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Precision Cleaning for Medical Devices

A new generation of nonflammable precision cleaning and process solvents

3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids are advanced precision cleaning solvents that offer a number of important advantages for manufacturers of medical devices and equipment. Their low surface tension, low vapor diffusion rates and high liquid densities make Novec fluids ideal for use in vapor degreasing equipment. They are fast-drying, and typically offer lower drag-out losses than conventional degreasing solvents.

What's more, Novec fluids easily penetrate tight spaces on complex parts, then drain off easily so they don't become trapped in small spaces. Compared to aqueous cleaning, therefore, Novec fluids increase confidence in the ability to validate a process free of bioburden, and are less equipment- and energy-intensive. In addition, parts cleaned in Novec fluids dry quickly and spot-free, with less chance for corrosion.

These advanced process solvent alternatives have demonstrated excellent compatibility with sensitive materials such as acrylic and polycarbonate, as well as a wide range of other plastics, elastomers and metals – and, as shown on the table below, they are effective on a wide range of soils typically encountered in medical device manufacturing.

Typical medical device precision cleaning applications for Novec Fluids
Parts Substrates Soils
Artificial Hearts Polycarbonate Oils
Heart Valves Silicone Rubber Particulate
O-Rings Plastics Mold Releases
Catheters Stainless Steel Mounting wax
Needle Caps Titanium Skin oils
Endoscope Parts Nickel/Cobalt Buffing Compound
Needles Aluminum
Stents Skin
Capillary Tubes
Orthopedic Implants
Dental Implants
Spinal Implants

The sustainable, long-term alternative to conventional cleaning and process solvents

Because of their outstanding safety and environmental properties, Novec fluids have been accepted by regulatory agencies around the world as alternatives to HCFC-225 and HCFC-141B.

  • Zero ozone depletion potential
  • Low global warming potential
  • Non-flammable
  • Low in toxicity
  • HAPs-free
  • U.S. EPA SNAP-approved

In addition, Novec fluids are approved for sale globally and are recognized as sustainable replacements for process solvents currently targeted for phase-out. This makes them ideal candidates to replace materials such as trichlorethylene, methylene chloride and n-Propylbromide (nPb) in a variety of precision cleaning applications.

A cost-effective solvent alternative to aqueous cleaning

In many applications, solvent cleaning with Novec fluids is a cost-effective alternative to aqueous cleaning – offering faster cleaning times, fewer process steps, lower energy usage, improved cleaning of parts with complex geometries and more.

  • Easier to use with lean manufacturing
  • Better solvency for organic soils
  • No need for wastewater treatment
  • Reduced power consumption
  • No anti-corrosion additives required
  • Easier to dry complex geometries
  • Smaller equipment "footprint"
  • No water spotting
  • No drying equipment needed

For a complete discussion of the advantages of solvent cleaning with Novec fluids vs. aqueous cleaning, download our special white paper report.

3M Novec Engineered Fluids for Precision Cleaning – Product Selection Guide

Novec fluids are available in "neat" form – for light duty cleaning, tube swelling, deposition and other applications – and as azeotropes (designated as "DE, DA and IPA"), which offer higher solvency for more difficult-to-remove soils. Novec fluids are also used as rinsing agents in conjunction with low volatility solvating agents. These co-solvent and bi-solvent cleaning processes are effective for the removal of the most challenging soils, such as heavy oils, greases and waxes.

Soils Ionic soils, particulate, fluor-grease Oils, silicone, fluorosilicone, fluoro-grease Flux, oils, silicone, fluorosilicone Grease, oil, wax, silicone Flux, ionic soils, silicone, grease, oil, wax Wax, pitch, grease, solder paste, buffing compounds
Class of soils Light Medium Medium Medium/heavy Medium/heavy All
Solvent Strength Mild Strong Strong Very strong Very strong Variable
Orthopedics * * * * *
Dental implants * * *
Spinal implants * * *
Cardiac * *
Needles * * * *
Surgical staples * *
Surgical blades *
Catheters *
Plastics * *
Silicone tubes * * *
Surgical tools * * *

3M EMMD Medical Device Policy

3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids are intended for use as process solvents in applications, such as cleaning and coating, that historically used CFCs and HCFCs. They are not intended, nor approved, for incorporation into medical devices or for use in pharmaceuticals. 3M will not support applications such as lung perfusion or blood substitutes, that involve temporary or permanent implantation of the Novec engineered fluid.

Read a complete statement of 3M Electronic Markets Materials Division's Global Policy regarding the sale and use of products for medical and pharmaceutical applications.


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