EcoCSteam equipment can be used to clean products made from
reinforced plastics e.g. prior to a coating process. It can also be used to clean production
equipment.
EcoCSteam equipment can be used to clean products made from reinforced plastics e.g. prior to a coating process. It can also be used to clean production equipment.

The EcoCSteam steam cleaning process ensures removal of contaminants such as oils, grease, emulsions, mould lubricants, chips, particles, dust and fingerprints from any material without the use of detergents.The technology can be used to clean products made from reinforced plastics e.g. prior to a coating or painting process, and it can also be used to clean production equipment used in composites processes.

The EcoCSteam steam cleaning technology is based on the use of saturated steam plus an airflow accelerated to a high velocity. As well as eliminating the use of chemicals, the EcoCSteam process can be easily automated, reports Dürr Ecoclean GmbH of Filderstadt, Germany.

The EcoCSteam cleaning process is commonly performed in one or two steps, which translates into shorter cleaning cycles compared to conventional methods, the company says. The equipment also provides operating cost savings since no chemical cleaning agents are needed and no bath treatment and filtration equipment is required. It is also said to be reliable and easy to maintenance, resulting in less downtime.

New steam generation method

The EcoCSteam process features a new steam generation method based on the principle of 'flow-through' water heating, whereby pressurised water is passed through a piping system comprising heater coils. Depending on the cleaning task, the water is heated to a temperature between 135°C and 280°C. Its conversion to steam takes place before the water is pumped to the cleaning nozzle.

Unlike conventional boiler systems, this method ensures that steam is made available in constant amounts and quality. The water and steam flow rates as well as heating power can be accurately adapted to the cleaning application via the EcoCSteam system's programmable logic controller (PLC), which also monitors and controls these parameters.

Dürr Ecoclean reports that the system's outstanding cleaning performance is the result of the interaction of saturated steam with a high-velocity airflow. As the steam jet exits the nozzle, it is enshrouded all around by heated air accelerated to a very high velocity and thus focused directly onto the surface to be cleaned. Any intermixing between the two media is prevented by the high flow velocity of the air and the properties of the steam.

For an optimum cleaning result the moisture content of the steam can be accurately adapted to the cleaning task or specific contamination type. For example, to removing oil, wet steam is applied to modify the oil viscosity so that the oil will be atomised into ultra-fine droplets. These are then blown off the part surface, along with particulate contaminants, by the airflow. The high-velocity airflow also provides a drying function.