned for overhaul and maintenance. Lubricants, dust, metal particulate, fingerprints or other residues must be removed prior to processing or assembly. Quality standards on finished components may require black light inspection, particle count, water break or other analysis to confirm cleanliness.
Cleaning with solvents has been a fine choice because they are stable and highly effective on hydrocarbon lubricants, silicones, and fluorinated greases (i.e., Krytox® and Fomblin®). These fluids also are low in viscosity and surface tension, which allows them to get into tight crevices and wet all the surfaces of the parts. They also offer high solvency (“Kb Value”) which allows them to rigorously clean the surface and displace stubborn soils.