ChemFree Corp., a Norcross company that makes environmentally friendly cleaning systems for machine parts, has been awarded the 2009 Georgia Distinguished Exporter Award by the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The award honors a small- to medium-sized company for product innovation and export efforts. Companies with fewer than 150 employees and $75 million or less in annual sales qualified for the competition.

Chemfree sells its products in 40 countries and holds 27 patents. More than 10 percent of the company’s sales are exports, said company spokeswoman Melissa Page-Hale. Sales are particularly strong in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, she said.

“I can’t imagine our business without it,” Ms. Page-Hale said of international sales. “It’s integral.”

The company, a subsidiary of Intelligent Systems Corp., sells parts washers to auto repair shops and other facilities. Microbes are used in the cleaning process, eliminating hazardous wastes.

Chemfree received the award Nov. 6 in Macon at a dinner for the annual Georgia-European Union Summit organized by the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival. The summit celebrates growing business ties between Georgia and the EU.

“I can think of no better time to highlight outstanding companies than before an international business-savvy audience,” William Fickling III of Macon, chairman of the European summit, said in a news release.

Last year’s award winner was Benedetto Guitars in Savannah.