Ultrasonic Systems for Precise Cleaning Applications
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Cleaning Brass and Stainless Steel Media Using Ultrasonic Parts Cleaners

October 30, 2017

Cleaning Brass and Stainless Steel Media Using Ultrasonic Parts CleanersUltrasonic parts cleaners use ultrasonic frequency generators and transducers to create tiny bubbles in water or a mild detergent solution. The bubbles produce a microscopic scrubbing action that is highly effective in removing surface contaminants from solid metal surfaces such as brass and stainless steel. Traditional cleaning methods using harsh chemicals and mechanical scrubbing are more labor intensive and they don’t clean as well as ultrasonic parts cleaners. Companies that have to clean brass and stainless steel parts can reduce cleaning times, reduce production costs and improve cleaning performance by switching to ultrasonic cleaners for their cleaning applications.

How Ultrasonic Technology Cleans Brass and Stainless Steel

For robust parts such as those made from brass and stainless steel, ultrasonic cleaners operating at the lower ultrasonic frequency ranges are the most effective. Ultrasonic generators for 26 kHz or 38 kHz create energetic bubbles that form and collapse in time with the cleaning frequency. When they collapse near the surface of the metal, they release bursts of energy that dislodge dirt particles but don’t harm the solid metal surface.

For metal parts covered in oil or grease, the effectiveness of ultrasonic cleaners can be increased by adding a mild detergent to the water bath and by heating the cleaning solution slightly. Heating softens the oil and grease and the detergent helps dissolve it. The ultrasonic bubbles penetrate wherever there is cleaning solution so cleaning is rapid and complete.

Benefits of Using Ultrasonic Cleaners

When a facility switches from traditional cleaning methods to ultrasonic cleaning, it can expect substantial benefits from making the change. With environmental concerns becoming more important, eliminating the use of harsh chemicals provides a big advantage and helps increase worker safety as well. Cleaning with ultrasound is quick, effective and convenient and does not require constant monitoring.

Instead of spending money on expensive cleaning chemicals, facilities that use ultrasonic parts cleaners only have to buy small quantities of mild solvents or detergents. The costs associated with chemical storage, chemical handling and toxic waste disposal disappear as well. Often chemical baths do not completely remove surface dirt from the metal parts and mechanical scrubbing is required. When carried out manually, high labor costs are incurred due to the time-consuming nature of the work. When scrubbing by machine, costs include the purchase of the machine and its maintenance. Switching to ultrasonic cleaning avoids all these costs and provides substantial savings.

In addition to incomplete cleaning, traditional cleaning methods suffer from limitations on where they can clean. Parts with complex shapes are hard to clean with scrubbing and bolt holes, crevices, slots and internal cavities may be inaccessible. Ultrasonic cleaning produces the cleaning bubbles wherever cleaning solution is present. As long as the water or mild detergent solution is in contact with the part surface when the part is immersed in the cleaning bath, the ultrasonic bubbles will scrub the inside of holes and hard-to-reach places. Parts are cleaned inside and out, quickly and reliably.

How Kaijo Can Help Make the Switch

Kaijo has extensive experience with ultrasonic technology and the in house expertise to advise customers how best to clean their brass and stainless steel parts. The company offers free consultation and can advise facility managers and owners how best to solve specific cleaning problems. Backed by its complete line of ultrasonic cleaning systems and equipment, Kaijo can make recommendations on solutions for particular cleaning applications. Typical results of a switch to ultrasonic cleaning include lower overall operating costs, increased productivity due to reduced cleaning times and improved output as a result of better cleaning performance.

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Should De-Ionized Water Be Used with an Ultrasonic Cleaning System?

October 16, 2017

Should De-Ionized Water Be Used with an Ultrasonic Cleaning System?De-ionized (DI) water is plain water that has been purified to remove contaminants such as metals and salts (ions). When DI water is used in ultrasonic cleaning systems it can improve cleaning performance, depending on the parts to be cleaned and the nature of the contaminants to be removed. Such increased cleaning performance is especially important for delicate parts that can’t tolerate detergents. For these cleaning applications, using slightly heated DI water makes the ultrasonic cleaning process more effective than when using plain water.

When to Use DI Water

While ultrasonic cleaning systems will work with plain water, adding a mild detergent can often speed up the cleaning action. Delicate parts such as semiconductor wafers, printed circuit boards and some medical devices might be damaged by using detergents, so in these applications cleaning with DI water is recommended. The DI water helps the ultrasonic bubbles clean rapidly, even in the absence of detergents.

For stubborn grease and oil contamination, DI water is not effective in speeding up the cleaning process. Instead, a mild detergent or solvent specific to the particular contaminant is needed. Sometimes using a solvent that attacks the dirt but doesn’t harm the part to be cleaned can be found. For other types of cleaning, the use of DI water throughout the cleaning process is beneficial.

When an ultrasonic cleaning system has removed dirt from the parts to be cleaned, the cleaning solution is drained away but the parts often still have to be rinsed to finish the cleaning process. Normal water has dissolved minerals and other impurities so that rinsing can leave a deposit. After the parts are dry, they may have spots or films left over from the evaporated water. If this is not acceptable, DI water can be used for rinsing. Since it contains no impurities, dried parts and components will be completely clean and free of spots.

How DI Water Helps Clean

DI water helps ultrasonic systems clean parts and components in two ways. DI water without any additives has no impurities and therefore acts like a sponge. Once the microscopic bubbles generated by the ultrasonic cleaning system have dislodged tiny particles, the DI water quickly absorbs any dissolved substances. Normal water already contains impurities and therefore doesn’t absorb contaminants to the same extent.

A second way in which DI water helps ultrasonic systems clean quickly applies when mild detergents are added to the system. When normal water is used, the detergent first absorbs the impurities in the water before going on to help clean away dirt. With DI water, there are no impurities to reduce the effectiveness of the detergent and all of the cleaning power goes to absorb contaminants removed from the parts to be cleaned.

As a result, the use of DI water can improve the effectiveness of ultrasonic cleaning systems in general. It speeds up cleaning for applications that can’t use detergents and helps systems clean when detergents are required. In both cases, rinsing with DI water will remove any remaining impurities.

How Kaijo Can Help

Kaijo has over 65 years of experience with ultrasonic technology and can help with specific customer applications. The company will provide free consultation and advice on using ultrasonic cleaning systems and can help determine whether the use of DI water is effective in each customer’s application. As well as giving expert advice, Kaijo can follow up with concrete proposals drawn from its extensive line of ultrasonic cleaning systems and components. In addition to guidance on DI water, customers can get advice on which systems will work best for them, what ultrasonic frequencies to use for their cleaning applications and how to best configure their systems.

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