Ultrasonic Systems for Precise Cleaning Applications
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Can My Parts Be Cleaned Using Ultrasonics?

June 29, 2017

Can My Parts Be Cleaned Using Ultrasonics?Industrial operations often require the cleaning of parts during or at the end of the manufacturing process. Traditionally such cleaning methods use harsh chemicals to dissolve contaminants and mechanical scrubbing to remove tough residue. Cleaning parts in this way is time-consuming and expensive. Even the best traditional cleaning methods are not completely effective and leave contaminants in hard-to-reach places. Ultrasonics can address these problems and provide quick and completely effective cleaning solution for all kinds of parts, tools and equipment.

How an Ultrasonic Cleaning System Works

Ultrasonic cleaning systems remove surface dirt and contaminants through the action of microscopic bubbles in a cleaning bath filled with water (which may also include a mild detergent). As the ultrasonic sound waves travel through the cleaning solution, the waves produce crests of high and low pressure. Cavitation bubbles form in the low-pressure areas and collapse under high pressure, creating an intensive scrubbing action. The effect of bubble formation and collapse is strong enough to deliver a substantial improvement in cleaning performance over traditional methods.

How to Choose an Ultrasonic System

Ultrasonic cleaning systems can increase production facility efficiency by reducing cleaning times, but they must have the right characteristics for a particular cleaning application. Choosing the right frequency and power are critical for optimal performance and choosing the right system ensures that all required cleaning needs can be met.

Low-frequency systems operating at around 26 kHz or 38 kHz create comparatively large bubbles with a robust cleaning action. Such systems are ideal for heavy residues on hard surfaces such as steel, copper and glass. Systems with higher frequencies operating at 100 kHz or more generate smaller bubbles that create a gentle cleaning action for delicate parts such as solar cells, medical devices and semiconductors.

No matter what the frequency, the system has to be able to generate enough power to fill the cleaning tank with bubbles. Finally, if an industrial process involves a single, specific cleaning action, a single-frequency system is an appropriate choice. If many different cleaning applications may be needed, a multiple-frequency system is better.

Additional Features of Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems

Other features used with an ultrasonic cleaning system include baskets to hold the parts to be cleaned, the possibility of heating the cleaning solution, different sizes of cleaning tanks and the ability to operate with different cleaning solutions. Making sure that your cleaning system includes the features you need is critical for effective ultrasonic cleaning performance.

For baskets and size of the tank, the basic requirement is that tank size has to be large enough for the parts you want to clean. Baskets hold the parts to be cleaned and keep them from touching the walls and floor of the tank. Baskets are not necessary for cleaning, but the floor or walls of the tank may vibrate with the ultrasonic waves and contact with the parts could cause damage. If a basket is used, the basket has to be sized according to the parts it will hold, and the tank has to be large enough to hold the basket.

Heating the cleaning solution is an advantage for contaminants that soften with increased temperature. Grease and oil are easier to remove when warm and heating can speed up the cleaning process. The same is true for cleaning solutions. While ultrasonics will work with plain water, adding a mild solvent designed to remove a specific contaminant improves cleaning performance.

Kaijo Ultrasonic Cleaners

An excellent way of ensuring that an ultrasonic cleaning system can fulfill the requirements of a specific application is to consult a company specializing in ultrasonic cleaning solutions. Kaijo has over 65 years of experience in this field and can help choose the ideal system. The Phenix turnkey ultrasonic cleaning system is an example of a versatile system that can meet a variety of requirements. Kaijo’s staff of experts can explain how the Phenix system operates and the features it offers while examining the needs of customers and proposing specialized solutions where required.

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Kaijo Shibuya America Inc. Exhibiting at SEMICON West 2017

June 21, 2017

Semicon West 2017 LogoKaijo Shibuya America Inc. will be exhibiting at SEMICON West 2017, at Booth 5518 North Hall, from July 11-13 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Come by our booth to talk with us and learn how our new Phenix Hyper wave can enhance the uniformity of your ultrasonic cleaning process. Kaijo is an industry leader in megasonic and ultrasonic cleaning technology and offers a wide selection of state-of-the-art products and innovations not found with other ultrasonic cleaning manufacturers. (more…)

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Ultrasonic Cleaning 101: What Are Ultrasonic Waves and How Do They Clean?

June 19, 2017

Ultrasonic Cleaning 101: What Are Ultrasonic Waves and How Do They Clean?Ultrasonic cleaning systems use ultrasonic waves to clean parts, tools and equipment quickly and effectively. A typical system is made up of an ultrasonic generator, a transducer and a cleaning tank. The generator produces an electrical signal at the required ultrasonic frequency. Ultrasonic frequencies used range from about 26 kHz to 200 kHz, and a generator may be designed for a single frequency or a frequency range.

The transducers convert the electric signal to physical vibrations that can create ultrasonic waves in a liquid. The transducer is submerged in the cleaning solution and includes a heavy metal plate. When the transducer receives the electric signal from the generator, the metal plate vibrates at the ultrasonic frequency and fills the liquid in the cleaning tank with ultrasonic waves.

The cleaning tank holds the parts to be cleaned, the cleaning solution and the transducer. It may include a basket to keep the parts from touching the tank walls and bottom, and it may include a heater to warm the liquid. High performance industrial ultrasonic cleaners work with plain cold water but adding a mild detergent and heating the solution can improve cleaning performance for some contaminants.

How Ultrasonic Waves Clean

The ultrasonic waves in the cleaning liquid remove contaminants and dirt from the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned through the action of cavitation bubbles. Just like waves on the surface of a body of water, ultrasonic sound waves have peaks and troughs. When the sound waves travel within a cleaning solution, the peaks and troughs become areas of high and low pressure.

In the low-pressure areas, cavitation bubbles form and the bubbles collapse under high pressure. As an ultrasonic sound wave trough passes the surface of a part to be cleaned, the cavitation bubbles form along the surface. When the high-pressure peak of an ultrasonic wave passes by, the bubbles collapse and release energy which produce a scrubbing action on the surface. This process repeats at the frequency of the ultrasonic wave. As a result, millions of microscopic bubbles form and collapse many thousands of times per second delivering intensive cleaning action by loosening dirt and contaminants and scrubbing the surfaces to be cleaned.

How System Frequency Affects Cleaning Performance

While all industrial ultrasonic cleaners operate the same way, the operating frequency influences what kinds of parts can be cleaned most effectively. In general, low frequencies can better deal with heavy dirt and contamination on hard surfaces while higher frequencies are used for delicate cleaning applications.

The sound wave pressure peaks of low frequencies such as 26 kHz to 38 kHz are relatively far apart, leaving more time for the cavitation bubbles to grow. The comparatively large bubbles give off a lot of energy when they collapse, and the resulting cleaning action is especially intense. Frequencies such as 100 kHz or higher leave less time for the bubbles to grow and the smaller bubbles give off less energy when they collapse. The cleaning action at the higher frequencies is gentler, becoming less aggressive as the frequency rises.

The low frequencies are suitable for items such as metal tools, glass or hard disk drive components. High frequencies are used for more fragile items such as delicate machined parts, semiconductor components or solar cells. Choosing the correct frequency and other ultrasonic system features is critical for optimal cleaning performance.

How Kaijo can Help You Choose the Right System

Global ultrasonic cleaning system manufacturer Kaijo offers a wide range of standard and turnkey solutions and can customize systems to match special cleaning needs. The company has the expertise to evaluate cleaning applications and suggest the ideal system to match specific requirements. Kaijo’s ultrasonic cleaners can clean quickly and completely to help increase manufacturing productivity, reduce the use of harsh cleaning chemicals and improve output quality with better cleaning performance.

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