Ultrasonic Systems for Precise Cleaning Applications
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Designing an Ultrasonic Cleaning System for Your Application

July 31, 2017

While ultrasonic cleaning systems are an ideal solution for many cleaning applications, they have to be designed with the particular tasks in mind. The operating frequencies of the system and tank size are key factors in selecting a system that will fulfill requirements. The rated power of the ultrasonic system, its flexibility to meet various cleaning needs and the type of transducers used also impact how well the system will perform. Only an ultrasonic cleaning system with the necessary design features will clean quickly and effectively.

Parts or Components to be Cleaned

The main influence on the design of an ultrasonic system is the nature of the parts or components that have to be cleaned. Key characteristics are a size of the parts, the material they are made of and the kind of dirt or contaminants to be removed.

The size of the parts determines the size of the cleaning tanks and the type of basket needed. The basket keeps the parts suspended in the cleaning solution so they don’t rest on the bottom or against the sides of the tank where vibrations might damage them. The basket has to fit inside the tank, and its mesh has to be fine enough to support the parts. Large numbers of small parts or single large pieces might need a large tank while a smaller tank might be suitable for fewer or smaller parts. Large tanks need more power and may require several ultrasonic transducers to cover the whole tank.

The part material and the nature of the contaminant determine what frequencies are best. Low frequencies of 20 kHz to 40 kHz deliver robust cleaning action to remove heavy dirt from rugged parts such as metal components and glass. Higher frequencies in the 100 kHz range clean more fragile items such as delicate machined parts and solar cells. Higher frequencies in the 1 MHz range deliver gentle cleaning for items such as semiconductor components. Choosing the wrong frequency can result in either slow cleaning or damage to the parts to be cleaned.

Selecting the Right Type of Ultrasonic Cleaning System

Ultrasonic cleaning systems are made up of an ultrasonic generator that produces the ultrasonic signal, transducers that convert the signal to sound waves in the cleaning solution and the cleaning solution tank. The components can be purchased separately or as a turnkey ultrasonic system that incorporates three components in one integrated package. Transducers can be independent, immersible units or they may be mounted or bolted onto the tank. Selecting the right type of system for an application helps ensure effective and rapid cleaning as well as reliable performance.

For some applications, it may make sense to purchase immersible transducers to place in an existing cleaning tank. Cleaning requirements may be for cleaning a specific part or component and a single-frequency system optimized for the use might be the most appropriate. Another production line might need multiple cleaning tasks to be performed at different times. Small turnkey systems are often cost effective, or a customer might need a large, custom tank with multiple transducers.

Kaijo can help customers select the best system for their needs and make sure that it performs as expected. Kaijo’s team of ultrasonic system experts have the experience to analyze a customer’s requirements and suggest the most effective solution. They can make recommendations on key system characteristics such as frequency, power and system configuration to ensure that the resulting cleaning performance matches the customer’s requirements to improve efficiency.