Cleaning Vape Cartridge Manufacturing Equipment

Q: We are manufacturing vape cartridges and need to find a good cleaner for our equipment.  We are removing residues of essential oils, glycerin and flavor enhancers with an automated clean-in-place.  Some of these are botanical heavy resins and waxy.  Our tank is 500 gallons.  We are unsure how much cleaner we need.  Can Alconox, Inc. help us find a detergent for cleaning plant extracts?

A:  The oily residues in vape cartridge manufacturing (e-cigarettes, vaporizers, etc.) you describe can certainly be tough to remove and make cleaning vape manufacturing equipment, tanks and laboratory glassware a challenge.

A good rule of thumb we use is you need about 10% of the overall tank volume as cleaning solution to properly Clean-In-Place (CIP).  In this case about 50 gallons of solution.

We highly recommend the use of Solujet® Low-Foaming Phosphate-Free Liquid and Keylajet® Low-foaming High Alkaline Liquid, the latter for the truly challenging residues, heavy resins and the like.  Starting at high concentrations and optimizing is a good practice.  A concentration of 3-5% is a good place to start.  Recall that higher concentrations increase capacity, or amount that can be removed by a detergent.  Therefore, qualitatively speaking, if there is a large amount of resin, higher concentrations may be needed.

To make a 3% Solujet or Keylajet solution, use 1.5 gallons in 50 gallons of wash water. Using the hottest practical temperature; 160-180F (70-80C) would be ideal.  It is best practice to have that initial rinse be of equal or elevated temperature as well.  This is to avoid thermal shock to any micelles that have formed and the risk of redepositing the removed residue.

Again, higher concentrations of detergent can be brought to bear if there is a high amount of oil residue.

For manual cleaning (soaking scrubbing, sonication) of glassware, labware, and processing equipment that have these same botanical, waxy type residues, we highly recommend Detonox® Ultimate Precision Cleaner.  It is a potent emulsifier of highly viscous oils.

To request these or any Alconox, Inc. detergents for free, please complete the questionnaire at Get Sample. For more information about any one of our Alconox, Inc. detergents, consult the technical bulletin for each product. Or click here to access each of our detergent’s  Safety Data Sheets.

Do you have a critical cleaning question for the experts at Alconox, Inc.?  Search TechNotes to see if it’s been answered before or Ask Alconox.

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