Cleaning requirements in medical technology fully satisfied

NiagaraDFS by BvL removes stubborn contamination using a vacuum and ultrasound

Vacuum-flooding and ultrasonic functions ensure the BvL NiagaraDFS basket washing system offers optimum cleanliness at twice the speed. (PresseBox) ( Emsbüren, )
An American medical technology company requires cleaning systems that achieve maximum cleanliness for a variety of applications. Time-consuming manual cleaning will be replaced by an automated process to save time and money. When looking for a suitable system, the medical technology specialists learnt of the systems manufactured by the German manufacturer BvL Oberflächentechnik at the IMTS in Chicago.

The appealing stainless-steel look of BvL systems promises utmost cleanliness at first glance. But can the technology really meet the high cleanliness requirements for this special application? The cleaning specialist’s solution expertise and significant experience quickly became apparent during the initial meetings. As part of a team, washing trials were agreed and then carried out on a test system operated by a BvL sales partner, DeLong Equipment, in South Carolina.

Developing a solution for specially certified cleaners

The parts to be cleaned are different individual components from a chemicals transport container that is used within medical technology. Dried chemical residues on various
press-fit points on the container components were particularly challenging to clean. Moreover, the cleaner to be used is prone to intensive foaming. It is not possible to change cleaner since only this special cleaner is certified for the validated process. Other options were tested by the team to find a suitable cleaning system. Instead of the cleaning system featuring spray technology that was used in the first trial, it was decided to use a BvL NiagaraDFS basket washing system and to choose equipment that would prevent foaming. In the Emsland region of Emsbüren, the project team consisting of members from Customer Consultancy, Project Management and Design got to work, developing a sophisticated solution approved by the client.

Process steps adapted to the cleaning requirement

A vacuum pump first creates a high vacuum in the washing chamber. By opening a valve, the treatment chamber is flooded without using a washing pump so that there is no foam build-up. The ultrasound is activated as soon as the chamber is flooded. This mechanical cleaning process allows encrusted chemicals to be cleaned thoroughly. The washing liquid is then pumped back into the tank through the filter using a washing pump. Again, to prevent foam building up, this happens below the water surface. In the next step, demineralised water is heated by a heat exchanger and sprayed over the parts in the cleaning chamber to remove any foam residue. During the rinsing processes, the rinsing pump in the rinsing tank passes retained demineralised water through a fine filter before it is returned to the rinsing tank after rinsing the components.

Fast and absolute dryness thanks to electropolishing and infrared light

In addition to cleanliness, it is absolutely essential for the customer that the medical components are completely dry. To this end, both the treatment chamber and the pipes and tanks in the cleaning system were electropolished beforehand. The optically radiating surface sustainably improves the flow behaviour of the medium. The goods basket specially designed for a container set is also coated with Teflon and therefore reliably protects delicate components against scratches. A highly efficient drying process begins without delay. The BvL system features infrared drying, which is active parallel to the additional vacuum drying. The infrared light means components reach a high temperature, thereby achieving an optimal drying result in a short period of time.

Sealed components shipped for inspection

Once the BvL team in Emsbüren were happy with the technical combination established for this application, cleaned components were shipped to the customer in the USA in sealed transport cases. BvL technology not only stands out with regard to the cleaning result. Cutting cycles in half compared with the current treatment time means there can be no doubt that opting for a BvL system was the right choice.
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