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October 31, 2018

High Alkaline Cleaner or Neutral Cleaner? Searching for the Perfect Metal Cleaner.

Searching for the Perfect Metal Cleaner
The big question when selecting a metal cleaner is: is it better to use a high alkaline cleaner or a neutral cleaner? There are solid arguments for both. The hydroxide character in a high alkaline cleaner breaks apart tenacious greases, oils and metalworking fluids from the substrate, but has major setbacks.  The neutral cleaner avoids many of these setbacks, but can’t compete with the power of a high alkaline cleaner.

The Problems With a High Alkaline Cleaner:

  • A high alkaline cleaner is dangerous for the work environment.
    • As anyone who’s spilled a strong base knows, the risks are real. The base works by dissolving tissue and can leave permanent damage, especially when in contact with the eyes.
  • A high alkaline cleaner will corrode soft metals.
    • This means that metals like aluminum simply won’t work with a high alkaline cleaner, forcing many metal cleaner operations to use less effective cleaning methods.
  • A high alkaline cleaner will build a scale on heating coils in tanks.
    • Deposition of insoluble products in a high alkaline cleaner will insulate the heating coils.  Over time, this requires more energy to produce the same temperature for a cleaning tank operation.  When the scale becomes too thick, it will require descaling - this means the entire operation will be shut down.  In short, the scale built by a high alkaline cleaner will cost more in terms of energy and lost production time.

So What’s the Answer: High Alkaline Cleaner or Neutral Cleaner?  

NuGenTec Says: Why Not Have the Best of Both?

Why choose just one when you can have the best of both?  NuGenTec's AquaKlean EF105 metal cleaner leaves no scale, is non-hazmat, and is safe on aluminum, just like a neutral cleaner, but packs all the punch of a high alkaline cleaner.  

When developing AquaKlean EF105, NuGenTec made a checklist of the setbacks of a high alkaline cleaner and formulated innovative solutions to eliminate them:
  • AquaKlean EF105 is safer than a high alkaline cleaner and more powerful than a neutral cleaner.

    • AquaKlean EF105 is only mildly alkaline, meaning it has the cleaning power supplied by the hydroxide character, but isn’t classified as dangerous goods.
  • AquaKlean EF105 is safe on aluminum and ferrous alloys.

    • The built-in corrosion inhibition and flash-rust protection package protects the substrate from hydroxide attack without forming a scale.
  • AquaKlean EF105 won’t build a scale.

    • AquaKlean EF105 is silicate free and won’t build a scale.  Read below for more details on why a high alkaline cleaner has silicates and why it’s better to have a silicate-free metal cleaner.

Why Silicate Free?

  • The conventional high alkaline cleaner contains a silicate as a dispersing agent, corrosion inhibitor and a source of alkalinity.
  • These silicates can form a scale that is difficult to remove, which builds around heating coils and causes wasted energy to account for scale insulating effects and wasted production time during the downtime needed for scale removal.
  • In order to avoid these problems, NuGenTec rethought the purpose of silicates and decided to remove them completely. In order to remove the silicates, NuGenTec formulated a silicate-free surfactant blend and corrosion-inhibition package for better performance than silicated metal cleaners without the drawbacks.
    • AquaKlean EF105’s surfactant blend provides superior dispersal - this allows the hydroxide to attack caked-on greases and oils.
    • AquaKlean EF015’s corrosion-inhibition and flash-rust protection package won’t leave a scale deposition.

How Does it Work?

The mildly alkaline AquaKlean EF105 is suited for spray, tank, and hand-scrub cleaning and works by giving the hydroxide character the perfect environment to attack the contaminant while protecting the substrate.  The hydroxide needs as much opportunity as possible to penetrate oil and grease, for this purpose, AquaKlean EF105 has a surfactant blend with superior wetting capabilities at the desired foam level - low foam or moderate.  The surfactant works by lowering the surface tension and allowing the hydroxide ions to slip between layers of built-up contaminant. From here, the solvent takes over and keeps the contaminant dissolved in AquaKlean EF105, where it can no longer redeposit onto the substrate.  All the while, the flash-rust and corrosion inhibition package is at work protecting the exposed metal.

NuGenTec: Redefining Chemistry

If you are seeking healthier, more environmentally responsible, and less costly alternatives for your industrial processes, contact NuGenTec today. Click here for more information on our silicate-free, mildly alkaline, AquaKlean EF105 metal cleaners.