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Revolutionising Dental Manufacturing: A Case Study in Component Cleaning for Improved Performance and Safety

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Millions of its dental burs help dentists improve smiles globally every year. Prima Dental itself had cause to smile after component cleaning specialist Fraser Technologies helped the dental manufacturer solve some component cleaning solvent issues.

With a 150-year dental manufacturing heritage, Gloucester-based Prima Dental produces around 30 million dental burs – or drill bits – per year. In June 2015, Prima’s Production Engineer, Nigel Frampton, contacted Fraser with a view to replacing the Methylene Chloride cleaning solvent used to clean the burs with an agent offering an improved health and safety profile. We were delighted to work in partnership with the Dental Manufacturing giant.


In the fast-paced and evolving field of dental manufacturing, Prima Dental has been a frontrunner for over 150 years, producing millions of dental burs annually to enhance smiles worldwide. Seeking to improve the health and safety profile of their component cleaning process, Prima Dental turned to Fraser Technologies, a specialist in component cleaning, for a solution. This case study highlights the successful collaboration between engineers and medical professionals, resulting in enhanced performance, optimized safety, and exceptional solvent recovery.

The Dental Manufacturing Challenge:

Prima Dental’s Production Engineer, Nigel Frampton, approached Fraser Technologies in June 2015 with a specific goal in mind: to replace the existing Methylene Chloride cleaning solvent with a safer alternative while maintaining efficient cleaning processes. Prima Dental utilized two Crest AVD 500 semi-automated solvent cleaning systems, necessitating a solution that aligned with their high-volume cleaning requirements.

Exploring New Options:

After in-depth discussions, Fraser Technologies recommended conducting a comparison between the existing Methylene Chloride agent and a new-generation fluorinated solvent called Opteon™ Sion™. Known for its high 100 KB cleaning power and improved safety profile, Sion emerged as a promising alternative. Although aqueous cleaning was considered, it was deemed less efficient for Prima Dental’s volume demands, leading them to focus on Sion.

Successful Trials and Optimisations:

To assess the technical performance of Sion, initial trials took place at Fraser Technologies’ Livingston in-house trial unit, where Sion showcased superior cleaning results. Moreover, concerns about high solvent losses in Prima Dental’s existing process were addressed through on-site trials and a comprehensive system audit. Repairs, cleaning process optimization, and the involvement of Fraser Technologies ensured significant reductions in solvent usage, further streamlining the cleaning process.

Recoverability and Cost Considerations in Dental Manufacturing:

While on-site trials were successful, the introduction of oil caused frequent tank clean-outs and solvent disposal. Opteon Sion’s stability and recoverability proved advantageous, enabling the recovery of 90-95% of the solvent content from the waste stream. To maximize solvent reuse, off-line distillation equipment was utilized, which demonstrated a remarkable recovery rate of 74% of the overall waste stream. Despite its higher cost per litre compared to Methylene Chloride, Sion’s high recoverability and process optimization ensured comparable running costs.

The Path to Adoption for The Dental Manufacturer:

Impressed by the performance and benefits of the Sion process, Prima Dental embraced the change, avoiding costly equipment replacements and enjoying enhanced performance, improved health and safety, and environmental profiles. Satisfied with the initial results, Prima Dental expanded the implementation of the Sion process, leading to the installation of a new-generation Crest F100-1010 cleaning system and an off-line still, both of which showcased remarkable results and cost-effectiveness.

Going Above and Beyond:

Throughout the collaboration, Fraser Technologies proved to be more than a supplier of equipment and chemistries. Their pre-sale audit of Prima Dental’s cleaning process, product trials, and innovative thinking played a crucial role in delivering a comprehensive component cleaning solution. The partnership not only enhanced Prima Dental’s performance but also helped them maintain a competitive edge in the industry.


The successful collaboration between Prima Dental and Fraser Technologies illustrates the remarkable outcomes achieved when engineers and medical professionals join forces to enhance processes in the medical industry. By replacing the existing cleaning solvent with Opteon Sion, Prima Dental achieved improved performance, enhanced health and safety, and excellent solvent recovery. This case study serves as a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration, driving continuous advancements in the dental manufacturing sector.

To learn more about Opteon™ Sion™ (edit 2023 – now known as ) SF79 and other cutting-edge cleaning solvents, please read more here on some of the results in this particular case study.


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