Firbimatic Spa

Firbimatic and CERN: the worldwide success of the cleaning machine for pipes and special components

— 25 / 11 / 2020

Finally here we are! One of the most important installations for industrial cleaning and degreasing of metals made at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of CERN in Geneva has been completed!

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) , built in 2008, is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator . where CERN conducts all its experimental research related to particle physics.

The relationship between CERN and Firbimatic is a long-standing relationship that began several years ago to meet the following needs:

  1. the need for a cleaning machine that could be used in a galvanic plant;
  2. the need for a cleaning machine capable of guaranteeing the integrity of the coatings of all those components and spare parts intended for the LHC.

The galvanization process is widely used in the industrial field to modify the surface characteristics of materials or components to increase their level of resistance to abrasion, wear, corrosion and greasiness.

The reputation and prestige of industrial cleaning systems for metals designed and built over the years have allowed Firbimatic to be chosen by CERN for the construction of a solvent-based cleaning system equipped with a useful basket of 800 x 8000 xh 800 mm, weight max. 2 T.


This is the comment by one of the CERN Support and Development engineers:

“The main goal we intend to achieve through this system for washing metal components is a greater ability to manage the wide variety of cleaning needs”.

Through the installation made for CERN, FIRBIMATIC has actually offered a valid solution to a series of needs, namely:

  • avoid the use of aqueous solutions on materials such as carbon steel or weakly alloyed steels so as to avoid oxidation of the components themselves;
  • degrease parts contaminated with silicone-based lubricants and or greases.


The cleaning system for special components and pipes built for CERN was designed for continuous production on three shifts, ensuring a high level of cleanliness even on geometrically challenging parts.

The choice of the solvent fell on the modified alcohol.

We recommend you read this article to find out in detail how to use the Solvent safely inside an airtight solvent cleaning system.

The washing cycle of the system begins with a pre-washing of the surfaces of the pipes through a jet of hot solvent fired at high pressure, followed by a complete immersion.

The addition of the kinetic energy generated by the recirculation of the solvent while the components are immersed , ensures that all contaminants are detached from the substrate and effectively eliminated from the washing chamber as they are captured by a system of mechanical filters or diverted to the distillation units used for the purification of the solvent itself once the washing cycle is finished.

This phase guarantees considerable savings in terms of solvent used; in addition, the fact that the entire washing cycle is carried out under vacuum allows all restrictions related to air pressure to be eliminated.

At the end of the washing cycle, the liquid solvent is discharged, the steam generated during the distillation phase is used for the final rinsing of the special components which are vacuum-dried.


The washing process described above allows our customer to achieve excellent results in terms of percentage of clean surface.

This result is demonstrated by a series of tests and analyzes:

  • TOC Analysis, a process that allows you to monitor and measure the contamination linked to the presence of organic carbon inside the machine;
  • from the Gravimetric Evaluation test to determine the mass of the particulate, or of dirt residues of the contamination;
  • from the evaluation process of the Surface Tension (Dynes/Cm) which allows to perform daily tests on the surface of the components in a clean and unclean environment.

Do you want to know more?


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