Vapour degreasing is a generic term used for a cleaning process that uses a hot (traditionally chlorinated or fluorinated solvent) as the cleaning medium. However, more accurately, it is the simplest, and traditionally, was the most commonly used, solvent cleaning or degreasing process.
When solvent such as Perchloroethylene is heated to its boiling point, it produces a vapour. When the hot vapour encounters an item at a lower temperature, such as a metallic component to be cleaned, it condenses and washes over the surface, in this process it dissolves any contamination oils/greases that it comes into contact with.
When the vapour condenses the latent heat released will gradually heat up the component until it reaches the same temperature as the vapour, this is the point at which, condensing, and thus vapour cleaning, stops. When the component is removed from the hot solvent vapour, the heat retained by the item evaporates the thin film of liquid solvent, leaving the part clean and dry.
Vapour cleaning is more commonly used on modern equipment as a process stage usually a rinse after the main wash. As vapour degreasing is not so effective on complex items with blind holes, cavities etc., the main wash stages of current solvent degreasing processes immerse the components into liquid solvent, either at the boiling point or irradiated with ultrasonic energy, the mechanical action of the ultrasonic agitation gives a more effective cleaning process, before the pure vapour stage ensures a clean and dry uncontaminated result.
The term Closed comes from the European Standard EN12921, which defines a cleaning machine which is suitable for use with only with non-flammable solvents. EN12921 identifies six equipment types, Types III, IV and V are termed 'CLOSED' these machines relate to processes where cleaning, rinsing and drying takes place in a single, sealed chamber. This chamber is CLOSED until the process cycle has been completed. Closed machines typically have carbon abatement systems and don’t require an external vent to atmosphere
Again the term comes from the European Standard EN12921, similarly using non-flammable solvents. From the standard, Types II, and III are termed ‘ENCLOSED’ and relate to machines where a conventional solvent (degreasing) cleaning process is contained within an enclosure that isolates the process from the machine operator. An Enclosed machine offers a higher level of process containment than an, open-topped machine equipment
This is defined in the standard as Type I, it is traditional solvent degreasing system without covers offering the lowest level of exposing the operator the cleaning process.
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