I know I’ve covered a lot on cleaning subjects here, on VacuumsGuide.com, but today I’d like to talk about a new and innovative way of cleaning that is especially used in industrial facilities: CO2 cleaning (or the so-called dry ice cleaning). Since I’m no expert in this area, I invited Jon Wikstrom, one of the founders of Cool Clean Technologies, a company specialized on providing these kind of services, to talk more on this subject.
1. Please briefly introduce yourself.
Hello I’m Jon. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to hear my story. I recently moved to St. Paul, Minnesota with my wife. We have three wonderful children spread out the United States. I am a former U.S. Air Force Reserves Major and have a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Economics. I founded Cool Clean Technologies, a company that designs custom dry CO2 cleaning systems for a wide variety of industries, and am most passionate about tech developments that help the environment and make manufacturing work more efficient. I have begun writing blogs to educate on newer technology that is impacting our world today that don’t get as much press. My latest article featured green technologies thinking outside the box. Let me know what you think!
2. What’s the story behind Cool Clean Technologies?
Cool Clean Technologies was started in 2001 with the mission to serve the manufacturing industry with environmentally cleaning and dry machine cooling solutions. Hence the name “Cool Clean” Technologies. CCT has since developed multiple manual and robotic systems for a variety of industries. Taking going “dry” to a new meaning, because all of our processes are waterless. The credit for our work comes from the bright minds we have at CCT. Being a small company of 25 employees, we all pride ourselves in developing new solutions for green manufacturing. We utilize an electronic quoting system and recycle in the office that is a few ways we practice what we preach.
3. What is CO2 cleaning? Could it be used for domestic cleaning?
CO2 cleaning, also known as snow cleaning, is using solid CO2 particles as the cleaning agent. This innovative approach focuses a precise spray of CO2 particles through a nozzle and blasting them against a surface to remove fingerprints, light oils, and dust. Imagine taking your fingernail and scratching something off. That’s the strength of the cleaning power we provide. It is especially effective in high value applications. A fun tidbit is that this technology is gaining a foothold in the global market. Currently BMW and VW are cleaning with CO2 in Europe. By being able to automate it saves on time and money, while delivering cleaner finishes. Our goal is to replicate that success with our own cleaning approach, but for the American automobile market.
I sometimes want to bring home one of our smaller, single nozzle CO2 cleaning systems to clean around the house. Spraying it on the counters would clean it right up. But these systems require a little more voltage than a normal outlet would be comfortable handling. That and the CO2 does the cleaning, but we fix vacuums/filters to collect the contaminants. It would end up being more work than you bargained for. A good thought though!
4. Name one of the most interesting fields of use for your services, and talk about your contribution.
It’s really quite amazing with all the different industries that we have worked with. Ranging from aerospace component cleaning all the way down to tiny medical devices. That’s the beauty of working with CO2. Being that everyone wants to be a part of the newest thing, we have all sorts of applications that come to our door. And we don’t fit every industry, but we know where we do and that’s helped us stay profitable. One of the most interesting fields and our first product was in the garment care industry. Traditional dry cleaning companies used perchloroethylene or perc for short. This chemical is controlled by OSHA for being hazardous for employees. As an alternative, we discovered that rinsing the garments in a pressurized liquid CO2 chamber delivered similar results, but without the chemicals. It was a slam dunk until the recession hit, but that’s a whole other story. Read more on garment cleaning at http://www.coolclean.com/other-industries.php#garment.
5. Where do you see yourself (your company) in 5 years? Will you still be providing similar services?
The technology field is constantly changing and improving, with more manufacturers looking to make their processes green. I believe that gives us a strong chance to expand. CO2 cleaning is making strong pushes into new applications and provides a vast benefit to manufacturers. The economy seems to be shaping up which is a promising sight. The thoughts are to expand into Europe because it is a huge medical hub, but we have just begun tapping into the United States. Of course we are always on the lookout for new industry areas. Our engineers keep improving and changing our process and systems to be more energy efficient and compact. Only time will tell, but we look forward to helping manufacturers change their mindset on CO2.
6. What vacuum cleaner do you own?
We currently own the Dirt Devil Canister Vacuum. I was looking for an affordable all-in-one vacuum with the flexibility to reach difficult dirty areas. It is very lightweight and portable. The cord extends long enough to maneuver easily around the room, and when you are finished, unplug it and push a button for quick cord retrieval. It has impressed me so far especially with the easy removal of the waste collected after cleaning.
7. How many times do you vacuum your home per week?
Probably vacuum the house once per week, unless there are guests coming over. Being that I live in Minnesota, when the winter hits, it is nice to vacuum the mudroom and having the extendable arm allows for picking up larger pieces of dirt. It also has the versatility to reach under tables and couches, where there always seems to be a collection of dog hair.
8. A message to your potential clients.
Thanks for taking time to read about our unique approach over conventional cleaning methods. We hope you enjoyed learning about CO2 cleaning and the positive effect it can have on manufacturing in the near future. Keep up with our blog and Facebook. Have a challenging application you want to test CO2 out on, get in touch with us and we’ll show you how to become dry, green, and clean.