Ultrasonic Systems for Precise Cleaning Applications
2045 Martin Avenue, Suite 204 Santa Clara, CA 95050

Can an Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner Clean it?

April 21, 2020

Almost any item can be cleaned with an industrial ultrasonic cleaner as long as it can be immersed in a cleaning tank of water and then dried after cleaning. Low frequencies deliver powerful cleaning action for removing heavy deposits and dirt from engine components and machine parts. Higher frequencies use a gentle cleaning action for more delicate parts such as semiconductor wafers and electronics. Even items such as medical implants, lenses and jewelry can be cleaned effectively with ultrasonic cleaners. Advantages include the absence of strong chemicals and complete cleaning in hard-to-reach places.

Ultrasonic Bubbles Can Clean Almost Anything

Ultrasonic cleaners work by creating microscopic bubbles in water to dislodge particles of dirt and contaminants from the surfaces of parts to be cleaned. The bubbles are called cavitation bubbles and are formed when ultrasonic sound waves travel through water. The sound waves form low-pressure troughs between the waves and high-pressure peaks. The bubbles form at low pressure and burst at high pressure, releasing a jet of liquid that hits the surface of the parts to be cleaned. This cycle repeats thousands of times per second and the many microscopic jets of water can clean a wide variety of parts.

Special Measures Can Improve Ultrasonic Cleaning

Although industrial ultrasonic cleaners work with just plain water, sometimes contaminants that are oily or greasy are hard to remove. In such cases ultrasonic cleaning will be quicker if a mild detergent or solvent is added to the water. For especially difficult deposits, special mild solvents chosen for the kind of material to be removed will speed up cleaning and ensure that all foreign material is cleaned off.

Sometimes hard dirt and caked on residue are difficult to clean. For such deposits, ultrasonic cleaning works better when the cleaning water is heated. The cleaning tank has to have a heater and the ultrasonic transducers that generate the sound waves in the cleaning solution have to be able to withstand high temperatures. The heated water softens the deposits and lets the cavitation bubbles work more rapidly.

For almost all cleaning applications, an ultrasonic cleaner can clean a part using plain, cold water, but for especially hard-to-clean parts, mild detergents or solvents and heat can help. Such special measures speed up the ultrasonic cleaning and improve overall cleaning performance.

Choosing the Right Frequency Is Critical

While ultrasonic cleaners out-perform traditional cleaning methods that use chemicals, brushing and pressure jets, the ultrasonic frequency is critical for successful cleaning. The powerful cleaning action of low frequencies in the 20 kHz to 40 kHz range is appropriate for rugged parts made of hard materials such as steel, brass and cast iron. The comparatively large cavitation bubbles of the low frequencies can remove heavy contamination and tough dirt. As the frequency increases, the cavitation bubbles become smaller and the cleaning action is less intense. At the highest frequencies in the MHz range, the cleaning action is gentle enough for even the most delicate parts.

If the wrong frequency is used, large cavitation bubbles may damage the parts to be cleaned. Low frequencies may remove coatings and finishes while soft material such as aluminum may suffer surface pitting. An experienced manufacturer of ultrasonic cleaners can recommend the best frequency for each cleaning application.

Kaijo Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners Deliver Top Cleaning Performance

Kaijo works with customers to ensure they use the right industrial ultrasonic cleaner for their cleaning application so parts are completely cleaned without any damage. The company has extensive experience in the field of ultrasonic cleaning and offers a full line of ultrasonic cleaning components and systems. If you need an effective cleaning solution for any part or device, contact Kaijo’s experts for a free consultation.