October 29, 2018
Traditional industrial cleaning methods involve the use of toxic chemicals to dissolve surface contaminants on the parts to be cleaned and mechanical scrubbing to remove residues. The cost of such chemicals continues to rise as does the cost of handling them safely and the cost of waste disposal. The best alternative to toxic chemical-based cleaning is the use of industrial ultrasonic cleaners. Ultrasonic cleaning removes surface contaminants of all kinds without requiring harsh chemicals and the method is cost effective, fast and delivers excellent cleaning results.
The Rising Cost of Chemical-Based Cleaning Methods
To ensure that surface contaminants dissolve quickly, the chemical solvents used have to be aggressive and toxic. Such chemicals are the subject of constantly increasing regulations, both for environmental effects and for worker safety. The cost of the chemicals themselves keeps rising as suppliers have to comply with rigorous storage, handling and transportation requirements. Once delivered to the industrial facility where the cleaning will take place, safe handling and waste disposal are costly.
Typical requirements for an industrial cleaning station using harsh chemicals can include leak containment during storage and handling, ventilation and protection against inadvertent contact for workers and safe disposal of waste chemicals. Disposal costs are likely to continue rising rapidly as environmental regulations are tightened and trend towards a zero footprint. Industrial facilities that decide to retain chemical cleaning methods are faced with high additional long-term investments without any benefits from improved performance.
How Ultrasonic Cleaning Avoids the Use of Chemicals
Ultrasonic cleaning is a mechanical cleaning method that uses the scrubbing effect of microscopic cavitation bubbles produced by ultrasonic waves in the cleaning solution. The cavitation bubbles are formed in the low-pressure regions of the ultrasonic sound waves and they collapse in the high-pressure peaks. This continuous formation and collapse produces a powerful scrubbing action on the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned, dislodging contaminants and cleaning rapidly and completely.
Because ultrasonic cleaning relies on the action of cavitation bubbles to remove dirt, there is no need for soaking in chemicals or for washing in aggressive solvents. The process is completely safe, using only water and sound waves. For especially difficult cleaning applications a mild detergent will sometimes speed cleaning action and for grease and rubbery deposits, a heated bath can yield improved results. Even with these additional measures, the ultrasonic cleaning process does not require special storage or handling facilities and has no regulatory oversight for waste disposal. Unlike the increasing costs for storage, handling and disposal of toxic chemicals, no additional regulations or tightened and costly standards can be expected for ultrasonic cleaning equipment.
Additional Advantages of Ultrasonic Cleaning
While the avoidance of the use of harsh chemicals makes ultrasonic cleaning an attractive alternative to traditional cleaning methods, the way ultrasonic cleaning operates results in several additional advantages. The action of the cavitation bubbles provides quick and complete cleaning everywhere the cleaning solution can penetrate.
Cleaning is rapid because the cleaning intensity can be adjusted by varying the frequency of the ultrasonic waves. Low frequencies remove heavy dirt from robust parts such as engine valves while high frequencies can clean particles from delicate components such as semiconductor microstructures. For any frequency, cavitation bubbles appear and clean surfaces wherever the cleaning solution is present. This means interior surfaces and hard-to-reach places are cleaned quickly and completely.
Kaijo’s ultrasonic cleaning equipment is designed as a cost-effective alternative to using toxic chemicals for cleaning applications. The company can help analyze the cleaning application, propose a standard or custom system and deliver the equipment from the complete line of Kaijo industrial ultrasonic cleaners.
October 16, 2018
Ultrasonic cleaning systems are made up of an ultrasonic generator, one or more transducers and a tank to hold the cleaning solution. The generators and transducers produce the ultrasonic waves responsible for cleaning action, but the ultrasonic tank has to be suitable for the cleaning application as well. In a well-designed system, the ultrasonic frequency, system power and tank characteristics all contribute to optimum performance.
Size of Tank and System Flexibility
If the ultrasonic cleaning system is a single use installation, the cleaning tank can be sized to exactly contain the parts normally cleaned. For parts that are long and narrow or odd shapes, custom tanks are the most efficient. For ultrasonic cleaning systems that are used for many different cleaning applications, the choice of tank is critical so as to not limit cleaning system flexibility.
If the size of the largest part to be cleaned is known, the tank can be a standard size that will accommodate this part. For delicate parts or for many small parts, a part basket can be used to hold the parts and prevent them from coming into contact with vibrating tank sides and bottom. The tank then has to be slightly larger to hold the parts inside the part basket. If the tank chosen is very large, more than one transducer may be required to make sure cleaning bubbles are generated evenly throughout the cleaning solution.
Types of Transducer
The type of transducer used impacts the design of the ultrasonic cleaning tank. Transducers can be mounted on the tank, bolted onto the tank or be immersible, independent units. Turnkey installations often have mounted transducers and the system can be plugged in, ready to go. Bolt-on transducers are bolted onto the walls or the bottom of the cleaning tank. They are suitable for clearly defined industrial application and several can be bolted onto a tank to ensure complete and rapid cleaning.
Immersible transducers are the most flexible. The transducer is attached to a cable that plugs into the ultrasonic generator and the immersible transducer can be placed in any tank. Possible configurations include vertical or horizontal immersion, the immersion of several transducers and using immersible transducers in existing cleaning tanks.
While standard ultrasonic cleaning works to remove contaminants and surface dirt quickly and completely, additional measures such as the use of solvents or heat will improve cleaning performance for some applications. Sometimes hard-to-clean deposits of a specific type or hardened grease or rubbery matter can be cleaned more quickly as long as the tanks have a heater and can support a heated cleaning solution
When a contaminant doesn’t easily dissolve in water and is therefore hard to clean in an ultrasonic water bath, the addition of a mild solvent to remove the dirt can speed up the cleaning process. Often a general purpose solvent such as a mild detergent can be used, but for some applications, a solvent specific to the contaminant is best.
Kaijo Ultrasonic Tanks Meet All the Requirements
Kaijo’s ultrasonic cleaning tanks are made from top quality materials and manufactured to the highest standards. They are built to withstand the action of ultrasonic cavitation cleaning bubbles without pitting, are impervious to the solvents that might be used and can hold hot cleaning solutions if required. The tanks are suitable for use with immersible transducers and are available with mounted or bolt-on units.
The company has a complete line of standard ultrasonic cleaning tanks that can be ordered with accessories such as baskets and heaters. For special applications, Kaijo can design and build large or specially shaped tanks and can propose optimum transducer placement, especially if more than one transducer is required. No matter what the cleaning application, Kaijo can propose an ultrasonic cleaning system and make sure it delivers the cleaning performance their customer needs.