How Ultrasonic Cleaning Benefits Medical Industry Operations
November 18, 2020
The cleaning of re-usable instruments, medical devices and implants during medical industry operations is critical but often difficult. Manual pre-cleaning is time-consuming and may damage delicate instruments. Steam cleaning and heat-sterilization are effective but can’t be used on temperature-sensitive components such as optical fibers and electronic sensors. Many of these instruments have complex shapes and interior passages that are hard to access for manual cleaning. Despite these difficulties, organic matter from previous patients and other medical facility contamination have to be removed completely to avoid infections in new patients.
Ultrasonic cleaning represents an ideal solution to many of these problems. Ultrasonic cleaning systems don’t require high temperatures and the intensity of the cleaning action can be reduced as needed for fragile components. Cleaning is rapid and contaminants are removed completely, even in hard-to-reach places. While ultrasonic cleaning only dislodges surface contamination and does not kill pathogens, the systems can be used to sterilize parts by adding disinfectants to the ultrasonic bath. Benefits from switching to medical ultrasonic cleaners include better patient outcomes and less time spent on cleaning tasks.
Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems Can Be Adapted to Specific Tasks
Ultrasonic cleaners work by producing microscopic cavitation bubbles in the cleaning solution. The bubbles form and collapse in tune with the high-frequency sound waves passing through the liquid. When they collapse, the bubbles create a powerful scrubbing action against the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned. Surface contaminants are dislodged and swept away.
Key factors for effective cleaning are the chosen ultrasonic frequency and the power. High frequencies produce smaller bubbles and a less powerful cleaning action while the comparatively large bubbles of the lower frequencies provide more intense cleaning. The power of the system must be enough to completely fill the tank with ultrasonic waves. It is these waves that create the bubbles throughout the liquid, even on interior surfaces, inside holes or along cracks.
Choosing the right frequency ensures that parts are cleaned quickly and completely without damage. For example, stainless steel instruments can be cleaned at a low 26 kHz frequency that delivers powerful cleaning for robust parts with hard surfaces. Implants made of softer material or those with a delicate coating may require a higher frequency to avoid pitting. Delicate instruments with optical fibers or with mechanically fragile parts may be cleaned safely at even higher frequencies. An experienced supplier of medical ultrasonic cleaners can select the appropriate system characteristics to match the cleaning tasks and make a corresponding recommendation as to which cleaner to buy.
Advantages and Benefits of Medical Ultrasonic Cleaners
Ultrasonic cleaning systems are being used in many industries due to their efficiency and excellent cleaning performance. For medical industry operations, they provide advantages that include the following:
- Improved cleaning performance. Ultrasonic cleaners clean thoroughly, around and inside complex shapes and over uneven surfaces.
- Reduced cleaning times. Ultrasonic systems clean more quickly than manual cleaning or other traditional cleaning methods. In addition, the systems operate without supervision – they can be switched on with a timer and the clean parts can be removed after the elapsed time.
- Consistent results. Manual cleaning results can be inconsistent, depending on who does the cleaning. Ultrasonic cleaners deliver the same clean parts whenever the specified parameters and cleaning times are used.
Benefits can include improved results for patients and better use of medical personnel who receive cleaner instruments while spending less time cleaning them. The key to obtaining these advantages and receiving the resulting benefits is selecting the right medical ultrasonic cleaner. Kaijo has the experience to advise customers on the best cleaner characteristics for an application and to recommend specific systems. In this way Kaijo can ensure that the purchased system performs as needed.