“Façade cleaning technology that is gentle on the building and the environment.  – By QUINTEK Corporation”

Introduction: As our awareness of the environment is heightened the subject of cleaning buildings is gaining greater significance. Only a few years ago, this task would have been done almost exclusively with chemical cleaning agents and very little effort would have been devoted to thinking about environmental protection. Now, a fundamental change has been brought about by the ever-increasing environmental requirements imposed by the authorities. The use of materials such as chemical cleaning agents which are harmful to the environment are becoming subject to greater restrictions, therefore the liabilities associated with the cleaning of building is increasing. Water consumption is also a major environmental concern through the country. It must therefore be the industries goal to develop alternative physical cleaning methods to reduce chemical pollution introduced into the environment. Physical cleaning processes, the methods that use no chemicals, must be capable of meeting the requirements to clean the surface of the structure, treating its surface gently, so that valuable buildings are not damaged. An environmentally friendly physical cleaning process known as the “ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process” has been making a difference in facade cleaning since 1988. This process is mainly used on historic or otherwise valuable buildings, and has become extremely successful. It is extremely gentle, cost effective, and does not require any chemicals whatsoever. A major research and development program and the steady accumulation of practical experience indicate that the ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process method of cleaning can almost be used without restriction.

Requirements of the Cleaning Process:  The definition of “cleaning” is “to remove dirt from a place or object”; it does not say very much on its own and is mainly regarded as an aesthetic matter. Cleaning however is the key function for a successfully renovation of any building. The renovation or, restoration of buildings generally includes cleaning the building surfaces to remove substances that can be harmful to substrate like atmospheric soiling, encrustation or old layers of paint. In past decades facade cleaning was carried out with little or no concerns for the condition of the surface, or long term effects of the cleaning methods. Consultations from the experts specializing in the field about these effects were minimal, or sometimes non-existent. As a result, countless facades of stone, brick, terra cotta, concrete, and stucco have been irreversibly damaged by an ill informed or poorly executed cleaning campaign. In many of these cases what first appeared to be an economical method of cleaning was soon discovered to have severely damaged the substrate, at great cost to the client.Today, facade cleaning is now viewed in a new way. It is no longer the question of cleaning a facade to an extremely clean or bleached surface that would erase many of the historic character of the building. The cleaning process is now focused on simply remove the pollutants from the surface of the structure, or zones close to the surface of the structure in order to prevent the long-term damage caused by the pollutants. By opening the pores of stone it enables the stone to breathe naturally preventing the subsurface build-up of moisture that can also cause long term damage. The new objective of cleaning is to remove unsightly stains and soiling that interferes with the visual perception of the architectural or sculptural. The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process has proven to meet the high standards of this new philosophy set by the top preservation consultants in the field. Not only from a scientific standpoint of view but from the practical experience as well.

The ROTEC® VORTEX  Technology

The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process is a wet-jet micro abrasive media process. This process converts or transforms the energy from the wet jet into rotating energy by means of a specially constructed ROTEC® VORTEX nozzle. This cleaning process is based on a low-pressure rotating vortex technology. The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process uses extremely low air pressure from 10 to 55 psi mixed with water that can be precisely regulated within the range of 1 to 15 gallons per hour mixed with extremely fine micro abrasive powders, selected exactly to suit the low-pressure technique. In the patented ROTEC® VORTEX nozzle, compressed air is used to create a rotating vortex of air, water and micro abrasive powder. The unique feature of this technique is that the vortex emerging from the nozzle expands rapidly and as a result, the pressure of the compressed air diminishes in proportion to the square of the distance, while the rotation of the vortex continues unabated.

The pressure of compressed air, at approximately 40 psi is reduced to approximately 10 psi, if the material being cleaned is about 12 inches away from the nozzle.The ROTEC® VORTEX nozzle projects a finely dispersed vortex of air, water and micro abrasive powder to the substrate at an oblique angle, gently scouring the surface clean. This is in contrast to the conventional sandblasting methods or to the high-pressure water methods. These methods projected the force directly at the surface producing a cleaning effect by impact that will actually remove a portion of the surface. The advantage of the ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process is that this technique can be used almost without limitation on different kinds of building materials. The degree of cleaning can be adjusted to suit the individual requirements of the object being cleaned.

QUINTEK Micro-abrasive Powders

The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process uses inert, micron sized micro abrasive powders specifically selected for the individual cleaning requirements, and is suited to it low-pressure cleaning technique. The combination of QUINTEK micro abrasive media and the principle on which the ROTEC® VORTEX rotating vortex works makes it possible to achieve a superior cleaning result efficiently, without damage to the substrate. This cannot be achieved with any other physical cleaning technique.

The QUINTEK micro abrasive media listed above provide different cleaning properties. They vary in particle size, shape, and hardness. The selection of each media type depends on the type of material being cleaned, the nature of the substance to be removed and the degree of accretion. All QUINTEK micro abrasive Medias are environmentally friendly.  They are silica free, contain no carcinogenic, contain no toxic components, and contain no potentially damaging soluble salts. They present no danger to the environment and no danger to the user so long as they are used properly.The Range of Application

The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process has already shown its value to many thousands of buildings all over the world. It has been used to clean historical and culturally significant buildings as well as typical city buildings and sculptures because of the gentle way in which it cleans. The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process unlike any other method of cleaning can be adapted individually to suit the requirements of different kinds of building material, even priceless sculptures.

Cleaning Natural Stone

One application that ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning process is particularly well suited for is the cleaning of natural stone such as sandstone, limestone, marble, granite and many others. The difference in the materials and the characteristics of the various kinds of natural stone mean that severe demands are imposed on the cleaning process. The surface of the stone often displays encrustation on its surface resulting from the effects of the weather and the environment. Generally, this is very difficult to remove without damage to the substrate or the texture of the stone. The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process is able to address this cleaning problem without damage to the surface and revealing the original tool marks as the stone carver intended them to be seen.

Cleaning Terra Cotta, Tile and Brick

Terra cotta, tile, brick and ceramic building materials with obstinate encrustations cannot normally be cleaned with physical cleaning methods. The thin fire-skin or glazed surfaces on these building materials are very vulnerable to damage. With the use of ultra fine crystalline Stone Powder, the soiling can be gently removed, leaving the fire-skin or glaze unharmed and their protective function intact.

Removing Paint (emulsion, mineral, lead)

Natural stone, brick, terra cotta, concrete and stuccos are often covered over with many different types of painting materials. It is often impossible to remove these layers even with chemical paint strippers. In many of these cases it is possible to use the ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process successfully.

Graffiti Removal

The removal of graffiti often represents a particularly difficult problem and there is no satisfactory solution using conventional methods. The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process has proven a great value here. ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process can remove graffiti from almost any building material and can achieve the best results. The paint pigments are removed right down into the pores. The only prerequisites are that the graffiti must be completely dry and that no one has previously attempted to remove the graffiti using solvents.

Cleaning Fire Damage

Heavy accumulations of soot often form during a fire. This accumulation contains many different kinds of harmful substances such as chlorides, furans, dioxins, and many others. These accumulations must be completely removed from the various surfaces because of their toxicity. The ROTEC® VORTEX Cleaning Process is extremely valuable in removing these toxicities and this method is preferred over other methods because of its thoroughness in cleaning and the low consumption of water.