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VACUUM CYCLING NUCLEATION (VCN)

Aqueous Processing Systems

Our aqueous processing takes place in a vacuum chamber which allows us to have complete process control, whether the application requires VCN, agitation, spray , ultrasonics or other process enhancements our machine are custom designed to meet the customer's specific requirements regarding performance, footprint, throughput and cost of ownership. Vacuum processing also provide low cost drying performance.

Solvent Cleaning Systems

Our solvents systems meet the USEPA BACT ( Best Available Control Technology) criteria, and utilize vacuum technology to provide superior process performance of vapor , immersion with or without ultrasonics, and the exciting performance of VCN. Vacuum solvent technology also provides superior safety , health and environmental performance and is recognized by the USEPA as being 95% efficient . Our founder Dr. Donald Gray is the designer and holder of the original a patents of the Vacuum to Vacuum process.

VPS 1500 Vacuum to Vacuum Solvent Cleaning System
Process Description

The VPS series of solvent based cleaning equipment is based on a patented airless technology platform as defined by the California South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). This technology was used to set the US EPA standard for Lowest Achievable Emission Rate (LAER) and was awarded the US EPA’s coveted Environmental Merit Award. The VPS ENV 1500 integrates simplicity, cost efficiency, safety and environmental compliance in an easy to operate turnkey system. Complete process control is maintained in VPS’ single vacuum chamber* design. Devices are loaded into the process chamber, the operator selects “START” from the PLC screen and upon the completion the clean, rinse and dry cycles an audible alert notifies the operator that the process is complete and the devices can be removed from the process chamber. Throughout the clean, rinse and dry cycles the VPS 1500 system continuously reclaims used solvent for reuse in subsequent cycles. VPS’ proprietary vacuum distillation process reclaims up to 99.7%** of used solvent for reuse (less solvent carried away in soils) providing the lowest total cost of ownership available today for most solvent and co-solvent applications.

Once the operator (or automation tool) loads the devices to be cleaned into the VPS custom designed cleaning chamber(s) and closes the chamber lid, the system automatically removes the ambient air from the chamber. The chamber is then automatically filled with customer specified solvent, either in liquid or vapor form. At this point the automated cleaning process begins in accordance with whatever pre-programmed fixed or variable recipe has been selected by the user. A variety of cleaning techniques, including vapor, immersion, immersion with ultrasonics, spray, rotation, spray under immersion, etc. are available. Filtration is incorporated as needed to meet the desired performance spec. Once the devices are cleaned a rinse cycle is typically engaged. The rinse cycle operates under the same principle as the clean cycle. Separate process fluids can be used to rinse as required by the application simply by plumbing an additional process loop into the system.

Upon the completion of the clean and rinse cycles used solvent is drained from the process chamber to the vacuum distillation tank for reclamation and reuse at which point the drying process begins. With the liquid solvent removed from the process chamber the remaining solvent vapors are drawn from the process chamber through a vacuum pump. These captured solvent vapors are compressed and condensed and sent to the vacuum distillation tank for reclamation and reuse. Clean, heated solvent vapors are drawn from the clean solvent holding tank and delivered to the process chamber to accelerate the drying of the parts. Since the air was removed from the system prior to the clean cycle the devices are exposed only to clean solvent. Therefore, during drying, only pure solvent vapors need to be recovered from the process chamber by means of vacuum. There is no exhaust to the atmosphere during the drying process, since recovered vapors are condensed, liquefied and returned to the holding tank.

During all process cycles solvent is continuously pumped through the vacuum distillation tank for reclamation and transferred to the clean fluid tank so there is always clean solvent available for the next process cycle. Thus, there is no waiting between cycles for distillation to occur as the system is constantly distilling solvent.

Once the process cycles are complete ambient air is returned to the process chamber, the lid can be opened and devices removed. VPS’ design parameters result in less than 25ppm solvent concentration in the process chamber at the end of the process cycles. In cases where required (such as with methylene chloride) concentrations lower than 25ppm can be achieved via a slight modification to the drying process.

Periodically it is necessary to remove waste from the system. This is done by distilling all solvent in the distillation tank over to the clean fluid tank and draining the waste from the distillation tank. The determination of when to clean out the distillation tank is made either by the customer’s predetermined internal maintenance schedule or by viewing the interior of the distillation tank through a site glass which is standard on all VPS systems. The waste to solvent ratio is typically 95% waste to 5% solvent, which results in dramatically reduced waste disposal costs.

VCN Agitation Benefits:

VCN can be much more effective than ultrasonics especially for small delicate parts or complex parts with difficult to reach internal surfaces. Below is a comparison of some areas where VCN can be more effective.

 
Ultrasonics
VCN
Internal Cleaning
No
Yes
Damage to Delicate Parts
Yes
No
Load Dependent
Yes
No
Uniform Treatment
No
Yes
Targets Contaminant
No
Yes
Chemical Delivery to Surface
No
Yes
Fluid Boundary Layer
Yes
No
Effectiveness With Solvents
Low
High
Concentrations Required
Hi
Low
Effective Rinse Method
No
Yes
Temperature Dependence
Hi
Low

The VPS 1500 system offers complete process and temperature control, is PLC operated and can be used with most solvents on the market today. These systems are “self cleaning” and as such do not require shutdown for sludge removal as is commonly found in old style vapor degreasers. Additionally, since the process does not mix ambient air with solvent, moisture build up in the solvent is virtually eliminated. With this feature, combined with the vacuum distillation system, solvent can last indefinitely (a solvent maintenance program is recommended to ensure that solvent stabilizer concentrations are maintained). These low emission levels and low total solvent usage are achieved without the use of complicated and costly carbon adsorption/absorption systems.

During the complete process, the devices remain in the single process chamber and solvent and heated solvent vapors are brought to the parts. Keeping the parts in one process chamber reduces process time, provides complete process control, eliminates environmental exposure and lengthens mean time between failures due to the fact that the system has few moving parts. The single process chamber design also results in a small footprint. VPS’ “set and forget” control package virtually eliminates operator interface ensuring consistency, reliability and repeatability.

Since the system is sealed during processing, it is suitable for both clean room and non-clean room applications. The sealed nature of the process virtually eliminates workplace and environmental exposure to solvents and solvent vapors. The utilization of VPS’ proprietary vacuum distillation process overcomes the high operating costs associated with the use of today’s “designer” solvents.

Validation, remote service diagnostics, multiple level password security, multiple fixed and variable recipe storage and numerous other software and process system upgrades are available to provide the user with the documentation, security and access to key process information he/she needs.
For more information or a custom product quotation please contact your authorized VPS representative or contact VPS directly at the telephone number or email address listed .

  • Multiple Chamber designs are available
  • USEPA testing reports have shown the vacuum to vacuum design to be 95% efficient .