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In Situ Recycling of Cleaning and Rinsing Fluids

In Situ Recycling of Cleaning and Rinsing Fluids
The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of how to achieve these targets at the lowest possible cost.
Production Floor


Authored By:

Steve Stach
Austin American Technology
Burnet, Texas USA


Recycling cleaning and rinsing fluids in the manufacturing process is becoming very popular for many reasons. Competitiveness is the key issue as the electronics industry ages. In our golden years, paying attention to the expenses is very important in managing the bottom line. Up to 50% of the monthly utility bills to run the manufacturing line can be related to cleaning the product.

Implementing fluid recycling can feed the savings and align management with a positive environmental impact and improved employee health and safety. Accelerating this change is management's awareness of new and proposed government regulations to protect the work force and the environment. The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of how to achieve these targets at the lowest possible cost.

Choosing the best recycling system requires knowledge of the cleaning process and current available recycling technologies. Recycling systems can be specific to a cleaning fluid type. In some instances, the cleaning fluid can be changed to a more recycling friendly fluid. Fluid properties such as alkalinity or flammability can complicate the selection process. Understanding the cleaning process, the fluids used, and appropriate recycling technologies available is very important in selecting a lean and green cleaning process that meets the planned corporate targets.

In situ machine recycling has become the new standard for new cleaning systems. These systems recycle the cleaning fluids in the machine versus sending the fluids to a remote location in the plant or to a third party recycler. These systems can be built into new or existing cleaners. Recycling the cleaning fluids within the cleaner, almost always gives the lowest cost due to reduction of logistics, storage, transport, and third party charges.

A cost model should be used to evaluate the choices and select the best options for your cleaning process. To better illustrate the decision process, A cost model is evaluated to compare an open loop aqueous inline cleaner, a remotely located closed loop inline and a in situ closed loop inline. The cost model with field data is used to estimate the cost savings of recycling for each system.


Recycling systems allowing reuse of cleaning and rinsing solutions is becoming more popular because of social and economic pressures to recycle and save earth's resources. Achieving these goals can enhance the Companies image and bottom line. This pace is now accelerating to lower capital and resource consumption in cleaning systems.

There are recycling strategies available for every cleaning and rinsing fluid. In the future cleaning fluid suppliers will certainly improve the compatibility with close looping new fluids. The evolution of the new formulas will move away from compounds that are deleterious to closed looped systems.

In situ machine recycling will likely become the new standard for new cleaning system design because of lower capital and operational costs. A cost model should be used to evaluate the choices and select the best options for your cleaning process. In situ closed loop cleaning systems offer the lowest capital and operational costs for modern high volume cleaners.

Recycling cleaning and rinsing fluids has the potential to save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars per year over the cost of operating open loop systems. The down side of recycling is that companies will need knowledgeable people and capable cleaning systems to achieve the savings. At some point in the near future it will no longer be acceptable to send water, heat, and chemicals down the drain. Companies that do achieve the savings will have a competitive advantage.

Initially Published in the IPC Proceedings


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