Ultrasonic Systems for Precise Cleaning Applications
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How Utility Companies Cut Grease, Grime and Costs with Ultrasonic Cleaners

December 22, 2017

How Utility Companies Cut Grease, Grime and Costs with Ultrasonic Cleaners

The large compressors that utility companies use to move natural gas through pipelines and into storage need extensive maintenance. Both the compressors themselves and the engines that drive them require regular cleaning of parts such as valves, rings, sensors and actuators. Unwanted deposits have to be dissolved, grease and grime have to be cleaned off and contaminants have to be removed.

Traditionally such cleaning and maintenance work has been carried out by hand. Parts are soaked in strong chemical solvents and then scrubbed to remove residues. Soaking takes a lot of time and the chemicals are expensive. Scrubbing is labor-intensive and it’s hard to get parts completely clean. If it’s important to remove deposits completely, it might take several cycles with different chemicals and various cleaning methods. Overall, the cleaning process takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money.

Utilities can achieve better cleaning performance at lower cost by using industrial ultrasonic cleaners. The process uses powerful ultrasonic generators and transducers to generate microscopic bubbles in the cleaning solution. The scrubbing action of the bubbles cleans parts completely and rapidly. Manual cleaning and expensive, harsh chemicals are not needed. Utilities using this process can reap substantial benefits from the advantages that ultrasonic cleaning delivers.

Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner Advantages and Benefits

Ultrasonic technology can remove deposits from compressor and engine parts using only a water-based cleaning solution. For specific contaminants, mild solvents can be added to the water to speed up cleaning. For hardened grease and oil-based materials, the solution can be heated so the cleaning bubbles can more easily dislodge the softened material. In each case, no additional manual scrubbing is required.

The bubbles generated by industrial ultrasonic cleaners appear wherever the cleaning solution can penetrate. This means that crevices, dead-end holes, bolt threads and inaccessible interior surfaces are cleaned just as completely as the outsides of the parts. As long as a part is submerged in the ultrasonic bath, all surfaces are cleaned equally and completely.

Because harsh chemicals are not needed, ultrasonic cleaning starts out with a substantial operating cost advantage. The savings are even higher when the time saved through faster cleaning can result in increased throughput or reduced downtime. Additional savings come from reduced labor costs. Finally there are savings from not having to neutralize and safely discard the toxic cleaning chemicals used in traditional cleaning processes. The fact that ultrasonic cleaning is environmentally friendly is an additional bonus.

While utilities can save substantial amounts of money switching to industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems, an even stronger incentive is the improved cleaning performance. When machine parts are cleaned down to the bare metal everywhere, maintenance is more effective, easier to carry out and achieves improved reliability for the compressors and engines. Parts that are completely clean have a longer life and extend the lifetime of the corresponding machines. Often failure rates and unscheduled down time is reduced and maintenance intervals can be extended. Overall facility-operating performance can be improved.

Kaijo can help utilities realize the benefits of using ultrasonic technology. The company offers free consulting services to determine which ultrasonic cleaning system is best suited for the customer’s application. Sometimes a turnkey system represents the best solution while at other times retrofitted components using existing cleaning tanks is cost-effective. Kaijo can follow up its recommendations with proposals from its complete line of industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems. Clients in many different industry verticals already use Kaijo ultrasonic systems to reduce their maintenance times and costs. Utilities, with their many stations requiring machine parts cleaning can achieve similar results with Kaijo’s help.

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The Power behind Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems

December 13, 2017

Coatings of grime, grease and sludge are only some of the stubborn contaminants that industries everywhere struggle with. The conventional approach to the cleaning and maintenance of equipment has always been environmentally hazardous, involved harsh chemicals, difficult protective equipment for workers, and costly compliance procedures. Few alternatives have proven viable.

Ultrasonic cleaning technology today, however, has finally arrived, and offers a solution. An affordable and highly effective advance in the area of safe industrial cleaning, these systems have been proven for years, with wide use seen since the 70s. From antiques to the delicate components of mechanical watches and electronic equipment, and from greasy engine blocks to industrial mechanical equipment, ultrasonic cleaners are universal in their usefulness. They are even used to clean the thousands of window blinds that cover windows in offices and public buildings everywhere.

Sound, not substance

Ultrasonic cleaning relies on the idea that physical removal of stains, oil and soil from materials does not require physical contact. Instead, this cleaning method relies on the principle of cavitation.

At its most basic, the principle of cavitation is simple enough — it describes the phenomenon in which disturbances in liquids lead to the creation of short-lived cavities bubbles of gas or vacuum. In certain scenarios involving high levels of energy, the destruction of bubbles so formed generates considerable amounts of force. The impact created by such imploding bubbles powers the ultrasonic cleaning method.

At its simplest, an ultrasonic cleaning appliance is a tank fitted with a special loudspeaker capable of generating sound waves in the ultrasonic frequency spectrum. At tens of thousands of cycles a second, this spectrum lies far above the human auditory threshold.

When high-energy ultrasonic sound waves pass through a liquid like water, they create the desired disturbance, leading to the formation of millions of microscopic bubbles. As these bubbles form and implode many times each second, they create the cavitation energy needed to knock dirt, grease, debris and other contaminants off the surface of any article immersed. It is as if there are millions of microscopic chisels knocking dirt off. The cavitation energy created by these bubbles, however, is gentle, even as it removes tough contamination.

Choosing the right kind of ultrasonic cleaning technology

The transducers used in ultrasonic cleaning systems are specifically designed for the generation of high levels of ultrasonic sound energy. There are two kinds of technology in wide use today, magnetostrictive and piezoelectric, the former being a more conventional approach than the latter.

In magnetostrictive transducers, layered metals induced to rapidly expand or contract when subjected to varying magnetic fields. The action creates ultrasonic sound waves. These are robust transducers, but are limited in their versatility. They are rarely able to create ultrasonic sound energy in the spectrum over 30 kHz.

Piezoelectric transducers are a newer technology. These devices exploit the piezoelectric principle — which describes the ability of objects to change shape when exposed to electric fields. In piezoelectric transducers, crystals capable of such physical transformation are attached to metal plates that amplify their action. Piezoelectric transducer technology is far more suitable for ultrasonic cleaning simply because it is able to create ultrasonic sound energy at very high frequencies. This makes it far more versatile and energy-efficient.

Kaijo Piezoelectric ultrasonic cleaning systems

The higher the ultrasonic sound frequency, the smaller the bubbles created, the gentler the action, and the more precise the cavitation action. Kaijo’s ultrasonic cleaning systems employ piezoelectric transducer technology for its inherent superiority. With transducers that produce ultrasonic energy from 20 kHz in the ultrasonic range to over 1.5 MHz in the megasonic range, Kaijo’s ultrasonic cleaning systems offers versatile cleaning ability. With power at these sonic spectrums ranging up to 1200 W per transducer, these are among the most versatile cleaning technologies in the world.

With more than 65 years in the industry, Kaijo is, today, at the forefront of the ultrasonic cleaning industry, and offers a range of quality ultrasonic cleaning tools for every industry need. From the electronics industry to the medical industry and industries using heavy mechanical equipment, Kaijo offers clients both the right tools and expert advice in making the correct choice. Whatever your industrial need, Kaijo’s turnkey Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems provide a cost effective solution. Specialists at Kaijo also help analyze a customer’s cleaning requirements and propose the most effective ultrasonic cleaning solutions based on their specific cleaning requirements.

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