The notion that aqueous cleaning consists only of a steel drum and hose is obviously a thing of the past. Aqueous cleaning entered the realm of advanced technology years ago and has been improving by leaps and bounds annually.
These technological advances have prompted many rebuilders to re-evaluate their cleaning processes and perhaps take a second look at aqueous cleaning as a primary source of cleaning, something that was out of vogue in the machine shop as recently as 10 to 15 years ago because of increasingly stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. At that time, many rebuilders and remanufacturers turned to baking and shot blasting as their primary cleaning process because of the ability to clean baked-on carbon and other contaminants without the hassle of a lot of follow-up cleaning. But, improvements in waste water processing have also encouraged some rebuilders to take a second look at aqueous cleaning.
In addition, Ed Kiebler, national sales manager for the MART Corp., claims that heat cleaning and shot blasting can create a lot of extra work for rebuilders. The MART Corp. makes 34 different models of aqueous cleaning machines that feature 104 different options.
Another reason aqueous-based cleaning is gaining more favor these days with some rebuilders is because solvent cleaning is being legislated against.
"There is more of an acceptance for aqueous-based cleaning," says Frank Pedeflous, of Omegasonics. "With regulations changing against solvents and people looking for labor-saving devices, aqueous is gaining favor."