Wipe for the picking
07 March 2013
Do you require a wiper that is tough and durable? Low-linting? Good with solvents? Heat-resistant? All manufacturing customers have different requirements and wipers need to cater for specific needs. SCA's Mark Riley explains the types of tests that are carried out on wipers to ensure they are fit for purpose
Wipers and cloths for industry come in all shapes and sizes - there is no point in trying to clean up an ink spill with a length of low-grade paper from a centrefeed roll for instance, and any attempt to clean a precision engineeredcomponent with a big, bulky rag that cannot access intricate parts will be fruitless.
For this reason manufacturers have developed a wide range of wipers aimed at specific types of industrial tasks.The properties of these wipers will depend greatly on the surface that needs to be cleaned and the solvent being used to clean it with.
For example, tough applications require durable products that will not break up on rough surfaces, particularly when used with solvents.
Wipers designed for screens and delicate equipment, on the other hand, will need to be soft and low-linting to avoid compromising the surface to be cleaned.
Where solvents are used, the wiper also needs to be highly absorbent while also low in static, since an electrostatic charge could prove dangerous in conjunction with certain solvents.
Testing testing Manufacturers carry out a variety of tests to ensure that their wipers are capable of fulfilling the tasks for which they are intended. Let us look at some of the tests that we at SCA Tissue Europe carry out on our own Tork Premium 500 range of non-woven wipers.
With today's increasing reliance on computer technology and other electronic equipment in the workplace, it is more important than ever that non-woven wipers should be low-linting. Lint - the tiny fibres or particles of fibre that are left behind after wiping - also needs to be kept to a minimum when cleaning surfaces in preparation for painting or printing.
At SCA we measure a wiper's capacity to lint by shaking a sample of material in water for five minutes.The number of particles in the water is counted with an optical fibre analyzer and measured in particles/cm2.
Customers requiring a wiper for tough, heavy-duty applications will need their wipers to be strong and durable.We test for durability by assessing the maximum force required to break the material measured in dry and wet conditions.
When an electrically-isolated surface is wiped with a non-woven material, an electrostatic charge can result.This is potentially dangerous in environments where solvents are used as it may cause ignition of solvent gases and risk of a fire or explosion.
We tested Tork Premium 530, 520 and 510 for electrical charging by rubbing each wiper against a lacquered metal plate and a board covered with melamine plastic and then measuring the static buildup on the plate.The results showed that the charging tendency was much lower with Tork Premium 500 wipers than that normally associated with textiles.
Our strength test also showed that all wipers in the Tork Premium 500 range had good tensile strength and that their wet strength was equal to their dry strength.Tork Premium 530 was also found to be very low in lint.
The heat is on Several other tests are carried out on Tork wipers to assess their qualities and strengths.We have a specific test to assess the heatresistance of our wipers, for instance.This is particularly important with Tork Premium 530, which is frequently used in food preparation areas as an oven cloth and therefore needs to be able to withstand heat.
We test for this by placing a wiper next to a hot surface and then measuring the time it takes for the temperature of the wiper to rise by 10Â°C.The bulkier the wiper, the better insulation it provides since bulkier wipers contain more air which is a poor conductor of heat.
Tork Premium 530 was found to offer a high level of heat resistance.
Our test for absorption involves soaking a piece of wiper in water and then allowing the excess liquid to run away.The absorption capacity equals the quantity of liquid retained in the material.
We tested Tork Advanced 420 in this way and compared it to a competitor's comparable wiper.The test revealed Tork Advanced 420 to be 36% more absorbent than the equivalent rival product.
This particular test - along with other tests carried out on Tork Premium 530 - are demonstrated in a film on our website at www.tork.co.uk/torkwiperdemo Developing wipers is a scientific process and extensive testing is required to ensure that they meet customers' needs. By assessing practical qualities such as a wiper's strength, absorption and tendency to lint - as well as other key safety issues - we can help to keep our customers both satisfied with their products and safe.