Ultrasonic Systems for Precise Cleaning Applications
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How Ultrasonic Cleaners Provide Effective Cleaning Before Plating or Coating

November 8, 2018

how ultrasonic cleaners provide effective cleaning before plating or coatingUltrasonic cleaners provide quick and complete cleaning for parts to be plated or coated, saving time and ensuring superior adhesion. The ultrasonic cleaning process leaves bare surfaces free from contaminants, even in hard-to-reach places such as interior cavities and holes. The use of ultrasonic parts cleaners is completely safe and doesn’t require chemicals to soften or dissolve dirt. Benefits include faster processing, higher throughput and better quality output.

Why Use Ultrasonic Cleaning with Plating or Coating?

Parts to be plated or coated, such as parts made from metal or plastic, often have surface contaminants that must be removed before the plating or coating process can take place successfully. If impurities are left on the surfaces, the covering material often will not adhere to the parts and the quality of the product and its appearance will suffer.

Typical contaminants are residues from machining, buffing compound and shop dirt. Traditional cleaning methods include soaking in chemicals, manual scrubbing and washing. These methods are time-consuming and often don’t remove all contaminants in hard-to-reach places. Ultrasonic parts cleaners remove all contaminants down to the bare surfaces everywhere on the parts to be plated or coated, even from inaccessible areas such as interior openings or crevices. Cleaning is fast and complete.

How Ultrasonic Cleaning Before Plating or Coating Works

Ultrasonic cleaning systems work by producing microscopic cavitation bubbles in the cleaning tank. An ultrasonic generator delivers the high-frequency electric signal to a transducer immersed in the cleaning solution. The transducer has a surface that vibrates at the ultrasonic frequency and creates the ultrasonic waves in the liquid.

Ultrasonic waves in a liquid have high-pressure peaks and low-pressure troughs. Cavitation bubbles are created at low pressure and they collapse in the high-pressure peaks. The continuous cavitation action results in a strong scrubbing effect on the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned. Contaminating material and particles are dislodged and carried away by the cleaning solution. The process depends on the type of contaminant and how much has to be removed but cleaning is often complete after ten to twenty minutes.

Choosing the correct frequency, power and type of transducer is important for effective cleaning before plating or coating. The frequency depends on the structure of the parts and the nature of the contamination. The manufacture of some parts results in surfaces coated with heavy, oily or greasy material while other parts only have a light coating of powder or dirt. The parts themselves may be robust and rugged or delicate and easily damaged. Choosing the right ultrasonic frequency takes these factors into account.

Low frequencies such as 26 kHz or 38 kHz generate comparatively large bubbles that deliver strong, aggressive cleaning power suitable for heavy contamination of robust parts. Lighter contamination on more delicate parts can use higher frequencies with smaller bubbles and softer cleaning action. For the more delicate parts, higher frequencies in the 160 kHz to 200 kHz range deliver gentle cleaning. No matter what kind of part and what contaminants, ultrasonic cleaners can be configured with one or more frequencies that will deliver excellent cleaning performance prior to plating or coating.

Once the frequencies are determined, the power has to be adequate to fill the cleaning tank with ultrasonic waves. With adequate power, bubbles and cleaning action will appear wherever cleaning solution is present. Transducers can be built in, such as in turnkey systems, bolt on or immersible. The independent immersible units are especially flexible and can be easily be used in existing tanks, for example, if there is an existing plating or coating line with cleaning tanks already integrated.

Kaijo’s ultrasonic parts cleaners can effectively be used with any plating or coating application.  In addition Kaijo will help customers select a system that will provide optimum performance to meet their specific cleaning requirements.


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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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