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What are degreasers?

Degreasers remove grease, oils, cutting fluids, anti-corrosion coatings, handling soils, and other contamination in processes such as metalwork, refineries, motor repair, airplane hangars, general workshop maintenance, rig washing, and may other areas

The degreaser should remove the soil and reduce the time and mechanical action required substantially.  Safic offers a large selection of degreasers and maintenance cleaners which range from economical heavy-industry cleaners to non-flammable electrical contact cleaners.

Why are degreasers necessary?

Oil, grease, dirt, rust, and other oxidation contamination can cause slipping hazards, overheating, and increased electrical resistance. Soils also need to be removed from surfaces before coatings are applied and before engines can be worked on.

Degreasers can clean equipment and areas that include:

  • Various motors and engines and parts.

  • Hydraulics

  • Electrical equipment

  • Transformers and generators

  • Electrical motors, equipment, and armatures

  • Chains, cables, and pulleys.

  • Vehicles with road tar or other dirt on the paint. 

  • Workshop and general floor cleaning.

Degreasers form an essential part of maintenance and general cleaning and housekeeping.

Types of degreaser

Water-based degreasers

The technology of water-based degreasers has improved substantially over the years and good water-based degreasers can achieve results that traditionally only solvent-based degreasers could previously. Water-based degreasers are generally diluted further depending on the application and this leads to a significant saving with safety and environmental benefits too.

Safic’s water-based degreasers include Saf Power, Saf EA Degrease, and Saf Industrial.

Powder Degreasers

Powder degreasers are generally dissolved in water before application and are often very effective as floor cleaners. As powder degreasers, significantly more suspending agents can be included, which makes washing dirt away more effective.

Safic’s Powder degreasers include Saf Powderklenz and the Degrakleen range.

Solvent Degreasers

When dealing with very thick grease and dirt, solvent degreasers may be required. These degreasers can contain flammable alcohol and hydrocarbon solvents and should be used in areas where it is safe to do so. High flashpoint solvents have are generally safe at ambient temperatures.

Note that solvents can cause plastic and rubber to soften, swell or become brittle, if the area to be cleaned has rubber of plastic, testing before use is very important.

Safic’s solvent degreasers include Saf EA Xtreme Force, Saf Heavy, and Saf High Flash.

Electrical Contact Cleaners

A contact cleaner (also called an electrical safety solvent) cleans electrical contacts, switches and other electrical equipment and components.

Dielectric strength – When cleaning electrical equipment, a degreaser with a high dielectric strength should be used. This generally excludes any water-based products or products that need to be rinsed. The Dielectric strength of a product is the maximum electric field that the material can withstand before its insulating properties break down. A product with high dielectric strength is important in these applications.

Safic’s electrical contact cleaners include Saf Non Flash, Saf Elec, and Saf EA Contact.

Toxicity and environmental effects  

It is important to review the SDS of any degreaser that is used to understand the toxicity and environmental effects before use. Some products may be cheap and clean well, but may pose health and safety and environmental dangers.

Biodegradability of the degreaser is important and it is important that the degradation process does not lead to more toxic substances.

It is important to determine whether the degreaser being used has a quick split emulsion system, this allows the oil to and grease to be easily separated from the wastewater. The oil can then be recycled or used in other applications and the wastewater can be more easily treated.

The ways to degrease

  • Trigger sprays – Spray bottles are often used to apply water-based degreasers.

  • Pressure washing systems – water-based degreasers are often effectively applied using pressure washing systems.

  • Immersion – Parts can be immersed in a tray or bucket or parts washer with solvent or water-based degreaser, and then wiped, brushed or rinsed off. Immersion tanks for degreasing can form part of a larger system often found in phosphating plants.

  • Aerosols – Aerosols are an effective way of dispensing solvent-based degreasers, particularly contact cleaners.

  • Ultrasonic – Here soundwaves are used with the degreaser in order to remove the dirt. It is very effective in certain applications.

  • Vapour degreaser – Vapour degreasing is very effective for certain critical materials; the solvent vapour cleans the product in a sealed container. Usually, the solvent can be reused a number of times.

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