Dürr Ecoclean’s EcoCSteam cleaning system combines saturated steam with a high-velocity airflow to remove contamination from parts and surfaces without the use of chemicals. The system removes particulate and film-type contaminants such as oils, grease, emulsions, mold lubricants, chips, particles, dust and fingerprints from virtually any material, the company says.
The system uses flow-through water heating to force pressurized water through a piping system of heater coils. Depending on the cleaning task, the water is heated to a temperature between 135 and 280°C. The water is converted to steam before it is pumped from the piping to the cleaning nozzle, ensuring that steam is available in constant amounts and quality to avoid variable steam properties. As the steam jet exits the nozzle, it is surrounded by heated air accelerated to a high velocity and forced directly onto the surface to be cleaned. According to the company, the high-flow velocity of the air and the properties of the steam prevent intermixing.
Water and steam flow rates and heating power can be adapted to the application using the system’s PLC. Additionally, the steam’s moisture content can be adapted to the cleaning task or contamination type. For example, wet steam can be used to modify oil viscosity so that the oil can be atomized into ultra-fine droplets. The droplets are then blown off the part surface along with particulate contaminants by the airflow.
The cleaning system is said to improve quality and cost efficiency for large and heavy parts such as wind turbine transmissions; mechanical parts such as cylinder heads; sectional material; composite parts; and metal or plastic parts, among others. According to the company, the system can be automated and easily integrated into manufacturing lines.