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Industrial Cleaning FAQs

Some of our most Frequently Asked Questions regarding our Industrial Cleaning products.

Are there any Oil Technics industrial cleaning products suitable for use indoors?

Yes, there is: OT8 is suitable for indoor use.

What kind of bacteria are used in your biological products?

The bacteria used in our products are Euro Type 1: safe for long term laboratory application and safe for long term general public exposure.

We select the correct bacteria to digest oil stains - from light oils to heavy crude.

What surfaces can OT8 be used on?

OT8 is suitable for use on porous hard surfaces, such as block work, paving stones, concrete, driveways, garage floors and forecourts.

OT8 is not suitable for use on asphalt or tarmac surfaces - please use Bio TA.

What is solvency and why is it important?

The solvency of a degreaser is very important as it is a measure of how effective it is in cutting through oil and grease contamination – the higher the solvency, the more effective the cleaning!

The solvency power of a solvent is given as the Kauri-butanol value (Kb). The Kb value is determined by adding the solvent in question to a solution of kauri resin in butyl alcohol (butanol) until the solution becomes cloudy. Stronger solvents can be added in greater amounts before the kauri/butanol solution turns cloudy.

By way of example, in our previous formulation of OT8 we used the solvent D-Limonene which has Kb value of 55. In our new OT8 formulation, the solvent we now use has a Kb value of 120 – more than twice the solvency power, meaning increased effectivity against oil stains!

Please be advised that, as with all cleaning products, our solvent degreasers may not be suitable for use on certain substances such as water-based paints, soft bitumen and rubber sealants. We would always recommend you test before application or contact our Technical Department for further information.

What is BOD/COD?

BOD/COD is a laboratory test that can be performed to determine the biodegradability of a chemical in the aqueous environment.

It is done by measuring the mass of oxygen a chemical removes from water. A reduction of oxygen in the marine environment can be a potential problem as any removal of oxygen from water may adversely affect or even kill fish and other marine life.

The two parts of BOD/COD are:

1) Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD): the amount of dissolved oxygen used by micro-organisms to naturally break down (oxidise) organic material in water. Measurements are taken at certain temperature (usually 20 ºC) over a specific time period (usually 5 and/or 20 days). Results are given as mgO2/l.

2) Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD): a measure of the total oxygen consumption of water when chemically breaking down (oxidisng) all the organic and inorganic present. Results are given as mgO2/l.

The closer together the BOD and COD figures are, the greater the biodegradability of a product. When selecting a product, you should always look for one that has a low BOD/COD, i.e. is readily biodegradable in the environment.

Why are people moving away from the use of D-Limone as a solvent?

D-Limonene is a naturally occurring citrus solvent used in many industrial applications.

Despite being obtained from citrus fruits, the recent CLP regulations have reclassified D-Limonene as:

  • Flammable
  • Very toxic to aquatic life
  • Irritating / corrosive to skin and eyes

The ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) are also currently evaluating whether it poses a health hazard by inhalation (aspirating toxic).

Furthermore, D-Limonene is a VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) which poses long-term environmental and health concerns (see our FAQ “What are VOCs?” for further information).

As part of Oil Technics Ltd’s company philosophy of using only chemicals with the least possible risk to both the user and the environment, we have been working on finding a replacement for D-Limonene – without compromising our products’ established and trusted performance!

This project is now nearly complete and over the following months we will be introducing new formulations of many of our products – please keep an eye on our News pages for further developments!

What are VOCs?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals, naturally occurring and man-made, that have a low boiling point.

The low boiling point forces large numbers of molecules to evaporate from the compound they reside in (be it liquid or solid).

Some VOCs can be dangerous to the environment and to human health. These dangerous VOCs are not typically acutely toxic (immediate, noticeable effects) but often have long term health effects.

The EU defines VOCs (Volatile Organic Compound) as: “any organic compound having an initial boiling point less than or equal to 250 °C (482 °F) measured at a standard atmospheric pressure

What is a Flash Point?

The Flash point of a material is the lowest temperature at which it can vaporise to form an ignitable mixture in air – the lower the flash point, the more flammable a product.

Under current health and safety regulations, any material with a flash point of 63˚C or less is classified as flammable and will be hazardous for transportation.

Products with a flash point between 64 and 93˚C are not classified as flammable but may still burn in a fire.

A table of Oil Technics's solvent cleaners is below, ordered from lowest to highest flashpoint:

Product

Flash point (approx.)

HDL

41˚C

Lemsolv CX4

42˚C

Lemsolv 860RI

56˚C

Lemsolv

57˚C

Lemsolv Industrial

57˚C

Lemsolv CX1

61˚C

HFD

63˚C

PCM

66˚C

Lemsolv TC

70˚C

Universal

80˚C

What is Bioaccumulation?

Bioaccumulation is when toxins build up in a food chain. The animals at the top of the food chain are affected most severely.

This is what happens:

  1. Small amounts of toxic substances - often from human activity - are taken up by plants.
  2. These plants are eaten by primary consumers.
  3. The primary consumers are eaten by secondary consumers, and the secondary consumers are eaten by higher level consumers.

At each stage (trophic level) of the food chain, harmless substances are excreted but the toxins remain in the tissues of the organisms - so the concentration of toxin becomes most concentrated in the body tissues of the animals at the top of the food chain.

How do biological oil stain remover work?

Our biological oil stain removing products contain specially selected bacteria which digest the oil stain.

While the food source − ie ‘oil stain’ − is present, the bacteria keep on working and continue to do so until it’s all gone!

For the biological cleaning of oil stains to be effective, it requires:

  • Food source for the bacteria to digest, i.e. the 'oil stain'
  • Warm conditions
  • Moist conditions
  • Oxygen
  • The correct bacteria

On the basis that the first four conditions are in place, the bacteria selected for use in our products will digest oil stains - from light oils to heavy crude.

The bacteria used in our products are Euro Type 1 (safe for long term laboratory application and safe for long term general public exposure).

Please note: speed of oil digestion is temperature dependent. At an ambient temperature of 15°C, we would expect the full digestion process to take 4-6 weeks. For every 10°C above or below this temperature, the speed of digestion increase or decrease by 50% i.e. at an ambient temperature of 25°C digestion time of 2-3 weeks would be typical.

For further information, please contact us.

What is the OCNS?

The Offshore Chemical Notification Scheme (OCNS) manages chemical use and discharge by the UK and Netherlands offshore petroleum industries and applies to all chemicals which are used in exploration, exploitation and offshore processing on the UK Continental Shelf.

The scheme applies to those “operational” chemicals and products which through their mode of use are expected in some proportion to be discharged, eg. rigwashes and hydraulic fluids.

Products are listed in six colour bands, according to Hazard Quotient, with Gold being awarded for the lowest hazardand purple being the highest.

For further information, visit the CEFAS website here.

How do I choose the correct degreasing chemical?

Oil degreasing chemicals (degreasers) are designed to reduce the surface tension and viscosity of contaminating oils so that contaminated surfaces can be rinsed clean, oil free and film free.

The selection of a degreasing chemical depends upon 4 factors:

  • Risk to the operator
  • Risk to the environment
  • Quick Break separation
  • Cleaning application
    • Workshop Cleaning
    • Component Cleaning
    • Oil Process Cleaning

Degreasers should offer the least possible risk to the operator and the environment.

Risk to the user

  • To avoid high shipping costs, manufacturers often supply product as a concentrate which, as a consequence, usually carry one or more hazardous labelling requirements.
  • We would always recommend the selection of a degreaser which, when diluted 1:4 or greater, removes the need for any hazardous labelling.

 

Risk to the environment

We recommend selecting a degreaser which is not:

  • Toxic
  • Bio-accumulative
  • Persistent

and which is:

  • Self separating (Quick Break) - is quickly phase separated (in Europe the separation standard is EN858, part 4)
  • Biodegradeable - with a typical 5 day BOD/COD ratio of > 65%
  • Endocrine disruptor free

Which Oil Technics industrial cleaning product should I use for my surfaces?

We have a wide range of products for all types of surfaces so we are confident that we have the right product for you! 

OT8 is designed for all hard surfaces such as block work, paving stones, concrete, driveways, garage floors and forecourts - see product information here.

BioTA is designed for tarmac and asphalt - see product information here.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions - we would be delighted to help you.