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3D Printing – We beat the cleaning challenges!

With rapidly advancing capabilities and applications, 3D printing is a key element of the manufacturing process for many industries, often rivalling the traditional manufacturing process for both speed and cost.

As the technology becomes more affordable and more accessible, the type of companies using 3D printing is changing. Industries including aerospace, automotive, healthcare and even DIY are commonly utilising this kind of additive manufacturing, but as the process becomes more accessible and the long term efficiencies outweigh the initial costs, an increasing number of businesses are turning to 3D printing.

Although many of these businesses will factor in the costs of the materials and start up costs when considering investing in a 3D printer, some may be less aware of the upkeep and maintenance required.

In order to offer a full supply and maintenance package, two companies are working together to make both the technological and cleaning applications available to customers within Europe.

Fraser Technologies, which provides world-leading cleaning chemistries and equipment solutions, has been working with Markforged, a US-based manufacturer of industrial 3D printers, materials, and software.

Markforged produces printers that work with metals like stainless steel, and with composites such as carbon fibre, fibreglass and Onyx. Fraser Technologies provides expert advice and solutions for cleaning printed parts.

Graham Fraser, Managing Director of Fraser Technologies, explains: “Any components produced by a 3D printer require rigorous cleaning. In some cases – depending on the materials used to create the component – the contamination may not be visible to the naked eye, but they will still need cleaning prior to assembly. Our solutions offer bespoke chemistries that are applicable to a variety of component materials to ensure all cleaning standards are upheld.”

Working closely with customers to understand their challenges, Fraser Technologies can help with many cleaning applications in an efficient manner with low environmental impact and extend the life of existing processes and parts across a wide sector of industry. Fraser Technologies provides expert advice and a wide range of world-leading chemistries and equipment solutions for component cleaning, electronics soldering, and heat transfer and carrier fluids. It offers an independent range of new generation products; comprehensive after-sales service; and a commitment to improving performance, productivity, environmental performance and operator safety.

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Surface Mount Adhesive Solutions from Koki

With 50 years of experience in the electronics industry, we’ve encountered every issue electronics manufacturers can face and continually help our customers to find the best solutions.

With our partner, Koki, a global pioneer in the field of soldering, we are proud to offer the most modern, reliable and effective products available. This means that we’re always at the forefront of technological innovation, and can assist with any new problems that arise as the industry develops.

One of Koki’s leading product ranges is its offering of surface mount adhesives. Used to secure and stabilise components prior to or during assembly, it is crucial these products dispense or print precisely, while holding firmly in place once applied. Koki’s adhesives offer excellent viscosity and rheology during application, while remaining incredibly stable during product assembly…

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Opteon™ cleaning solvents take off for aerospace manufacturers

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…

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Are your solder tip erosion rates far too high?

Solving solder wire challenges with Koki’s 72M series

Similarly to other industrial sectors, electronics manufacturers are always looking for solutions to ongoing issues and more efficient production methods.

One such demand is the need for more cost-effective solder wires. Typically, standard un-leaded solder alloys used for hand soldering wires are very aggressive and ‘eat’ soldering iron tips. As components get smaller due to design and space limitations, soldering iron tips have become more sophisticated and much more expensive…

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Are you experiencing solder joint voiding issues? Solve them with Koki’s S3X58-G803 solder paste

One of the most significant challenges in the electronics industry is the formation of voids in solder joints. Voiding typically occurs when flux or solvent in the paste becomes trapped in the joint, or paste oxidises, and empty spaces are created within the joint. Too many voids in a solder joint will impact the joint’s reliability, so it’s important this issue is avoided.

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Are you struggling with poor wetting from your current solder paste?

If you’re struggling with oxidised pads and components, combat the challenge with Koki’s S3X58-M500C-7 powerful wetting, no-clean solder paste

Most engineers and operators have experienced poor solder wetting – an extremely common challenge in the electronics industry. Poor wetting can be caused by a number of different issues including low paste volume or inconsistent soldering temperatures, but mostly this is due to oxidisation or tarnishing of the solder joints caused by poorly stored or very old components, often referred to as ‘grey’ components…

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What is GWP and how can it be reduced?

Everyone has heard of global warming, but beyond changes to the weather – like freezing winters and sweltering summers – many people don’t really know what it means.

Global warming is a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. NASA says that global warming can be attributed to the greenhouse effect, which occurs when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth. Some types of gases block heat from escaping the atmosphere and are long-lived, remaining semi-permanently in the atmosphere without responding physically or chemically to changes in temperature.

Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons are the most prevalent greenhouse gases and while some, like carbon dioxide, occur naturally, others such as chlorofluorocarbons are synthetic and their manufacture is heavily regulated.

One of the methods for measuring the impact a gas will have on the atmosphere is Global Warming Potential (GWP). GWP is used to represent the equivalent of C02 being released into the atmosphere, where 1kg of C02 = a GWP of 1. For companies manufacturing gases, and for those purchasing and using them, it is critical to manage environmental impact by keeping the GWP as low as possible.

How can cleaning solvents help?

Cleaning solvents were historically guilty of very high GWP and had seriously detrimental effects on the atmosphere. However, a new generation of solvents has been developed specifically with the environment in mind and are now far less harmful than comparable solutions.

For example, the new Opteon™ SF80® cleaning solvent from Chemours has an ultralow GWP of less than 2.5, compared to common F-gas solvents that can have a GWP of up to 11,000. Because the solvent is just as effective, and in some cases more efficient than competitor products, the environmental savings mean it is an ideal replacement.

C02 equivalent for 100kg Emissions

Reduced cost, reduced carbon footprint

A project recently undertaken by Fraser Technologies demonstrates how advantageous this change can be. One of our customers – a prominent aerospace manufacturer – asked us to look at an alternative to the high-GWP solvent they were using. We worked with them to approve SF80 and once on site, we assisted in optimising their processes to reduce solvent consumption. We introduced a solvent recovery process to allow them to further reduce waste and reuse the recovered solvent. Previously they had been using 7 Metric Tonnes per year, and this change of solvent has taken the customer’s overall usage of solvent down by 28%.

While the existing product was less expensive than SF80, the reduction in solvent usage has shown a significant cost reduction of around £30,000 per year as well as a significant reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions.

With a GWP of 990, the CO2 emissions created by the customer when using the alternative product were equal to the emissions of driving 143 times around the world (using an average sized family car) – or 7.5 times to the moon and back. In comparison, by using SF80®, the customer’s new emissions are the equivalent of driving from Edinburgh to Moscow.

We need to act now

The statistics are alarming – 18 of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001; Earth’s ice sheets are losing 413 Gigatonnes of mass per year; and the total sea levels are increasing by 3.3 millimetres per year. When you consider that this can be almost exclusively attributed to harmful gases in the atmosphere, there’s really no excuse for not taking action and making improvements where possible. When more environmentally-friendly solvents exist, which yield the same results, making a change becomes one of the easiest ways to play your part in protecting our Earth.

For more details on our new generation chemicals please visit our solvent cleaning page by clicking here.

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Our Partner Chemours Receives ACC Sustainability Leadership Award for Opteon™ Range!

Next generation of more sustainable, low-Global Warming Potential refrigerants is gaining global adoption

The Chemours Company (Chemours), a global chemistry company with leading market positions in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions, was recently presented with the Sustainability Leadership Award from the American Chemistry Council for the development of Opteon™, its industry-leading, sustainable family of refrigerant chemical products.

Chemours developed Opteon™ to help its customers meet increasing market demands for high performance, more environmentally sustainable refrigerants and blends, fueled by increasingly stringent global-warming regulations around the world, as well as changing consumer preferences. Opteon™ refrigerants have zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and very low Global Warming Potential (GWP).

“Our development of Opteon™ is a perfect example of how the power of chemistry can help solve some of the world’s largest challenges,” said Mark Vergnano, Chemours president and CEO. “Working with our value chain partners, we remain committed to providing the world with high-performing, low-GWP refrigerant products that are better for the environment. And with the start-up of our new $300 Million production facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, we have tripled our company’s capacity for Opteon™, which allows us to meet growing customer demand while investing and creating new manufacturing jobs here in the United States.”

Gaining momentum
Demand for more sustainable refrigerants has accelerated in recent years as the United States, Japan, and a number of European countries have rolled out stricter environmental standards, starting first with mobile air conditioning and then expanding into commercial refrigeration and residential and commercial air conditioning.

In mobile air conditioning, Chemours expects over 145 million vehicles on the road to be using Opteon™ YF (HFO-1234yf) by the end of 2020. Compared to previous-generation hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, Opteon™ YF reduces GWP environmental impact by more than 99%. Opteon™ YF is based on hydrofluoro olefin (HFO) chemistry and has a GWP of less than 1. By comparison, the most common refrigerant, HFC-134a, has a GWP of 1,300.

For commercial refrigeration applications in Europe, Opteon™ XP40 has been one of the leading retrofit gases for R404A/R507, particularly in the supermarket refrigeration sector. Opteon™ XP40 has played a critical role since 2015 in allowing the market to comply with the F-gas regulations.

In addition, several global companies have recently selected Opteon™ products for residential and commercial air conditioning applications, including Carrier for their ducted residential and light commercial packaged air conditioning products in North America, Carrier Transicold Europe, Mitsubishi Electric Hydronics and IT Cooling Systems SpA (MEHITS), Johnson Controls, and E-Mart, Korea’s largest hypermarket chain.

Additionally, last year Chemours announced a multi-year partnership with the National Hockey League focused on providing Opteon™ refrigerants to hockey rinks across North America. The partnership supports the NHL’s Greener Rinks Initiative, a league-wide program committed to sharing sustainable business practices with community rink owners and operators.

A different kind of chemistry company
In 2018, Chemours published its first Corporate Responsibility Commitments report, which centers on ten ambitious goals the company will focus on achieving by 2030. These goals are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and include developing and marketing products like Opteon™, which contribute to broader sustainability efforts.

“Consumers are demanding cleaner, greener, and more energy-efficient products, and we’re positioning our customers farther up the value chain to meet that demand with products like Opteon™,” said Paul Kirsch, president of Fluoroproducts at Chemours. “This is about doing well by doing good; we are dedicated to becoming a different kind of chemistry company for a world that demands more.”

About Chemours
The Chemours Company (NYSE: CC) is a global leader in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts, and chemical solutions, providing its customers with solutions in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. Chemours ingredients are found in plastics and coatings, refrigeration and air conditioning, mining, and general industrial manufacturing.

Fraser Technologies long standing partner of Chemours
We are delighted to be the official UK distributor for Chemours Opteon™ range and if you would like anymore information on any of these products please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you.

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Why we should pay more attention to new F Gas regulations

Regulations around the use of F-gases (also known as fluorinated gases) have become increasingly stringent over the last few years, and many businesses are unknowingly inadvertently breaking laws.

F-gas is most commonly thought of as an issue for the refrigeration and cooling industries, where their use is most prevalent. But, these gases can also be present in solvents, which affect a much wider variety of industry sectors. As a result, many businesses are unaware that these significant changes apply to them.

F-gases are man-made, and the most common in the EU are hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride. These were favourable for a time because they do not harm the ozone layer, have low toxicity, and are non-flammable. However, later research has found that in contrast, they have a very high Global Warming Potential (GWP). 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 Co2 being released into the atmosphere. So 1kg of Co2 = a GWP of 1. In the case of F-gases, they have a GWP of up to 11,000.

New generation of cleaning solutions have significantly lower CO2 emissions than those containing F-gas.

In 2015, the European Union released an updated F-gas Regulation to replace the one adopted in 2006, and the new targets aim to cut the EU’s 2014 F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030.

F-gas use is scheduled to be reduced by 80% over the 15 years to 2030.

To achieve this, the current Regulation limits how much F-gas can be sold in Europe and bans the use of F-gases in new equipment where alternatives with a lower GWP are widely available. It also aims to prevent F-gases emitting from existing equipment by outlining mandatory checks and servicing, and controlling the safe recovery of the gases at the end of the equipment’s life cycle. And while the presence of F-gases is most common in equipment for refrigeration or cool air systems, they can also be found in solvents and older fire protection systems, and must be monitored in the same way.

While these regulations may mean inconvenient changes for some businesses, it is not something that can be ignored. It is a criminal offence to leak F-gases, and many operators are completely unaware. Some may be choosing to ignore the rules as they believe they’re not being enforced; but this is a big risk. With environmental awareness and action dominating political and news agendas, any policies and regulations around environmentally harmful practices are only going to become tighter. Now is the time to implement changes to protect businesses, and protect the earth.

How to comply with F-gas Regulation

According to the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2015, in order to comply with the regulations, the operators of any equipment that uses or contains F-gases must ensure the equipment is leak tested to specific standards. If a leak is detected, the equipment must be immediately removed from use and repaired, and then remedial checks are to be carried out within one month.

Any stationery equipment that contains more than 3kg of F-gases must also keep records of their use, including the type of F-gases used and the quantity; details of any services carried out on the equipment; and the details of every leak test conducted on the system.

Finally, all equipment and systems that contain or use F-gas must be labelled with the type and quantity within.

Because it can be difficult to immediately recognise which products contain F-gas, there are some things to look out for. In the case of solvents, it is required by law that F-gas is noted on the drum so all labelling should be examined carefully. F-gases also have to be listed on material safety data sheets, so these should be obtained for all solvents, as well as regularly requesting the latest version to be aware of any changes.

What are the alternatives to F-gases?

The effects of F-gas Regulation and the restrictions it places on production are being felt across the market, as quotas for manufacturers are dropping and costs are increasing as a result.

One of the reasons the EU has placed restrictions on F-gas in particular is because so many environmentally friendly alternatives are available, so it is important to explore these options.

For solvents, a new generation of cleaning solutions are just as effective as those containing F-gases. In most cases, they also make cleaning processes more efficient and more cost-effective, as well as minimising environmental impact. Solvents such as the Opteon™ range from Chemours™ were specifically developed to be safe for users and for the environment. Opteon™ SF80®, which is the newest product in the range and has an ultralow GWP of less than 2.5, is a non-flammable, fast drying cleaning solvent that works well as a replacement for hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons as well as high GWP HFE’s currently noted in annex 2 of F-gas regulations. It is well-suited for vapour degreasing, precision cleaning and the removal of greases and oils; and to clean a variety of soils from mechanical components, electronics, optics, and military hardware. These solvents are also increasingly replacing commonly used heat transfer fluids.

With quantities of F-gases decreasing, and costs escalating, businesses currently using F-gases in their equipment, and in particular those using solvents containing F-gases for industrial applications, should look to the future and to the alternatives. These regulations are not going away, and when there are choices available that deliver equal results, are more cost-effective, and reduce environmental impact, the time to embrace the change is now.

For more details on Opteon™ SF80® and our other new generation chemicals please visit our solvent cleaning page.

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nPB Sunset Date set for 4th July 2020

Leading US industry body the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has changed its recommended threshold limit value for n-Propyl Bromide (nPB) from 10 ppm to just 0.1 ppm, amid concerns over health risks to workers.

In addition, nPB has also been added to the candidate list for inclusion in Annex XIV of European REACH regulations as a ‘Substance of Very High Concern’ (SVHC).

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