Size, process, specialty, expense, safety and environmental impact are all factors that may play a role in your decision when looking to purchase industrial cleaning equipment. However, the qualities that make the difference are REPUTATION, EXPERIENCE and SERVICE CAPACITY of the manufacturer. The major types of industrial cleaning equipment and processes used today are Pyrolysis (Burn-Off) Ovens, Fluidized Bed Pyrolysis Ovens, Vacuum Pyrolysis Ovens, Abrasive Blasting and Chemical/Salt Bath. Each of these processes offer unique cleaning capabilities but they also come with distinct disadvantages and some negative consequences – all except Burn-Off Ovens. Yes, I’m biased – I own Pollution Control Products Co. and we’re the world’s leading manufacturer of Controlled Pyrolysis® Cleaning Ovens. Nonetheless, I think a brief review will clarify my position.
Abrasive blasting will not work for parts with small or concealed cavities (breaker plates, spinnerets, blown film dies, diesel filters, heat exchangers, etc.). Also, abrasives will not work for many materials because the abrasive medium simply bounces off. And although chemicals can penetrate small or concealed cavities it is often ineffective against polymers. Even for those who can clean their parts using abrasive blasting or chemical cleaning, the environmental and health risks are high. Each of these methods employ a consumable medium which must be periodically disposed of and replaced creating more costs and potential health and environmental hazards.
Although an effective cleaning process, vacuum ovens are powered by electricity which makes them 4 times more expensive to operate than gas-fired ovens. They are primarily used to remove polymers from very small metal parts – the average cleaning chamber usually measuring around 2-4 cubic feet. During the cleaning process, polymers are melted into a primary trap collector pan. The remaining polymer and pyrolysis gases are water scrubbed and collected in a secondary trap. Vacuum Ovens will not remove carbon. As a result, after processing, parts are coated with a black soot which must be rinsed or wiped clean.
Primarily used in the plastics processing industry, Fluidized Bed Ovens are relatively small, cleaning small parts in small quantities. Both Fluidized Bed Ovens and Vacuum Ovens are usually a little pricier than Burn-Off Ovens. Additional operational components may account for this – 1) a vacuum pump and connection accessories for Vacuum Ovens, and 2) consumables like aluminum oxide and sand for Fluidized Bed Ovens. Afterburners are optional equipment on both of these ovens, however, strict environmental laws and heavy loads of polymers would probably require the added expense of an afterburner in order to control hydrocarbon emissions.
- Size – Pollution Control offers ovens from 13 cubic feet to 3,000 cubic feet or more.
- Process – Pollution Control Burn-Off ovens safely and effectively remove paints, coatings, polymers, grease, oil, sludge and other organic materials from metal parts and equipment by the process of Controlled® Pyrolysis. They’re easy to operate with fully automated controls and water sprinkler systems. Plus, every furnace is equipped with a powerful afterburner, eliminating all hydrocarbon emissions during processing.
- Specialty – Pollution Control ovens service over 800 industrial classifications. including everything from lab glass and precious metal extraction to reclamation of truck chassis, electric motors, engine blocks, oil field heat exchangers, manufacturing dies and giant industrial turbines! They’re also used by the U.S. military. PCPC ovens safely remove paint, coatings, polymers, oil, grease, sludge and hundreds of other organic materials.
- Expense – They’re gas operated – economical and pollution-free! The cost per cubic feet of cleaning capacity, service, maintenance and operating cost beats all other processes hands down.
- Safety – Burn-off ovens eliminate the use of dangerous abrasives and acids and the cost and hazards of their disposal. Pollution Control ovens feature automated temperature controls insuring safety and effectiveness.
- Environmental Impact – Powerful afterburners consume all hydrocarbon emissions leaving only a small amount of carbon dioxide and water vapor to exit into the environment. Pollution Control ovens keep thousands of tons of chemicals and VOC’s out of the environment each year. A Pollution Control customer in Europe remarked, “In the EU we test ash residue from our PCPC oven regularly and most of the time any hydrocarbons that may be there are infinitesimal and too small to measure.” Powered by clean natural gas, Pollution Control Burn-Off Ovens are virtually Pollution-Free.
Pollution Control’s “Controlled Pyrolysis®” Burn-Off oven is this most popular oven in use today and the recognized leader in thermal stripping technology for over four decades. Major markets served include Paint & Powder Coaters, Plastics, Chemical & Fabric industries, Automotive Engine Rebuilders, Electric Motor Rebuilders, Oil & Gas Production and Industrial Contract Cleaners – in total, over 800 industrial classifications plus the U.S. military. With proper maintenance, these ovens have a service life of twenty to thirty years. To insure their long life and efficiency Pollution Control maintains an expert team of service engineers and a well-stocked inventory of parts available to ship same day in most cases. Our service engineers are available free over the phone to help you with any technical or maintenance issues which may arise. Our furnaces have been proven and field-tested with over 8,000 installations in the U.S. and 43 countries worldwide.
by Jo Simpson