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Technical Cleanliness Testing

The characterization of particles through technical cleanliness testing can provide valuable information for automotive and aerospace parts manufacturers. Particles released from mechanical parts can shorten the life of an entire system or result in safety concerns. These particles may be due to component properties, generated by wear, or from contaminants in the manufacturing and/or packaging process.

PTL offers technical cleanliness testing conforming to ISO 16232—Cleanliness of Automotive Components, as well as the Association of German Automotive Industry’s VDA 19. During analysis, particles are extracted from the surface of a part then collected on a filter. Then, the mass of collected particles is determined. Through light optical analysis with the JOMESA HFD Cleanliness Analysis System, the size and counts of captured particulate on the filter can be provided along with classification of metallic, non-metallic, and fiber particles. Further testing can be conducted to provide more detailed characterization including particle shape and possible identification if desired.

With the knowledge provided by technical cleanliness testing, engineers can better control the quality of their final product and troubleshoot the source of contaminants. Customers can be confident in the longevity of their purchases. As a service laboratory, PTL works with our clients to discuss the goal of testing and how parts will be used, and we carefully create custom studies specific to a client’s needs to produce meaningful results.

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  • Can provide particle size, counts, as well as classification of metallic, non-metallic, and fiber particles.
  • Comprehensive analysis options to suit a variety of industry needs.
  • Multiple particle extraction methods available.
  • Extended analysis options provide deeper understanding of contaminants and possible identification.


  • Limited to water or water miscible rinsing agents.
  • Cannot accommodate some larger parts/components, and different size-limits apply to each extraction method.
  • Batch release part cleaning services are not available.
  • For ISO compliance, a declining test will be performed if an existing declining test meeting PTL’s procedures is not provided.

Sample Requirements

For pressure rinsing, PTL can accommodate a maximum dimension of 17”L x 17”W x 6”D.

For pressure rinsing, PTL can wash the entire part or the outside/inside only based on client’s instructions and how the part is used.

For ultrasonic extraction, the maximum dimensions are 10”L x 8”W x 5”D.

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

Ideally, photos should also be provided with a reference scale or schematics of parts to allow for productive discussions.

Detection Range

PTL’s lower mass detection limit is 1 mg and lower quantifiable limit is 10 mg when using a four-place analytical balance for ISO compliant projects. Slightly lower limits can be achieved for non-ISO compliant tests.

The default filter used for particle collection is a 5 µm, 47 mm PET (polyester) filter, but different lower size limits can be accommodated upon request.

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 reported.

Light optical analysis provides particle size and counts of collected particles. Metallic and fiber particles can also be classified with this method. Industry standard cleanliness codes can be summarized.

Further analysis to measure particle shape and possible identification of metallic particles through Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy/X-Ray (EDS/EDX) may be conducted upon request. Raman spectroscopy is also available for possible identification of non-metallic materials.


Particle Technology Labs uses the JOMESA HFD Cleanliness Analysis System to provide ISO 16232 / VDA compliant results.

JOMESA HFD Cleanliness Analysis System

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