Replace solvents (Solvents) with MM31

MM31 can replace solvent-based processes for cleaning and degreasing metals 1-on-1.

Nowadays the use of solvent-based cleaners (so-called solvents) such as thinner, xylene and heptane, is under the microscope. Just think of the danger that the use of such substances entails in terms of working conditions and fire safety. Reducing environmentally harmful emissions and VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) housekeeping are also frequently discussed topics. This is independent of the extra focus on such substances brought by government agencies and inspection bodies.

The cleaning and coating of metal in practice

In practice, we see that solvents are used less and less in coating systems and that when such coating systems are used, this is done with the proper attention to personal protective equipment (PPE). However, when looking at the metal cleaning process prior to this coating process, many organisations still use solvents, with all the associated risks for people and the environment. And whereas the correct PPE is often used when it comes to the coating process, it is often forgotten in these types of processes. A frequently heard statement is “we have been doing it like this for years…never even thought about it”.

Working with solvents, how effective is it?

Solvents are known in the market as powerful metal degreasers. However, how effective are these products in practice? In general, it can be said that such products are applied using a cloth, in which case the cloth is maybe used several times in most instances. However, by rubbing with the cloth and evaporating the solvent, the grease layer is smeared rather than removed, with all the consequences that entails in terms of cleaning the metal. Because the metal has not been properly cleaned, there is a risk of corrosion and paint detaching on high-quality metal structures with extensive paint systems (even if a thorough mechanical pre-treatment such as blasting is applied after cleaning). This includes unexpected places, such as flat parts. This can be for various reasons, such as not working according to specifications and applying thin layer thicknesses. Much more often than not, however, the cause lies in incorrect surface treatment when it comes to cleaning. The prepared surface is still dirty or even greasy after cleaning with solvents. The solution that first springs to mind doesn’t usually involve correcting the cleaning process, or people simply don’t want to see this as a problem. In such situations, a simple test provides a definite answer, i.e. the water break test.

The water break test: a view of correct cleaning of metal at a glance

The water break test is a simple, quick and usually non-destructive test (can cause flash rusting on steel) to test the presence of water-repellent films. The test is applied to freshly cleaned metals such as steel and other metals that are hydrophilic in a completely clean state. In this case it often shows contamination of the substrate because the water film is broken. This test quickly shows whether a cleaning agent has done its job, for solvent-cleaned surfaces this is often only to a limited extent. “Isn’t there any other way?”, you may think. The answer is a resounding “yes”. AD Chemicals introduces a replacement product for solvent-based cleaning under the brand name MM31.

MM31 can replace the current solvent-based process step 1-on-1. In addition, the product is free of ADR hazard labels and can be used on multiple types of metal. This allows it to be used safely for people and the environment. Let’s take a look at the difference by using the water break test. Attached picture 1: shows the difference where the result “passed” was treated with the solvent replacer and “not passed” was treated with a solvent.

Several companies in the European market are now already opting for this sustainable, environmentally friendly and improved health-and-safety alternative. The product is already finding its way to leading trailer manufacturers and machine builders, among others. See the accompanying photo of the water break test in a field application. Judge for yourself which part has been treated with MM31.

Extra added value: rust protection, corrosion protection and paint adhesion

In the search for an alternative to cleaning with solvents, AD Chemicals has been able to upgrade the cleaning process. This is done by adding added value to the metal.

In addition to a clean, well-degreased surface, MM31 also creates a so-called conversion layer on the substrate. This conversion layer offers the following benefits:

  • Passive technique: protection of the substrate without coating and protection against flash rust in conditioned storage for up to a few days
  • Improved paint adhesion and corrosion protection

Watch the video with the application process here:

Insert video

See Figure 3 for salt spray test results and Figure 4 for flash rust protection on steel.

Figure 4: Flash rust protection


Companies that convert the cleaning process to MM31 achieve clear advantages in terms of both environmental and labour technology, as well as quality.

Product demonstration on location with customers

Currently, AD Chemicals offers free on-site product demonstrations for interested parties. Contact our team via for the possibilities and to schedule a demo.