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Opteon™ cleaning solvents take off for aerospace manufacturers

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At Fraser Technologies, we have had the opportunity to work with most of the country’s leading aerospace manufacturers to support their component cleaning, degreasing processes, and their electronics manufacturing needs.

In a highly competitive and innovative industry sector, it is no surprise that our aerospace customers demand the best chemistries and technologies that provide high quality results, while also minimising time, cost, and with increasing importance, the environmental impact.

Through the supply of best in class, high performance speciality products, and our industry-specific expertise, we provide customers with bespoke solutions to suit a variety of needs…

High quality solvent cleaning for aerospace

Many of our most popular products are from the Chemours™ Opteon™ range, which includes specialty fluids offering superior cleaning performance; recyclability and reusability; safety; and ease of use. These products also have an ultralow Global Warming Potential* to improve environmental impact. For example, HFC 4310, a commonly used fluorinated solvent, has a GWP of 1300 compared to our Opteon™ SF80® solvent, which has a GWP of less than 2.

Designed to meet the high solvency needs of the industrial cleaning market, the Opteon™ range is used in the aerospace industry for oil and grease removal, precision cleaning, high solvency defluxing, silicone removal, vapour degreasing and cold cleaning.

The products have remarkable solvency power (KB value = 103 for SF79®), which makes it a good substitute for banned or restricted solutions such as trichloroethylene (TCE), n-propyl bromide (nPB), benzene, perchloroethylene, and methylene chloride.

Opteon™ in action

In 2017, we worked with leading aerospace manufacturer, BAE Systems, to find a safer solvent alternative to the now-banned, nPB that they were using.

Following an audit of existing systems and technologies, it was determined that Opteon™ SF79® was a suitable replacement. Since moving to Opteon™ SF79®, BAE has achieved the cleaning performance to their required high standard, while also significantly reducing their environmental footprint. As SF79® does not have the acidity issues that nPB does, the customer’s usage was significantly reduced simply because fewer clean outs were required. And importantly, it is safe and easy for operators to use.

Emissions monitoring undertaken following the introduction of SF79® showed a reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to atmosphere compared with the previous solvent. The product’s low GWP also contributes to reducing the environmental impact of site operations.

SF79® has also proven successful for another of our customers; a well-known, midlands-based, pioneering aerospace engineering company.

As a leading engine producer for large civil aircraft, corporate jets, and defence aircraft, the company is world-renowned in high-speed jet engines, so it’s imperative we provide them with extremely high levels of cleaning performance for their mechanical components.

Each part needs to be spotlessly clean – with maximum particle sizes of just 10 microns – in order to perform its role. The team uses a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to ensure each component is machined to very accurate tolerances. The tolerances for measurement are just five microns, so even small particulate material has an impact on this process.

With demand for ever higher levels of cleanliness and increased efficiencies across the business, the company identified that improvements could be made in some of their component cleaning processes. They had been using an aqueous system and we were keen to trial a solvent solution, which we believed would deliver the best results.

We recommended Opteon™ SF79®, which can remove particulates down to submicron levels without leaving residues. The final trial report confirmed that false failures during the CMM test process, generated by residual contamination, had been eliminated. Since instalment in June 2019, the company has seen a 100% success rate for cleanliness for these components.

Chris Jeffrey, manufacturing engineer at the company, led the project. He commented: “The 100% cleanliness success rate is exactly what we were looking for. The process is significantly more efficient, which has in turn reduced our lead times and costs. This reduces the cost of the engine and the time spent on the process, which ultimately allows for increased innovation and guarantees the brand’s quality.”

Following this successful implementation, SF79 has now received full approval from this pioneering aerospace manufacturer, and setting this new standard has resulted in many others also transitioning.

Working with aerospace for electronics manufacturing

As well as our cleaning expertise, Fraser Technologies has 50 years of experience in the electronics industry and we provide aerospace customers with products that make the manufacture of electronics faster, more cost effective and with more precise quality control.

Our soldering solutions partner, Koki, a leading global soldering solutions company, offers a range of products with key features that are well-suited to the aerospace industry.

Within Koki’s wide range of versatile and highly technical products, we offer soldering products designed to address the many challenges of the aerospace industry. For example, these include products which are powerful wetting; super low voiding; extremely low flux residues and splattering; crack free, ICT friendly flux residues; moisture-proof flux residue; anti-electromigration; anti head-in-pillow; and halogen free, amongst other capabilities.

For more information about how our cleaning and soldering solutions can support aerospace manufacturing, please get in touch with us here.

*Global warming is a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, generally attributed to the greenhouse effect, caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants. GWP is used to represent the equivalent of C02 being released into the atmosphere. So 1kg of C02 = a GWP of 1.

Keep safe & thank you!


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