Alkaline cleaners owe their detergency to the displacement of soils by surface active materials (surfactants) and alkaline builders to create emulsions that are easily rinsed away. The correct blend of builders, surfactants and conditioners will provide the aqueous cleaner you need.
Determining factors in alkaline cleaner selection:
- Determine the basis metal undergoing the cleaning process. This is a most critical step to assure that the builders chosen will not attack the basis metal. Remember that soft metals such as aluminum, zinc, and zinc alloys will require a milder (lower pH) cleaning solution.
- Choose a cleaner formulated to effectively remove the soils most commonly encountered on the basis metal.
- Drawing and stamping compounds typically require higher heat to saponify the animal fat usually encountered with this type of soil.
- Simple rust preventive oils and water-soluble coolants are most easily removed with less aggressive (lower pH) containing products and lower temperatures.
- Waxes, heavy oil rust preventives, and heavy corrosion resistant compounds usually require a combination of an aggressive cleaning compound (higher pH), strong emulsifiers, and dispersing agents along with higher temperatures in order to effectively clean the metal substrate.
- Choose a cleaner that is consistent with the method by which the parts will be processed: Immersion cleaners versus spray cleaners. Formulations of these products differ significantly.
- Decide if a liquid cleaner or powdered product is preferred. The liquid A product can be easily automated and are typically safer to handle. Powdered products on the other hand are usually more economical.