FAQ - Cryo-Cleaner®

  • Open Top Steel IBC's/Totes
  • Open Top Steel Drums
  • Open Top Steel Pails
  • Open Top Steel Mixing Pots
  • Open Top Steel Storage Tanks
  • Many Other Types of Open Top Steel Containers
  • Plastic Resins
  • Glues & Adhesives
  • Paint Resins
  • Broad Range of Mastics
  • Paint
  • Asphalts - Both Oil & Water Based
  • Oil & Water Based Ink
  • Black Dispersion Material
  • Urethane Adhesives
  • Almost All Thick Viscous Materials & Many More Materials

The following conditions effect the amount of liquid nitrogen required to clean a container using a Cryo-Cleaner® System:

  • Type of Steel Container: Is it stainless stain, carbon steel, 20 gauge mild carbon steel, etc.?
  • Temperature of Container Prior to Freezing: Has the container been sitting outside in the hot sun or in cold winter weather or has the container been pre-cooled.
  • Type of Residue: Is it solvent or water based, etc.
  • Amount of Residue in the Container: Is the residue 1/2 inch thick, 3 inches thick or a greater thickness?

All of these conditions affect the amount of cryogen and the residency time inside of the Cryo-Cleaner® System that is required to remove the residue from the container. It is very similar to cooking. If food is taken directly from a refrigerator and put into an oven versus the food being at room temperature and then put into the oven, makes a difference in how long it takes and how much energy is required to cook the food. Also, the quantity of food being cooked and the type of container can effect time and energy used.

Each user's economics will vary depending on the above mentioned variables but to provide an understanding of the economics of the Cryo-Cleaner® process, the following examples are given. These examples are based on the Cryo-Cleaner® equipment already pre-cooled to the desired temperature and using pre-cooled drums.

Example - Cryo-Cleaner® Chamber System: The Cryo-Cleaner® Chamber System freezes one drum at a time and can precool the next drum to be frozen.

A 38 lb. carbon steel open top 55 gallon drum with 1 inch of phenolic resin in the bottom of the drum and at a starting of temperature of 70 F. is pre-cooled using the vented nitrogen from the Cryo-Cleaner® Chamber for 3 minutes while another pre-cooled drum with 1 inch of phenolic resin in the bottom of the drum is frozen to minus 250 F. for 3 to 5 minutes in the Cryo-Cleaner® Chamber. The frozen drum is then removed from the Chamber and impacted with a simple rubber mallet, pneumatic rubber mallet or a vibration system. Approximately 99% of the resin is removed from the frozen container using approximately 17 lbs. of liquid nitrogen. The cost for liquid nitrogen will vary from 17c to 21c per lb. depending on whether or not the liquid nitrogen is purchased in small dewar size containers or large bulk storage tanks. Therefore, the cost to clean a drum using a Cryo-Cleaner® Chamber is $2.89 to $3.57 per drum. This example results in a clean drum every 3 to 5 minutes.

Example - Cryo-Cleaner® Tunnel: If a company has large quantities of drums to clean on a continuous basis, then the Cryo-Cleaner® Tunnel is more efficient in both the amount of liquid nitrogen required and labor productivity. The economics for a Cryo-Cleaner® Tunnel sized to hold 8 drums are as follows:

Based on a 38 lb. carbon steel open top 55 gallon drum with 1 inch of phenolic resin in the bottom of the drum and at a starting temperature of 70 F. before pre-cooling, a drum can be removed from the Cryo-Cleaner® Tunnel and vibrated every 1-1/2 minutes. This system uses 11 to 14 lbs. of liquid nitrogen per drum. The cost of liquid nitrogen purchased in bulk storage tanks quantities averages between 17c to 21c per lb. Therefore, the cost to clean a drum using a Cryo-Cleaner® Tunnel is $1.87 to $2.94 per drum. This example results in a clean drum every 1-1/2 minutes.

The above examples are based on the chamber or tunnel being pre-cooled to the operating temperature of minus 250 F.

The pure residue can often be recycled back into the user's manufacturing process or blended into another product. In some applications, the recovered pure residues can be valued at $200 to $300 or more per cryogenically clean drum. This results in the complete elimination of any waste or the need for special waste treatment or incineration. If the cryogenically removed residue is not recycled, the residue can economically be disposed of because the residue has not been contaminated by hazardous chemicals, water or other fluids and there is a smaller volume of residue to be processed and transported.

The Cryo-Cleaner® chamber is portable and therefore can be stored when not in use and taken to a work area when needed. The equipment can be operated either indoors in normal well ventilated work areas or outdoors so long as the chamber is protected from rain or snow and sun. The Cryo-Cleaner® work area footprint can be as small as 200 square feet. Before placement and operation of the Cryo-Cleaner® equipment, the nitrogen safety training manual supplied with the equipment must be read by all personnel working with the Cryo-Cleaner® equipment.

None are required by the Federal, State and most local governmental agencies.

The disposal of wastes has become a great concern due to the environmental problems associated with hazardous materials and the economic problems associated with rising costs and reduced capacity of landfills, as well as tighter governmental regulations facing waste generators. The U.S. government has established guidelines under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) that specify the cleanliness requirements for the disposal of containers if the containers are to be disposed of in a landfill. Nevertheless, some states are imposing bans on the disposal of even clean containers in the landfills as a remedy for the rapidly diminishing landfill capacity. This leaves the reuse or recycling of the containers as the only alternative and reuse and recycling require a clean container.

Before containers can be recycled or disposed of, residues must first be removed from the containers as required by 40 CFR 261.7. This is typically a costly and time consuming process but even worse, the potential for environmental pollution is increased by the use of soaps, solvents and water to remove the residues from the containers. These traditional cleaning methods result in increased volume of wastes being created that may be more difficult and costly to dispose of than the original residue. Even if the residue is not considered hazardous, there may be restrictions imposed by municipal sewage districts that require expensive pretreatment before the residue and wash liquid may be discharged into the municipal sewers.

Therefore, the need for an environmentally safe process to clean containers with hard to remove residues led to the development of the Cryo-Cleaner® process and equipment.

Yes. In fact the Cryo-Cleaner® process is more environmentally conforming than triple rinsing. The waste stream is not increased, the removed residue has not been contaminated by hazardous chemicals plus the container is clean.

An additional use for the patented Cryo-Cleaner® Process is to freeze plastic containers such as drums and pails so that the frozen drums and pails can be placed into a drum crusher to be smashed into pieces. These pieces can legally be disposed of or recycled into other plastic products. The ability to freeze plastic containers is necessary because plastic containers do not crush like steel containers. Plastic containers at ambient temperatures "rebound" back to approximately 90% of the original size after attempts to crush a warm container. Therefore, to obtain the best results required for disposal or for recycling, the plastic containers are first frozen to temperatures as low as minus 280 F., making the plastic brittle, and then the frozen containers are crushed.

Another benefit of freezing and then crushing frozen plastic containers is that if the frozen plastic crushed pieces are immediately placed into a grinder, there is less wear and tear on the grinder and a smaller grinder can be used to grind the small broken frozen pieces than when a whole drum or drum pieces created by cutting a drum with a chain saw are placed into a grinder.

There are many types of models and sizes of Cryo-Cleaner® Systems. Contact Us for more information.