There are two operating systems in agricultural production that must be kept well-maintained using a pipe degreaser for cleaning and maintenance of equipment and ensure the best outcomes. The two operating systems are for crop irrigation and pesticide application.
Irrigation is commonly used to supply water to a crop or other desired landscape, such as a golf course or lawn, to fulfill moisture needs. Consisting of a pump, regulators, filters, adapters, distribution lines (pipes), and emitters, the water is steered from its source to a desired destination. The irrigation water is usually from ground sources such as wells, ponds, rivers, springs, lakes, canals, and dams.
Pesticides are typically applied using a sprayer to crops or other desired vegetation to mitigate pest infestations that would otherwise cause economic damage. Numerous pesticide products, most of which are uniquely formulated, are available on the market today for the control of a wide variety of pests.
What is similar for most pesticides, regardless of formulation or other unique properties, is the manner in which they are applied. Most pesticides are applied using water as a carrier and a sprayer that consists of a pump, tank, flow regulation system, hoses/pipes, and nozzles.
What is a degreaser and how is one used?
- A degreaser is a term used to describe a type of cleaning product that can remove grease, oils, and other types of contaminating substances.
- Degreasers are often referred to as maintenance cleaners, which are used for general purpose cleaning, or precision cleaners, such as degreaser for pipes.
- Irrigation systems can be compromised by substances in the water, such as soil, calcium deposits, algae, bacteria, or other organic substances that can clog irrigation lines and emitters.
- Consequently, irrigation pipes require maintenance on a regular basis to ensure better and longer service.
- Using a pipe degreaser product increases the water flow by preventing and removing various types of carbonate-based deposits in irrigation pipelines. Additionally, it eliminates slime build-up that can occur when the water has organic life forms or materials.
- Pesticide residue that remains after an application can jeopardize the effectiveness of a pesticide that is applied later or can cause unintended harm to a crop. As such, some pesticides need to be scrubbed from sprayers to ensure that future applications of pesticide are not compromised.
- In addition, pesticide residue in the spray tank may corrode metal, hoses, and other essential spray parts.
- Some sprayer cleanups require special cleaning agents, such as a pipe degreaser. Choice of pipe degreaser product to use depends on the pesticide that is being removed and the type of formulation of the pesticide.
How or where else is a degreaser used?
Use of a degreaser depends on the type of contamination that is to be removed. Usually, contaminants include dust, dirt, grease, and oxidation contamination that can cause corrosion, slipping hazards, overheating, increase electrical resistance in contact areas in mechanical equipment.
Degreasing may also be required to prep for down-stream processes like painting or plating, i.e., when a thin layer of metal is added to the outside of a material.
Ultimately, the type of degreaser you use depends on the extent of cleaning required. Generally, a degreaser is formulated to be either basic (alkaline) or neutral as determined by the pH of the solvent.
- An alkaline solvent (pH 8 – 14) is required to remove soils of organic origins, for example, caked-on oven greases that are made up of fats, oils, and proteins. The higher end of the pH spectrum of the solvent (or more basic) is usually required to remove caked-on oven grease.
- A neutral solvent (pH 6 – 8) is classified as an all-purpose cleaner. The types of cleaners are best suited for cleaning surfaces that are dusty or lightly soiled, or which require general, non-greasy cleaning.
Factors you should know when choosing a degreaser.
- Type of grease to be cleaned – a degreaser is designed to break up grease for easy removal while avoiding as much wiping and scrubbing as possible. Heavily soiled areas that cannot be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner will require a degreaser.
- The surface/substrate that needs cleaning – certain surfaces, such as plastic, glass, metal or painted wood may require a cleaner with a neutral pH.
- The type of equipment to be cleaned and extent of cleaning needed – if equipment is large and heavy and has caked-in grease, a heavy-duty degreaser and long contact time will be more desirable.
- Safety considerations – These include:
- Flammability – Degreasers often contain highly flammable alcohols and hydrocarbon solvents. Nonflammable degreasers avoid these safety issues but are generally more expensive. Furthermore, some nonflammable degreasers can be very toxic.
- Plastic / rubber compatibility – If incompatible with the plastic, a degreaser can create small cracks, embrittle, or soften the material. Rubber seals may swell, shrink, or dissolve if exposed to a harsh solvent. A new degreaser should always be tested before being used.
- Toxicity – Some chemicals commonly used in degreasers are highly toxic to humans and must be handled carefully.
- Environmental safety – Some degreasers contain volatile organic compounds and/or or solvents with high global warming potential. Some states, e.g., California have industry-specific regulations which restrict the use of the aforementioned solvent materials.
Now let’s look at some specific ways a for using a degreaser.
Manual Degreasing Methods
Most common way of using a degreaser. These methods are labor-intensive and less repeatable, so results may vary from one individual to another. Degreasers can be applied manually:
- As an aerosol – which is packaged in a sealed system, that ensures fresh solvent every time. In addition, the spray pressure and pattern can add agitation, like a scrubbing action.
- Using a spray bottle with a trigger – common for water-based degreaser, but not for aggressive degreasers.
- As a liquid immersion – a part can be immersed in a tray or bucket of degreaser, and thereafter wipes, swabs and brushes are used to scrub off tough grease/soils.
- Using a presaturated wipe or swab – for added convenience, wipes and swabs are available presaturated with a mild degreaser.
Automated or Semi-Automated Degreasing Methods
Used in high volume manufacturing and include:
- Ultrasonic methods – sound waves are used to break apart grease and lift it off the part. Ultrasonic equipment usually has the option of heating the cleaning material to increase cleaning performance.
• Vapor degreasers methods – are the best cleaning processes for critical cleaning, like in aerospace and medical applications.
• Batch washer methods – whereby parts are either stationary in a rack or run on a conveyor, and the degreasing agent (usually water-based and highly caustic) is sprayed over the parts.
- A clogged irrigation pipe will affect the amount of water delivered to crops. This ultimately affects crop production, yields, and returns from harvest.
- Clogged pipes in a pesticide sprayer will affect the amount of pesticide that is applied to control a pest.
- Pesticide spray equipment that is contaminated by a previously used pesticide will affect pest management, yields, and returns from harvest.
- Maintaining irrigation and sprayer pipelines clear of grease that would otherwise impair their function. This is vitally important and requires routine use of degreasers for pipe cleaning.
- Removing pesticide residue from a sprayer system requires the use of a degreaser or cleaner that can clean the sprayer tank and/or neutralize pesticide residue.
Visit https://www.brewerint.com to learn about our high-quality specialty products including all purpose cleaners and degreaser which clean agricultural spray tanks and irrigation equipment, neutralize pesticide residue, and remove stains.
Brewer International is an aquatic and land management adjuvant manufacturer serving distributors nationally.
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