Self-organizing polymer film systems for cleaning test




  • Hitherto used methods for applying test contaminants onto components provide unsatisfactory reproducibility   
  • The development and optimization of cleaning processes requires a lot of time-consuming and costly individual tests  
  • This testing is often not undertaken and instead many cleaning systems and processes are oversized and excessive
  • Reproducible coating processes as models systems for homogeneous film-like contamination

Research results

  • Geometry-independent and homogeneous application of polymer film systems on original production components
  • Application of polymer film systems using rudimentary laboratory equipment
  • Practical verification of polymer film systems using low-cost fluorescence technology
  • A catalog of the polymer film systems enables development of cleaning processes for a wide range of real film contamination


  • Meaningful and reproducible tests for the effectiveness of industrial component cleaning systems
  • Reduced costs and personnel requirements – using basic laboratory equipment and without the need for special knowhow
  • Use of objective test methods for upcoming investment decisions
  • Basis for cross-sector standards for component design for effective cleaning

Safe processes via efficient test methods


The increasing quality requirements on end products and processes are necessitating the cross-sector, scientifically-substantiated design and optimization of component cleaning systems, processes, and procedures as well as detection methods for residual contamination. Cleaning tests carried out for this purpose have hitherto been performed on either original components from actual production processes having film contamination or on special test components artificially contaminated in the laboratory. In both instances there are widely differing degrees of contamination (thickness and homogeneity of the films) at the start of the cleaning tests.

Reliable test results are hence impossible. To get statistically meaningful information about the efficiency of component cleaning equipment, plant manufacturers and users have hence needed to conduct a large number of time-consuming and costly cleaning tests. This has often been skipped in practice and instead many cleaning processes have been designed to be excessive for safety reasons.


Reproducibility – cost-effective and sustainable


The objective of IGF funded SePoRa project is to develop self-organizing, fluorescent polymer films and relevant coating processes for them as model systems for homogeneous film contamination. This will allow the reproducible application of geometry-independent and homogeneous test contaminants on complex components from industrial production. This will rectify the aforementioned shortcomings and for the first time enable favorable-cost tests on the effectiveness of industrial component cleaning systems to be carried out, with meaningful results from a minimal number of tests.

The main aspects of the project work are the development of the polymer film systems, validation of their cleanability, the transfer of the results to 3D model substrates, and final verification of industrial viability including transfer of the project results.


Cleaning tests using simple equipment


The project results provide companies for the first time with a method for facilitating the design, optimization, and validation of their cleaning systems and processes. The benefits of a polymer based test method are clear: The polymer film systems are applied using basic laboratory equipment and so are favorable in cost and require little personnel time. In addition, original industrial components can be used obviating the need for costly test components and making the test more practically relevant. Furthermore, no special knowhow is required.

Consequently, SMEs and especially those having no R&D departments are able to perform scientifically meaningful and economical cleaning tests. The project work will provide the basis for new cross-sector standards for cleaning and cleanability tests as well as guidelines for component design for effective cleaning.

Do you have any questions about the cleaning of your components or would you like further information about the SePoRa project? Then please get in touch with us!


Project duration December 01, 2019 - May 31, 2022
Project partner

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Galvano- und Oberflächentechnik e.V.

Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V.


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