Case Study: nPB (N-Propyl Bromide) Replacement
N-Propyl Bromide (nPB or 1-Bromopropane) is a toxic solvent often used in cleaning or vapor degreasing applications. As a suspected human carcinogen and proven animal carcinogen, it has been targeted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for risk evaluation and the European Union has banned it’s use without authorization after July 4, 2020. It is clear that nPB use will soon be banned or greatly restricted and existing users are encouraged to look for a replacement.
Companies presently using nPB are searching for safe, economical and effective replacements for nPB and Magnus Engineered Equipment has been successful in assisting customers to replace nPB with less costly, non-hazardous chemistry while accomplishing the same or improved cleaning. The following is an example where Magnus Engineered Equipment helped a customer develop a cleaning process utilizing nPB and then further helped them replace nPB with non-hazardous, environmentally friendly chemistry.
Highly crosslinked polyurethane is one of the toughest and most durable polymers, and producers often mold this material into usable items such as wheels for roller coasters and skateboards, hoses and automotive suspension bushings. The molds can become contaminated and cleaning the molds is a difficult and time-consuming process.
MEE worked with a customer to develop a chemical cleaning process for their polyurethane molds (steel and aluminum). Previously, a media blasting method was utilized to clean the molds and the process required mold dis-assembly and up to 4 hours of blasting. Using MEE Powersonics, the world’s most powerful magnetostrictive ultrasonic cleaning technology, MEE was able to demonstrate mold cleaning in less than 5 minutes with no mold dis-assembly. (This result was not achievable with less powerful piezoelectric ultrasonic cleaning). With this success in hand, attention was directed at finding a safer chemistry. Powersonics coupled with Acrastrip chemistry by US Polychem was able to replicate the performance achieved with nPB. Acrastrip is a water-soluble, non-hazardous environmentally friendly cleaner that was designed to replace acetone, toluene, MEK, Methylene Chloride, Xylene, MIBK, NPB, Ketones, and other petroleum-based products. In addition, Acrastrip is HAPS free, biodegradable, non-flammable, non-toxic, pH neutral and recyclable.
A Polyurethane mold cleaned with powerful 20 kHz magnetostrictive ultrasonic technology and water-based Acrastrip cleaner
The cleaning tandem of MEE magnetostrictive ultrasonics and Polychem Acrastrip is one example of how MEE can assist customers who are looking to replace nPB with a safer, more cost-effective and quality cleaning operation. MEE Powersonics is the world’s most powerful ultrasonic cleaning technology and can often deliver successful cleaning where less powerful piezoelectric ultrasonics fail.