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There have been reports circulating recently stating that EnSolv is to be banned in Europe because of its ozone depletion potential (ODP).

However, this is not true; as part of its continuing commitment to the Montreal Protocol process, the European Parliament monitors known and potential ozone depleting substances used in refrigeration, fumigation and solvent-cleaning processes to ensure that the European Union meets its international responsibilities.

As a result of the rapid increase in usage of EnSolv for vapour degreasing, the use of the main constituent, n-Propyl Bromide (nPB), will, in future, be monitored but not restricted or banned.

Volatile halogenated compounds are the substances that most affect the ozone layer.

Compounds containing fluorine, in particular, are under constant review as flourine is the most reactive of the halogens.

The original fluorocarbons, CFC R11 and 113, sold in Europe as Freon and Arklone, were used as refrigerants, aerosol propellants and cleaning solvents and were the original reasons for ozone depletion; they were phased out of use during the 1970s and 1980s, allowing the ozone layer to slowly recover.

Many others have been restricted and banned since this time, the most recent, used for cleaning, being HCFC 141b.

When it was first introduced, it was assumed to be an acceptable replacement.

However, further work over the following years established that it, too, was depleting the ozone layer and it was banned, together with other fluorine-based liquids used in refrigeration and air conditioning (the ‘F’ gases).

Now, new fluorine compounds and blends are being offered as alternatives for cleaning, such as HFEs and HFCs, and only time will tell whether these will also cause problems with ozone depletion and global warming.

EnSolv, a patented stabilised nPB-based formulation, is the drop-in substitute for the carcinogen trichloroethylene in vapour degreasing.

This process is used throughout the manufacturing industry as it offers many advantages when compared to alternative technologies such as water cleaning.

First, EnSolv is very fast, with a cycle time of three to five minutes and comparative water cleaning cycles of 30 to 60 minutes.

It also carries out eight to 10 loads per hour compared to water cleaning cycles of one to two per hour.

Additionally, it is said to be energy efficient, using only 50 per cent of the energy requirements of aqueous systems with savings in C02 emissions.

Solvent cleaning with EnSolv – when all the factors are considered – is claimed to be more economical in terms of money and its effects on the environment.

Vapour degreasing with fluorocarbon solvents is unsatisfactory as a result of their low vapour temperatures.

EnSolv, however, is said to offer better levels of vapour cleaning.

With a boiling point of 70C, EnSolv allows parts that do not corrode in storage to be handled immediately.

Very little monitoring is needed as the stabiliser system, patented worldwide, is self regulating.

Sales of EnSolv have grown rapidly over the past two years, which is why the European Commission has to monitor the increased consumption.

As with many other substances, nPB is under constant review by the UN Environmental Panel (EP) to ensure that it is not affecting the ozone layer.

The UN EP and the US EPA asked for a 3D study on the effects of very short-lived halogenated compounds from Prof Don Weubbles: the originator of ODPs.

This report, which is due for publication soon, will provide comparative ODPs for nPB and other commonly used halogenated solvents.

Until now, this has not been possible as a result of the difficulties of comparing different atmospheric models.

The report will, subject to the editor’s agreement, be published following peer review and demonstrates that nPB will have a minimal impact on the ozone layer and that it is no cause for concern.

As nPB is a suitable drop-in replacement for the other solvents used in vapour degreasing, it has been the subject of innumerable studies for its environmental and toxicological effects.

It is not considered by any of the international agencies as a carcinogen and, in many parts of the world, it is becoming the solvent of choice for managements that do not wish to expose their workforces to carcinogens.

However, it has been incorrectly classified as a Category 2 reproductive toxin in Europe.

The manufacturers of EnSolv have been challenging the European Commission for the last five years to justify their actions in court.

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has to implement and enforce this classification and a judicial review has been requested, which has now been suspended by mutual agreement until the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has made a judgement.

Judges in Belgium have also asked the ECJ for a ruling on the classification, which should be forthcoming in the near future.

Envirotech, a manufacturing company, has self classified EnSolv as non-flammable and R20 harmful by inhalation; it expects this to be confirmed by the court when a judgement is made.

Envirotech Europe

EnviroTech Surface Technologies supply a complete range of metal cleaning, surface treatment and protection systems which are cost effective, energy efficient and safe for users and the environment. Products are supplied through a qualified network of distributors throughout the UK and Europe.

The Best In Surface Treatment

EnviroTech Surface Technologies supply a complete range of metal cleaning, surface treatment and protection systems which are cost effective, energy efficient and safe for users and the environment. Products are supplied through a qualified network of distributors throughout the UK and Europe

Products and Services
Ensolv – Vapour Degreasing Solvents For Precision Cleaning
Environmentally friendly precision vapour degreasing and cleaning solvents for the aerospace, precision engineering, medical, optical and electronic industries.

EnSolv vapour degreasing solvents are the most effective alternative to trichloroethylene which is due to be phased out of use in Europe during 2016. Fast economical cleaning and degreasing in one tank using minimal floor area.

Aquus – Water Based Metal Cleaning And Pretreatment Processes
A range of innovative and sustainable water based metal cleaning and surface treatment products which prepare parts and fabrications for painting, powder coating or electroplating.

Phosphating systems are available to meet the needs of all manufacturers from office furniture to household appliances and for other more demanding applications in transport, aerospace, construction, oil and marine industries.

CORR-EX – Corrosion Protection Solutions
Specialist barrier film corrosion protection products, based on synthetic materials to provide safe, effective, environmentally friendly solutions to lubrication and corrosion problems.

Our solutions help to lubricate and control corrosion, and are unexcelled in preventing deterioration and contamination. Solutions for derusting, passivation, sealing and anti-corrosion packaging are also included in our product range.

Clarea – Industrial Degreasing Solvents
Environmentally safe wipe, brush, dip and immersion cleaning solvents for removing dirt, oil, grease and other contaminants from surfaces without causing harm or leaving residue.

A growing concern regarding environmental issues and health hazards of the most commonly used chlorinated solvents as degreasing agents has led to the formulation of this range of safer industrial cleaning solvents.

  • Our products and treatments offer a combination of benefits:
  • Cost effective solutions for all your metal cleaning and surface treatments needs
  • Processes are safe, environmentally friendly and energy efficient
  • Excellent customer service, technical support and training from qualified distributors throughout Europe

ProSolv – lower cost high performance fluorocarbon cleaning solvent

ProSolv – enables high performance cleaning at lower cost than other fluorinated solvent cleaners.A proprietary tertiary azeotropic formulation based on a fluorinated solvent which can be a direct replacement for chlorinated solvents ProSolv is extremely stable and simple to use meeting all the increasingly stringent legislative demands for safer, non flammable solvents with low environmental impact for the precision engineering and electronics industries

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