Decontamination of dry cleaning machines

“We all only live once on this planet. It cannot be that no one looks at how irresponsible people sometimes handle solvents!“

Frank Ziermann, Managing director

The most modern decontamination system with a new Siemens control is located in the Black Forest

Depending on their size, dry cleaning machines contain up to 1000 litres of solvent, mainly tetrachloroethene (formerly known as perchloroethylene or “Perc” for short). When used dry cleaning machines are dismantled, the tank contents are pumped out and properly disposed. However, it is not possible to remove the residual solvent in tank corners, pipe bends, pumps, filters, etc. This remaining amount – in smaller machines approx. 5-8 litres of solvent and in industrial machines more than 50 litres of solvent – evaporates unnoticed during decommissioning, contaminating soil and air. The company based in Germany has seen the environmental issue and offers a complete decontamination of solvent systems. Considering that even the smallest concentration amounts in running machines are measured in mg and PPM (parts per million) in special concentration measuring devices, it is even more surprising that there is no state control for old machines. The company based in Sasbach has seen the environmental issue and offers a complete decontamination of solvent systems.

Machines up to 10 tons

Container dimensions
5,000 x 3,200 x 3,200 mm (L x W x H)

Since 2006, the Ziermann GmbH in Sasbach in the Black Forest has been the only company in the world that owns a decontamination system for dry cleaning machines. The in-house development was completely revised by BÖWE in 2020. Equipped with a BÖWE double-bed Polysorba activated carbon system for indirect desorption without contact water, new refrigeration technology for drying and a completely new Siemens control system, the system has been further improved in terms of environmental technology and is thus exemplary and unique in the industry. An interface to a state-of-the-art 4-channel concentration measuring device is used to print a disposal protocol for the decontaminated dry cleaning machine directly after the decontamination. This protocol is also approved for submission to government agencies as proof of disposal. Patrick Diewald, son of a dry cleaner and in the dry cleaning industry since childhood, studied mechatronics and automation technology and actively supported this project as part of an internship. Klaus Schäfer and Klaus Burghardt, well-known in the industry for decades, have taken over the procedural and technical implementation.

How does the decontamination work?
The dry cleaning machine is put into the decontamination unit, which is designed to be oversized so that it can also handle large industrial machines. The extraction via activated carbon is switched on and all solvent focal points of the machine, such as filters, distillation and solvent tanks are opened. Warm air is blown into every opening of the machine with special solvent-resistant hoses. With specially designed tongs, all valves of the dry cleaning machine are opened so that the warm air can be led through the entire machine and the solvent residues are evaporated. Due to the different density of the solvents and the temperature dependence, it is possible to suck off the solvent gas at the bottom as well as at the container ceiling. The gases are then separated via a lint filters, refrigeration system and activated carbon. The whole process is monitored by the new Siemens control system and the concentration measuring device. Only when the legal limit value according to the 2nd BIMSCHV has reached below 2g/cbm concentration in the air, the system stops and prints the disposal protocol.

Ziermann cares about environmental protection.

Therefore we offer the entire industry a free disposal of dry cleaning machines with residual solvent content in compliance with the law.

Decontamination system

Picture 1: Open container with dry cleaning machine
Picture 2: Inside view of the unit
Picture 3: Back view of the dry cleaning machine in the container

How it works

Picture 1: Start of the decontamination
Picture 2: End of decontamination