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First user- and environmentally friendly stripping station thanks to DBE

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 12 February, 2004  (Company News)
INVISTA, formerly DuPont Textiles & Interiors (DTI) - Specialty Intermediates announces the use of DBE
Bio-Flux-AquaŽ is part of Eco Decap StationŽ a paint stripping station immersion tank system recently used for the first time by the French company Philippe Malsoute.

Philippe Malsoute has recently inaugurated its brand new immersion stripping station, the first in the world to associate the Eco Decap StationŽ tank with a liquid stripper that is both user-and environmentally friendly: Bio-Fluxaf-AquaŽ, based on DBEŽ dibasic esters from INVISTA.

Even if workplace accidents rarely make the headlines, the facts speak for themselves. Several deaths occur worldwide every year due to intoxication from methylene chloride contained in paint and varnish strippers. At low exposure thresholds, signs of intoxication appear (feeling of drunkenness and euphoria, dizziness) along with nausea, but massive inhalation of fumes rapidly leads to confusion and fainting, which can be fatal if emergency help is delayed. Serious health effects and even deaths were reported when methylene chloride was used and proper industrial hygiene was neglected.

Faced with these serious public health problems, the UK company Eco Solutions has developed an entire range of water and DBEŽ based stripping products, marketed in the UK under the Home StripŽ brand. They are sold in France under the name Bio-Fluxaf-AquaŽ by Rutolan France, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dutch company Vliegenthart B.V., manufacturing under license. DBEŽ dibasic esters by INVISTA is an essential component of the formula.

It offers high solvency power, without being classified as VOC or a solvent according to the EU Directive 1999/13/EC. The friendliness of DBEŽ to the user and the environment is due to the fact that it has a low flashpoint, a low vapour pressure, is readily biodegradable and offers a low risk potential. The use of DBEŽ means that Bio-Fluxaf-AquaŽ strippers are non-irritating, have a neutral pH, are classified as non-hazardous and no warning labels are needed.

The stripping effectiveness of Bio-Fluxaf-AquaŽ is optimised by a special flow tank, an original system designed by Bernard Tourrčs, sales agent for Rutolan. It was patented by his company Prodirox under the name Eco Decap StationŽ, the first example of which was installed in Ussel in the Auvergne region.

Philippe Malsoute, the sixth generation of painters-turned-entrepreneurs in Ussel confirms that stripping using Eco Decap StationŽ and Bio-Fluxaf-AquaŽ based on DBEŽ offers much greater protection for the material being treated. This means that wooden furniture, entrusted to him by antique dealers, remains perfectly smooth, even with soft fibres and after high pressure cleaning.

Metals are no longer subject to premature oxidisation, no longer require neutralisation after stripping, and can be painted as early as 24-hours later, whereas in theory the waiting time with chlorinated strippers is two to three weeks, otherwise the paint 'matifies' or peels. For multiple layers, immersion time is longer than for chlorinated solvents, but this does not pose an operational problem and the final result more than justifies this slight change in procedure.

'We even successfully stripped entire windows with double glazing', Philippe Malsoute explained, 'because Bio-Fluxaf-AquaŽ does not damage glass and joints.' In addition to classic building materials such as shutters, blinds, fences, gates, etc. including wood furniture. “We are looking at more diverse applications like restaurants that have already entrusted us with their teak terrace and even the metal grids for their oven hoods, which we brought up like new!'

In view of the performance and neutral nature of the product, Philippe Malsoute is now planning to work on objects, which cannot be stripped using traditional methods. Finally, due to the much lower toxicological risk of DBEŽ, operators do not need to wear masks or breathing apparatus and simply require waterproof overalls, goggles and boots for protection.

Bernard Tourrčs, managing director of Prodirox France and the inventor behind Eco Decap StationŽ, believes the originality lies in the functional stripping tank, 'Flush Decap Moving'. It ensures double flow of the product enabling both filtering of stripping residues and 'massage' of the objects to be stripped. The tank's dimensions can be tailored to customers' needs, and Bernard Tourrčs would now like to market the system worldwide.

'Over thirty deaths due to intoxication by methylene chloride have been reported over the last twenty years. Plus, there have been numerous cases resulting in serious adverse impact on people’s health from exposure to methylene chloride”, he underlines. He concludes, “Thanks to DBEŽ, this new stripping technology is a significant step forward in terms of health, safety and the environment.'

In France, Bio-Fluxaf-AquaŽ is distributed by the Akzo Nobel network, which contributed to the success of Philippe Malsoute's project by providing financial support. The range of products includes paint and varnish removers, ink cleaners, roughcast surface strippers, floor and wall covering removers and products to remove graffiti, even from plastic surfaces.
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