The market offers a variety or detergents, which can be emulsified in water, some of which, if used on certain types of polluting materials, can give results close to those obtained with solvents. In some other cases though, it is necessary to improve the quality of the wash by increasing the mechanical action, combining the hydro-dynamic effect of the high pressure nozzles or by way of the hydro-kinetics created by the Ultrasonics. Another fundamental element of the water-based systems is the number of tanks that create it and that are necessary due to the number of washes and rinses required.
Firbimatic has got the Masterwash range of machines that varies from one to more tanks, which according to the specifications can be used in different working layouts, with a variety of products, while always respecting one of the fundamental aspects of water based washing procedures, which is the total independence of the tanks and relative washing circuits. Ultrasonics and vacuum system technologies are also available to complete the line and ensure excellent drying and optimal washing results.
Water is not a cleaning agent, it is the vehicle used to carry the additives and detergents which increase the washing power and facilitate the removal of the polluting materials; generally these additives consist of two combined elements, a surface-active agent and the building agent.
Normally the inorganic components of water-based detergents are environmentally friendly, whereas by law synthetic surface-active agents must be 80 to 90% biodegradable. It is better however to voluntarily avoid the use of raw materials that turn into in products that can be harmful to the aquatic environment (like nonylphenolic etossilats).
From the point of view of emissions into the atmosphere the use of water-based solutions respects the environment. However, before discharging the drained water it is necessary to eliminate the polluting materials (salts, oils, heavy metals, pastes, etc.) by way of specific treatments: in depth filtration, floatation, active carbon filtering, reverse osmosis, evaporation, distillation, etc.
Running costs are determined by a variety of factors:
- Cost of detergent (price per litre/gallon of the degreasing solution);
- cost of hydro required to heat up the degreasing and rinsing baths;
- expense for water supply;
- recycling expenses.
When choosing between a water-based system and a solvent-based system it is suggested one take all these different aspects into consideration NOT just limiting the decision to simple intuition.