August 28, 2018
Manufacturers of plastic products have to clean their equipment between production runs and often have to clean the plastic products they manufacture as well. Also depending on the end use of the products, different standards of cleanliness for the equipment as well as the materials used may apply. Products provided for food or medicine will require high levels of cleanliness while other, less critical applications may not have the same stringent requirements.
Traditional cleaning methods use mechanical scrubbing for rough cleaning, harsh chemicals for dissolving stubborn dirt and other chemicals for sanitary cleaning. These cleaning methods are expensive, not environmentally friendly and may require additional handling and labor. High performance industrial ultrasonic cleaners can deliver different levels of cleaning action by varying the frequencies and the power. They work without harsh chemicals and clean quickly and effectively. Ultrasonic cleaning bubbles responsible for the cleaning action penetrate wherever there is cleaning liquid and cleaning completely removes contaminants down to the plastic base or tool material.
Advantages of Ultrasonic Systems for Cleaning Plastic Products and Manufacturing Equipment
Industrial ultrasonic cleaners consist of a high power ultrasonic generator, a cleaning tank filled with water and an ultrasonic transducer mounted in the tank. A mild solvent may be added to the water to help dissolve some contaminants and the cleaning solution may be heated to soften grease and rubbery deposits. No strong chemicals are used and there is no requirement for mechanical scrubbing. The benefits of using such a system include the following:
- Reduced costs due to absence of chemicals. No costs for purchase of expensive chemicals or their storage, handling and disposal.
- Reduced labor costs because no manual scrubbing, scraping or pressure washing is required.
- Increased worker safety because the ultrasonic cleaning process is completely safe and does not need supervision or monitoring.
- Less time spent on cleaning because the one-step ultrasonic process is quick.
- Better cleaning performance because ultrasonic cleaning penetrates into holes and crevices and cleans everywhere, completely.
- Longer tool and mold life because ultrasonic cleaning does not scratch or otherwise damage the surfaces of tools and molds.
- Better output quality because the ultrasonic cleaning parameters can be chosen to match specific cleaning requirements by using proper frequencies and power levels.
Once an industrial ultrasonic system has been matched to the requirements of an application by a competent ultrasonic equipment manufacturer, the above benefits automatically flow from the use of the new system. If cleaning applications are varied, such as having to clean a wide variety of products or working with a number of different plastic materials, ultrasonic systems with different power levels and multiple frequencies are available.
Ultrasonic Cleaning Benefits
Plastic manufacturing plants that switch from traditional cleaning methods using chemical baths and mechanical dirt removal to ultrasonic cleaning achieve better facility performance and acquire several competitive advantages. The cost savings from labor and chemicals are substantial but there are additional savings from reduced cleaning times. When the ultrasonic system is adjusted to give the desired cleaning intensity, cleaning performance is better and therefore output quality is improved in general.
Additional improvements are achieved from the ability of ultrasonic systems to clean interior surfaces and hard-to-access areas. With traditional cleaning, such areas were either not cleaned or were cleaned with special tools and measures. Such efforts are no longer required with the new systems.
The key to effectively using an ultrasonic cleaner is to use a system that matches the requirements of the cleaning application. Kaijo has the experience and the complete line of ultrasonic cleaning products to deliver the system that is needed. Using the new system will deliver benefits that come from the advantages of the ultrasonic cleaning technology.
August 13, 2018
The most important considerations in choosing an ultrasonic cleaning system are the size of the tank, the frequency of the system and the power it can handle. Accessories such as a cleaning tank temperature heater and a basket to hold the parts must also be considered. Once these basic characteristics are fixed and the type of system required for the cleaning application is clear, additional options are available that may improve cleaning performance and speed up the cleaning process, depending on the parts to be cleaned and the contaminants to be removed.
Cleaning Tank Heater
Ultrasonic cleaners work by generating microscopic bubbles that scrub surfaces clean and remove surface contamination. When contaminants are hard deposits, the bubbles work more slowly because the deposits either absorb some of their energy or are too hard to immediately be broken up and washed away. Typical deposits and contaminants of this type include grease, engine deposits and burnt oil or carbon.
Such contamination is difficult to remove by any cleaning method but heat usually helps soften the deposits or loosen them from the underlying surface. When the cleaning solution of an ultrasonic cleaning system tank is heated, the bubbles act much faster and the cleaning process is completed in less time.
Tank heaters are a useful option for ultrasonic cleaning systems but they have to be designed for the application. The cleaning solution may contain a mild solvent but it is mostly water that boils at 100 degrees centigrade. As a result, the heat settings should be controlled to make sure the cleaning solution does not start boiling.
The cleaning tank also contains ultrasonic transducers that work with electronic parts sensitive to high temperatures. If the cleaning solution is going to be heated to a point just under boiling temperatures, the transducers must be able to withstand 100 degree centigrade heat. For applications that require the tank heater option, making sure that the system is designed to support it is critical.
Using Sweep Frequencies
An ultrasonic cleaning system is designed to operate at a certain frequency at which optimum cleaning results are achieved due to the size of the microscopic bubbles and the cleaning action intensity. At a given frequency, a system may experience a number of unpredictable negative effects. There may be dead spots in the cleaning tank where ultrasonic waves cancel each other out and no cleaning occurs. Resonance vibrations may appear and threaten to damage equipment or the parts to be cleaned. Sweep frequency modes reduce these effects.
When using sweep frequencies, the ultrasonic cleaner frequency varies around a central value. If ultrasonic waves are cancelling out somewhere in the tank, changing the frequency slightly will stop this effect or displace it temporarily to another tank location. Overall, cleaning is more even. Changing the frequency also stops resonance vibrations because they occur at one particular frequency. Using sweep frequencies to continuously vary the operating frequency helps to achieve better cleaning performance.
Water Resonance System
A water resonance system treats water destined for the cleaning tank to promote the formation of cavitation bubbles and help ensure even cleaning action throughout the tank. The water treatment of a water resonance system provides an even distribution of nuclei essential to bubble formation. With the nuclei distributed evenly, bubbles form everywhere in the cleaning solution rather than mainly above the ultrasonic transducer. A water resonance system helps ensure even cleaning action on everything placed in the cleaning tank.
Kaijo Can Provide Ultrasonic Systems as well as Key Options
Kaijo works with many different manufacturers to supply of the right ultrasonic system to meet for their application requirements. The company can supply complete systems from its comprehensive line of ultrasonic products and it has optional features that include tank heaters, use of sweep frequency and water resonance. Specialists at Kaijo also help analyze a customer’s cleaning requirements and propose the most effective ultrasonic cleaning solution based on their specific cleaning requirements.