Surface Treatment And Cleaning

During the metal shaping processes used in the manufacture of metal goods and components various fluids and lubricants are used to assist in these metal shaping processes and often a requirement is to remove the metal working fluids or lubricants prior to further processes or final assembly.

The surface treatment or cleaning process can impact severely on the cost of the metal goods being manufactured and on the environment therefore the correct selection of a suitable method of surface treatment or cleaning should be considered.

Cleaning Materials

The main agents for cleaning metals surfaces are solvent based or aqueous based cleaners.

Solvent Based Cleaners

Hydrocarbon solvent liquids are used extensively but are being replaced wherever possible due to the cost and the effect on the environment. They are being replaced by aqueous based cleaners.

Aqueous Based Cleaners

Product selection of an aqueous based cleaner is made depending on the type of metal being cleaned, a different product may be used on ferrous metals compared with aluminium or sensitive metals such as zinc and magnesium.

Product selection will also depend on the cleaning method being employed. A different product may be required for high-pressure spray applications compared with dip cleaning or ultrasonic techniques.

Surface Treatments

Surface treatment products provide benefits through the use of demulsifiers that allow separation of oily contaminants in the wash solution, extending the life of the wash solution and thereby reducing the costs of effluent disposal.

There are surface treatment cleaners available for the following applications:

  • Quench Oil removal
  • Neat cutting oil removal
  • Soluble cutting fluids removal
  • Deformation oils removal
  • For a range of differing types of metals


Aqueous cleaners are used at concentration levels of 5-10% concentration mixed with water and are developed to quickly separate oil from water allowing skimming and ease of disposal.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Castrol.

For more information on this source, please visit Castrol.


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