Small Part and Medical Device Cleanliness Testing spring banner
Small Part and Medical Device Cleanliness Testing gears banner
Small Part and Medical Device Cleanliness Testing filter banner

Small Part Cleanliness Testing (Non-ISO 16232/VDA 19)

The cleanliness of small parts and components is a concern in a variety of industries; especially the automotive and aerospace industries where foreign particles can result in failure of valves, gears, bearings, etc. used in braking, transmissions and combustion systems. Residual particles from the manufacturing, packaging and/or assembling process often need to be removed before use. Verifying and ensuring the cleanliness of small parts prior to system assembly is a common test ensuring the quality of incoming parts, qualifying suppliers, and producing a reliable product.  Part manufacturers often monitor for these particles proactively; evaluating inhouse quality control procedures when starting up a production line or as a precursor to bidding on a new project.   ISO 16232/VDA 19 compliance may not be required at these early stages or investigations.

For clients who may not need full ISO 16232 compliant testing, PTL has the capability to determine the particulate loading of contaminating particles from a batch of small parts by either pressurized rinsing or ultrasonic cleaning of parts using aqueous-based cleaners. The liberated particles are collected, dried, and then weighed to determine the average mass per part or mass collected per square centimeter (area of the part must be provided by the client). Low milligram levels of loading can be detected. Our clients use this information to set specifications for incoming parts to prevent problems before they may occur.  This offering can still provide valuable information at a lower price point to clients who are looking to evaluate their parts but who may not require ISO compliant testing.

On request, particles removed and collected from the parts  can be analyzed to determine the size, shape, and possibly the composition of the particles. The size and shape of particles can be measured by image analysis, and particle size determination alone can be performed using a variety of sizing techniques available at PTL. Measuring the size and shape of foreign particles allows for improved design of filtration and removal systems. Determining the composition of foreign particles using Raman spectroscopy and/or Energy Dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy (EDS) along with Scanning Electron Microscopy can aid in identifying the point source(s) of the contaminate and thus possibly control/prevent generating the contamination all together.

The standard report for this service consists of a summary for the mass collected from the part or batch of parts.  If particle size and/or shape measurements are requested, only the instrument output is provided.  No cleanliness codes nor ISO compliant reports are provided as part of this package.  If ISO 16232/ VDA 19 compliance is required please see our Technical Cleanliness testing.

Read More>


  • Non-ISO 16232/VDA 19 compliant testing allows for lower priced testing
  • Determine the average mass collected per part
  • Determine mass collected per square centimeter
  • May also be able to determine size, shape, and composition of the particles


  • For clients not requiring ISO 16232/VDA 19
  • Available for small-scale batches of parts
  • Low milligram levels of loading can be detected
  • Offered with aqueous-based cleaners only (surfactants/detergents can be added)

Sample Requirements

PTL can accommodate parts for pressure washing at maximum 17” L x 17” W x 6” D.  The maximum size of a part for ultrasonic extraction is 10” L x 8” W x 5” D.

The above sample maximums are preferred.  Please contact usto share specifics about your sample and options for suitable sample quantities.

Additionally, it would be ideal if you could provide a photo with a reference scale or schematic of the parts.

Detection Range

PTL’s LDL for the technique is 1 mg and LQL is 10 mg when using a four-place analytical balance. Typically, a 5 µm, 47 mm PET (polyester) filter is used, but let us know if you have a lower size limit of interest and we can choose an appropriate filter for your application.

Data Reported

A gravimetric summary of the average mass per part or mass collected per square centimeter (area of the part must be provided by the client) can be provided.

Additional tests can be added to measure particle size, shape, or possible particle identification if requested.

Related Articles