Ultrasonic Systems for Precise Cleaning Applications
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Time Needed for Ultrasonic Cleaners to Clean Parts

May 16, 2018

How long an ultrasonic cleaning system takes depends on the system, the part to be cleaned and the contaminants. For light cleaning action of a part with hard surfaces, a few minutes may be enough. Average cleaning times for common ultrasonic cleaning tasks may range from ten to twenty minutes. For cleaning substantial deposits of caked-on grease or carbon, cleaning may take substantially longer. Even for the most difficult cleaning applications, cleaning with ultrasonic cleaners is generally much faster and effective than traditional cleaning methods.

Powerful Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners

The time required for an industrial ultrasonic cleaner to effectively clean a part depends on the frequency and the power of the system. The technology uses the action of microscopic cavitation bubbles in the cleaning solution. A high frequency such as 100 kHz and above produces small bubbles and gentle cleaning that takes longer. Low frequencies such as 20 to 40 kHz produce large bubbles and strong cleaning action that works quickly.

High frequencies are used for delicate parts such as semiconductors that could be damaged if the cleaning action of the ultrasonic system is too intense. Low frequencies are used for robust components such as metal car parts with hard surfaces that can withstand strong cleaning action. As a result, parts with soft surfaces or sensitive structures may take longer than to clean than tough, metal parts.

The power of the ultrasonic system also helps determine how quickly the system can clean. If the power is too low, there will be fewer cavitation bubbles to clean the parts and the cleaning will take longer. Just the right power for the size of bath produces the most bubbles possible and results in the fastest cleaning action.

How the Contamination to be Cleaned Affects Cleaning Speed

The speed with which industrial ultrasonic cleaners can remove dirt depends on how heavy the contamination is and the nature of the contaminant. The part to be cleaned also plays a role because cleaning speeds up if mild solvents or detergents are added to the cleaning solution or the bath is heated. If the part to be cleaned is sensitive to the chemicals or could be damaged by heat, these measures can’t be applied and cleaning will take longer.

Ultrasonic cleaners work especially quickly when the contamination is in the form of light dirt or particles. These can be dislodged quickly and rinsed away, leaving completely clean parts. Soft films or materials soluble in water are also removed rapidly. For materials that will dissolve in other chemicals, specific solvents or mild detergents can be used to speed up cleaning. Heat is used to soften contaminants such as hardened grease or oily deposits. In each case, the increased speed of the cleaning process has to be balanced against the ability of the parts to withstand the action of the added chemicals or heat without damage.

Comparatively Fast Cleaning

Although ultrasonic cleaners can take longer for some applications than for others, their overall cleaning performance is much faster than traditional methods involving soaking, scrubbing and pressure washing. Soaking, while it may be effective, is usually very time-consuming and requires the use of expensive, corrosive chemicals. Scrubbing can damage the parts and is labor-intensive. Pressure washing can only be used for robust parts and may not get hard-to-access surfaces clean. Ultrasonic cleaners clean comparatively quickly and completely, even cleaning dead-end holes, interior crevices and textured surfaces effectively.

Kaijo can provide free consulting services to help customers select the best high performance ultrasonic cleaner for their application. Kaijo’s cleaning systems work quickly and clean parts thoroughly. The company has unparalleled experience in field of ultrasonic cleaning technology and can provide expert advice with a quote from its complete line of industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems and equipment.