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Comparing metal surface pre-treatment cleaners

Cleaning is an essential part of the surface treatment process. The objective is to remove a range of mineral oils and polishing compounds, preparing the substrate for treatment — and ensuring an optimal finished product when anodising or electroplating.

Pre-treatment cleaners are generally alkaline in nature, although acidic ones can be used if required. Alkaline cleaners generally provide the best performance and way of removing grease from the surface of the substrate.

The level of alkalinity and the type of chemical used to give the pH level in solution will decide on the types of substrate it is applicable for. Highly caustic pre-treatment cleaners should not be used on aluminium as it can cause a range of undesirable reactions. Non-caustic alkaline cleaners can be used on most substrates.

The pre-treatment cleaners contain surfactants to help with the degreasing. They also contain inhibitors, helping to prevent damage to the substrate during the soak process.

There are, generally, two types of pre-treatment cleaners: soak cleaners and electrocleaners.

  • A soak cleaner relies on the chemical nature of the bath to remove grease and dirt from the surface of the substrate. Two examples of a soak cleaner include UltraClean SC-AL and ​​UltraClean SC 10.
  • An electrocleaner operates by running a current through the soak bath that helps to accelerate and increase the removal of dirt and grease from the surface of the substrate. An example includes UltraClean EC60.

The operating temperature is also relevant to the effectiveness of the cleaning products.

We are the leading supplier and distributor of metal surface pre-treatment cleaning chemistry.

Founded in 1994, Alutech are industry leaders in anodising and electroplating process chemistry. We offer a range of pre-treatment cleaning chemicals for substrates including aluminium and steel.

To discuss your needs and requirements with our team of product experts or to learn more about our pre-treatment cleaners, get in touch

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