August 6, 2019
Industrial ultrasonic cleaners are an effective solution for many cleaning applications and they can often work more quickly and clean more completely than conventional cleaning methods. When the right kind of ultrasonic cleaner is configured properly, the use of harsh chemicals and manual scrubbing can be avoided. The key is to choose a cleaner with the right characteristics and features. Important things to consider when choosing industrial ultrasonic cleaners include the frequency, size of tank, power, cleaning solution and operating temperature.
1. Ultrasonic Cleaner Frequency
The ultrasonic frequency determines the energy level of the cavitation bubbles that produce the cleaning action in the cleaning solution. Low frequencies result in larger, more energetic bubbles for more powerful cleaning while high frequencies produce smaller, low-energy bubbles. Low frequencies between 25 kHz and 40 kHz are suitable for cleaning hard surfaces or removing oils however these frequencies can produce pitting if parts have soft surfaces. The ideal frequency is based on the material of the object to be cleaned, the surface dimensions and the nature of the contamination.
2. Ultrasonic Cleaning Tank Size
The cleaning system tank size is critical because the parts to be cleaned have to be immersed in the cleaning solution. For single-application ultrasonic cleaners, custom tanks sized for the particular parts to be cleaned are appropriate. For general purpose cleaners, the tanks have to fit the longest dimension of the largest part.
If many different parts are to be cleaned at the same time, a basket may be needed. Baskets keep small parts clear of the tank bottom or sides because vibrating against the tank walls during cleaning may damage parts. If a basket of adequate size is used, the cleaning tank has to be sized to hold the basket.
3. Ultrasonic Cleaner Power
The ultrasonic cleaning system has to generate enough ultrasonic waves to fill the cleaning tank. If the power is too low, dead spots develop and parts are cleaned unevenly. Turnkey systems automatically have the right power levels for the ultrasonic cleaning system, but if the ultrasonic generator, transducer and cleaning tanks are purchased separately, ensuring that the power is enough for the size of tank is important for effective cleaning.
For large tanks, several transducers may be required. Suppliers of industrial ultrasonic cleaners can analyze the requirements and advise customers on adequate power levels. Both the ultrasonic power rating and the configuration of multiple transducers can affect cleaning performance, especially if ultrasonic cleaners are added to existing tanks.
4. Cleaning With Mild Soaps and Detergents
Industrial ultrasonic cleaners can handle light cleaning with deionized water but some heavier cleaning applications can benefit from the use of soap, detergents or mild solvents. If a particular contaminant is hard to clean, a solvent specific to the contaminant will often speed up cleaning and improve cleaning performance. Mild soaps and detergents can help clean oily residues but harsh chemicals are not usually used.
5. Using Heat to Improve Cleaning Performance
Industrial ultrasonic cleaners can remove heavy contamination made up of hardened grease and carbon deposits, but the cleaning process may take more time. These types of deposits can be softened with the application of heat and the soft material is easier to remove. Heating the cleaning solution to just below the boiling point speeds up cleaning for such applications and helps ensure complete removal of the contamination.
If heat is to be used, the tank and the ultrasonic transducers must be capable of operating in temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius. The tank has to be fitted with a heater and the parts themselves have to be able to withstand the high temperatures.
Kaijo has the experience, the in-house expertise and the complete line of ultrasonic cleaning equipment to meet the needs of customers. Kaijo offers free consulting and can help choose the best system based on a customer’s cleaning application. With Kaijo’s expert advice, the selected cleaning system will meet its performance targets and improve overall cleaning operations.