For decades, the renowned Swedish defence contractor Saab have used precision cleaning processes to ensure the components and systems they manufacture and assemble meet the highest quality standards. For many years, Trichloroethylene (Trike) was used to meet these standards, but after the banning of Trike, Saab needed to find a more sustainable alternative that would perform just as effectively.
Project Manager Lars-Gunnar Huss at Saab Dynamics was tasked with sourcing a replacement, and during his research, came across a 30 year old archive report that, despite its age would prove invaluable.... The archived report compared different solvent based technologies, including 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids and Fluorinert products, previously supplied to Saab by 3M, for dielectrical purposes.
Having identified a potential alternative to Trike, Lars-Gunnar engaged Kemi-Intressen AB, the Swedish 3M distributor, and 3M to help in the evaluation process, along with Guyson, the UK manufacturer of ‘Kerry’ Ultrasonic cleaning machines. Inventec supplied the co-solvent TOPKLEAN™ EL-20A using Novec engineered fluids, via their Swedish distributor Desab AB.
Saab conducted a series of tests comparing the Novec co-solvent cleaning process with Trike, using DINITROL® as a particularly tough contaminant to remove. The sets were sent to the 3M UK lab for analysis, and after some adjustments to the precision cleaning process at Guyson, the results showed excellent consistency and cleanliness compared to Trichloroethylene.
Following a generous donation of a Microsolve co-solvent machine by Guyson, Saab went on to further evaluate this cleaning process for their magnetron assembly. This involved inspecting and rigidly testing magnetron components during manufacture, to ensure they reached satisfactory levels of cleanliness and operational stability. The evaluation was finalised by running tests of complete magnetrons. The new precision cleaning passed all the tests.
After two and half years of evaluation, and an estimated two months spent by Saab on the evaluation and qualification of the replacement, the decision was finally taken to acquire a Guyson co-solvent precision cleaning machine using Novec engineered fluids. To date, according to Lars-Gunnar Huss, this process has consistently produced desired cleaning results.