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.

Depending on their size, dry cleaning machines contain up to 1,000 L 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 L of solvent and in industrial machines more than 50 L 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.

The in-house development was completely revised by BÖWE in 2020Equipped 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.

Click here to learn more about how the decontamination system works.