Medical products, such as implants, instruments and aids, not only need to be sterile, they also have to be free of residues from production processes. The necessary cleanliness can be achieved reliably, reproducibly and cost-effectively with the quattroClean snow-jet cleaning system, despite some products having complex geometries. In addition, the dry and environmentally neutral cleaning technology is highly compact, easy to automate and simple to integrate into production lines and cleanrooms.
Regardless of whether it is implants, surgical instruments for keyhole or conventional surgery, or many other medical products, residues from production processes pose a risk to the patient, even if they have been sterilized together with the product. In recent years, it has become increasingly important to remove dirt from manufactured parts, such as process media, separating agents, particles, tiny burrs and dust. On the one hand, high levels of cleanliness and biological compatibility are required; on the other hand, neither the surfaces nor properties of the products may be impaired by the cleaning process. The classical wet chemical final cleaning step with aqueous media often has its limitations – particularly if parts have complex geometries, such as blind holes, or complex contours or structures.
By using the CO2 snow-jet system to cool, lubricate and clean whilst machining PEEK, productivity can be increased by around one third. At the same time, parts stay significantly cleaner.
Dry, residue-free and gentle cleaning process
This is where the quattroClean snow-jet cleaning technology from acp – advanced clean production GmbH opens up completely new perspectives in the medical industry. The cleaning medium used in this environmentally-neutral technology is liquid carbon dioxide, which is gained as a by-product from chemical processes, as well as from energy generation from biomass. Liquid CO2 is guided through the non-wearing two-component ring nozzle of the acp system and expands on exiting to form fine CO2 crystals. These are then bundled by a circular jacketed jet of compressed air and accelerated to supersonic speed. The patented technology ensures a uniform cleaning effect – even on large surfaces where several nozzles are used. The jet of snow and compressed air has
a temperature of minus 78.5°C and can be focused exactly where it is needed. When it impacts on the surface to be cleaned, a combination of thermal, mechanical, sublimation and solvent effects take place. These four cleaning mechanisms enable the quattroClean system to reliably and reproducibly remove filmic contamination, for example residues of cooling lubricants, process oils, polishing pastes, separating agents and silicons, as well as dirt, such as chips, dust and tiny burrs. The low temperature of the CO2 snow jet also makes the cleaning process bacteriostatic, thus
helping to reduce surface germ counts. Due to the fact that the cleaning step using non-combustible, non-corrosive and non-toxic CO2 snow is also gentle on materials, even delicate and finely-structured surfaces can be treated – either the entire surface or just a specific area as required. The aerodynamic force of the jet transports detached dirt away from the product and is then extracted from the cleaning cell together with the gaseous sublimated CO2. Since the workpieces are dry on completion of the cleaning process, they can be further processed or sterilized/packaged immediately.