21st Century Chemical's Surfasolve Provides a Proven Solvent-Replacement Option
21st Century Chemical
2968 Ravenswood Rd.
Dania Beach, FL, 33312
Press release date: April 1, 2014
As long as people have been working with composites, there has been a need for an efficient method of cleaning up. Rollers, brushes, scissors and more all require regular cleaning to maintain workflow in the manufacturing area.
The traditional cleaning method has been to use solvents, such as acetone, to dissolve resins and polymers from the item being cleaned. But these solvents are harmful to the environment and are often hazardous to employees' health and safety. In the modern era, with an increased focus on safety and environmental responsibility, a new approach was needed, and 21st Century Chemical has delivered with its SURFASOLVE line of products.
21st Century Chemical, headquartered in Dania Beach, Florida, was founded in 2005. The company's director of sales, Bryan Hacht, is the inventor of SURFASOLVE. "We saw a need in the composites industry when we saw the amount of hazardous solvents used in manufacturing," he explained. "We saw a niche there for SURFASOLVE." We can formulate on an individual basis to solve almost any use of solvent in the workplace.
How It Works
While solvents dissolve the resins being cleaned from manufacturing equipment and tools, SURFASOLVE works differently. SURFASOLVE releases the material and suspends it in the cleaning fluid. The resin then flocculates, or falls out, of the SURFASOLVE, settling at the bottom of the container. There, the resin completes its crosslinking process, becoming a plastic matrix at the bottom of the specially designed SURFASOLVE workstation. This makes SURFASOLVE essentially a self-recycling product, allowing workers to use it repeatedly before having to dispose of it.
Disposal of SURFASOLVE is easier than disposing of hazardous solvents as well. SURFASOLVE is biodegradable, mostly plant-based and non-flammable, and it contains no EPA-F listed chemicals, nor does it have any characteristics defined under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that would categorize it as a hazardous waste. SURFASOLVE is non-toxic, and its shipping status is unregulated by the Department of Transportation. In addition, SURFASOLVE has no limits imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, including no Permissible Exposure Limits; it has no threshold limit value as defined by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists; and it has no hazardous air pollutants, or HAPS.
All of these are concerns associated with the use of solvents, making the disposal of SURFASOLVE much safer and easier than that of traditional products. "It doesn't make sense for someone to not use SURFASOLVE, especially in today's regulatory compliance environment," Hacht emphasized.
In addition to easier disposal, SURFASOLVE is safer for employees using the product. Unlike solvents, which have vapors that can make their way into workers' bloodstreams through respiration, SURFASOLVE has a low vapor pressure that makes it slow to evaporate. This lowers the risk for excessive exposure in the workplace.
A Vast Usage Potential
Hacht said the possible applications for SURFASOLVE are as varied as the applications for chemical. "Cured-in-place pipe, boat manufacturers, wind blades, tub and shower transportation, anywhere a solvent is being used, SURFASOLVE can be used instead," he declared. "For example, a major bowling-ball manufacturer had been searching for 15 years for a replacement for methylene chloride for stripping cured resin from parts. We worked with them to find a suitable SURFASOLVE alternative and successfully eliminated methylene chloride from their operations."
An important characteristic of SURFASOLVE that Hacht noted was the fact that it does not interfere with the curing process of resins. "Our product is actually slightly functional in the resin; it doesn't kill the cure like acetone does," he said. "It's not necessary to use water or solvent to clean rollers and dry them off before returning to work. If you were to wash off a tool in acetone and go right back to working with the resin, the acetone would dissolve the resin and affect the cure."
In this way, Hacht explained, SURFASOLVE can actually help improve a manufacturer's productivity. "Plus, a typical operation fills acetone containers daily to replace what's used up," he said. "Since SURFASOLVE can be used and reused, you only need to top off your workstations about once a week. We've estimated that this saves four to five manhours per week in an average facility. Plus, you don't have to deal with disposing of the solvent/resin solution as a hazardous waste; you only need to remove the flocculated resin once a month depending on usage and dispose of it as a solid waste. That's a huge advantage."
SURFASOLVE can have substantial savings when compared to conventional solvents like acetone. Every composites facility will have a different amount of savings; however, generally users get up to a 10-to-1 use against acetone. Waste-disposal costs can be minimized by 95 percent, and there is less labor involved.
Rapid Expansion and Partnership with NAC
Today, 21st Century Chemical has six employees and has expanded the company's customer base dramatically in only a few years. "Our base doubles about once a year," Hacht confirmed. "We have about 600 clients right now, and we're actively growing. We're now REACH [Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals-compliant in the European Union, and we just picked up Owens-Corning in Belgium as a client."
Recently, 21st Century Chemical and North American Chemical (NAC) have formed a partnership. NAC has begun distributing SURFASOLVE products nationwide to customers who are looking for an alternative to solvents. Butch Pitts, national accounts manager, heard about SURFASOLVE from another client. "This client's lab had actually done independent research on all the major acetone-replacement products in the marketplace," Pitts said. "SURFASOLVE was found to be the best, so I contacted Bryan and asked him if he'd like us to represent his product, and he agreed."
Pitts said NAC's customers have long sought a product to help them eliminate the use of acetone in their operations. "Since the major fiberglass companies started in the '50s or '60s, acetone has been the main cleaning product used," he noted. "But it's flammable and expensive to dispose of, and more and more people are getting away from it because of those reasons and the extensive regulations surrounding its use."
These problems have been seen as simply part of the cost of doing the business, Pitts said, until now. "Given the choice, I think everyone would like to get away from using acetone," he stated. "There's just never been a replacement product that performed this well before now."
Creating the Future of Composite Manufacturing
On 21st Century's website, current and potential customers can learn about the different applications of SURFASOLVE and view how the product works. The site also declares a basic tenet of the company's philosophy that is apparent in its rapid success thus far: "We will not let you fail."
"We're seeing good growth in our market sector in the next couple of years," Hacht said. "And, with NAC's help, we'll be getting into markets we don't even know about yet. I'm confident about what lies ahead for us."
Source: North American Composites
21st Century Chemical | 2960 SW 23rd Terrace, Dania Beach FL 33312 | 954.689.7111