Most companies do not need the extra cleaning horsepower provided by co-solvent cleaning systems. However, for special applications it is a very smart and sophisticated option.
In general, the MicroCare monosolvent fluids can perform all of the required cleaning jobs. The problem arises when you can’t get the cleaning horsepower you need from a single solvent or azeotrope. This can happen because of materials compatibility issues, throughput issues or maybe environmental regulations. In this case, you are going to need to add some cleaning power without adding banned ingredients.
A co-solvent system delivers the convenience and speed of traditional solvent cleaning, but amplifies this cleaning with a second solvent. This second solvent provides the additional muscle or horsepower that the application requires.
The two solvents have very different and distinct behaviors. The primary difference between the two solvents will be their boiling points: one boils at a low temperature (like the MicroCare™ and Vertrel™ cleaning fluids) and the other boils at a much higher temperature (like a hydrocarbon cleaner). The high-boiling solvent is referred to as the solvating agent and usually has most of the cleaning horsepower. These are usually aggressive but slow-drying hydrocarbon solvents.
The low-boiling solvent is referred to as the rinsing agent and is usually one of the HFC, HFE or HFO fluids. The rinsing agent washes the solvating agent off the components and provides the vapor blanket for the system. System vapor losses are mainly of the low-boiling solvent.
The Tergo™ Chlorine-Free Cleaning Fluid is the MicroCare co-solvent cleaning product, engineered for maximum environmental protection. It is a two-part, nonflammable, non-chlorinated, multi-functional cleaning fluid engineered for use in vapor degreasers and sometimes is referred to as a “co-solvent system.” The solvating additive is a proprietary, non-volatile, high-boiling point mixture. The rinsing chemistry is a low-boiling hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). Together, the system delivers excellent cleaning on all types of solder fluxes, oils, greases, waxes, and particulates, paints, buffing compounds and anti-rust agents. It is highly compatible with most metals, plastics and ceramics; it also has and broad compatibility with plastics and elastomers. Almost any existing two-sump vapor degreaser can be used with this product.
Bi-solvent cleaning systems are a similar, but different process. The MicroCare Carbon Steel Cleaning Solvent is a bi-solvent fluid used outside of a vapor degreaser.
In summary, a co-solvent system should be used only for the most difficult soils, which often require high temperatures for removal. In the right application they can provide superior cleaning results without the throughput delays inherent in aqueous systems.