HAVE YOU HEARD THE LEGEND about the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and NASA? They collaborate, streamline cleaning and coating processes, coordinate efforts, and improve the safety and environmental profile of processes. They expedite communication and process implementation with a website and database.  The “Joint Service Solvent Substitution Working Group” (JS3WG) is not a legend; it is a reality. The group will move superior, environmentally-preferred processes out of testing and into day to day use.
Based on our participation and observations, we feel that both the military and private industry will benefit from JS3WG activities. If you are involved in critical cleaning, surface quality, process modification, standards development, cleaning agent formulation and development, and health and safety issues, it is worth your time to check the web site, sign up for a password, explore the database of chemicals and processes on the site, and see how the program would be of value to you and your organization.
Opportunity for Cleaning Agent Suppliers
JS3WG is looking to obtain information about effective, environmentally-preferred cleaning chemistries. The products must contain no hazardous air pollutants (HAPs); preferably with no or low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As a first step, the JS3WG is actively reaching out to cleaning agent suppliers to provide studies to be included in the database. Truckloads of data sheets are not the goal. Instead, the information provided should be third partytesting, ideally to ASTM standards.
Vendors can submit third party data studies through the website. The submitted information will be reviewed by the working group; and it may then be posted in the database. While posting of vendor-submitted studies is not an official endorsement or acceptance of the product by the military, it does serve to highlight the cleaning agent so that it can be evaluated by various groups.
Posting of third party testing of cleaning agents is one of many steps to expedite the flow of information. There will still be criteria for specific processes, particularly for certain critical cleaning applications. The acceptance criteria, delineating standards for cleaning various parts and components, will be posted as they are developed. The four aspects of the acceptance criteria include environmental and occupational safety and health criteria, chemical properties criteria, materials compatibility tests, and performance. We would expect that both suppliers of cleaning agents might look to the acceptancecriteria in developing new product; and components manufacturers would findit useful in developing and validating processes.
The database will also publicize comparative evaluations performed by various military organizations. One implication is that for at least some applications, there may be an overall DoD approach to solvent substitutions rather than separate Army, NAVAIR, NAVSEA, Air Force efforts. Further, certain common practices such as materials compatibility testing may become standardized.
More options; superior contamination control
The efforts of the Working Group are expected to benefit private industry because requirements for specific processes will be accessible and will be downloadable. The information will be useful to manufacturers with critical cleaning requirements. As common, well-defined requirements are developed, it will be more economically attractive for cleaning agent producers to formulate and test products that might meet these requirements. The result promises to be not only a greater selection of innovative, environmentally-preferred, effective cleaning agentsbut also superior critical cleaning, contamination control, and product reliability.
We appreciate the assistance of the following members of JS3WG: Tom Torres (Chemical Engineer, Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center, Port Hueneme. CA, Cochair), Wayne Ziegler, (Materials Engineer, Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen, MD, Co-chair), Vincent Johnson, (Materials Engineer, Air Force Research Lab, Materials Lab Acquisition System Support Branch, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, OH), and Dr. El Sayed Arafat (Chemist, Naval Air Warfare Center, Patuxent River, MD).
NOTE: For additional information, please contact Tom Tor-res, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Kanegsberg and Ed Kanegsberg are independent consultants in critical and precision cleaning,surface preparation,and contamination control.They are the editors of “Handbook for Critical Cleaning,”CRC Press.Contactthem at BFK Solutions LLC., 310-459 3614; email@example.com;www.bfksolutions.com.