Ultrasonic Systems for Precise Cleaning Applications
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How to Select the Right Type of Ultrasonic Cleaner

June 19, 2018

Industrial ultrasonic cleaners come in several different types with various configurations and characteristics that are determined by the cleaning application. The size of the cleaning system, its power, its frequency and its controls all influence the system’s cleaning capabilities. Selecting the right type of industrial ultrasonic cleaner is critical to obtaining the best cleaning performance possible.

Type of System

While ultrasonic cleaners all work basically the same way, the different types of cleaning system include desktop or bench top systems, turnkey systems and large industrial systems. For cleaning small parts of one type with the same contaminants, a turnkey desktop unit is often the most suitable. These compact systems are integrated for placing on a small surface and they operate at 120 V and at one frequency. The frequency selected matches the parts to be cleaned and the dirt to be removed while the small tank can clean effectively at comparatively low power.

A bench top system is larger and can be an integrated turnkey system or assembled from individual components. Selecting separate ultrasonic generators and transducers adds flexibility to the cleaning operation and allows the cleaning of many different kinds of parts and the removal of different contaminants. Generators and transducer can be switched to obtain the different frequencies needed or they can operate a several frequencies.

Large industrial systems are characterized by tanks that can accommodate long or bulky products. The ultrasonic generators are mounted separately and several transducers may be required to fill the tank with ultrasonic sound waves. The design of these systems is critical to ensure that ultrasonic cleaning takes place evenly throughout the tank.

Selecting System Characteristics

In order to insure that the selected industrial ultrasonic cleaner works as expected, it has to use the right frequency and provide the required power for the application. Transducers can be mounted in the tank or can be loose, immersible units. The cleaning tank can hold pure water or the cleaning solution can contain mild detergents or solvents. For certain applications, a heated cleaning solution improves cleaning performance.

The cleaning frequency selection is vital for removing dirt quickly and completely while avoiding damage to the objects to be cleaned. Frequencies of around 20 to 40 kHz deliver intense cleaning action that cleans quickly but may erode the surfaces of delicate components. Higher frequencies deliver progressively gentler cleaning but take longer to remove dirt. An ideal selection is the lowest frequency that the part to be cleaned can withstand. Once the frequency is selected, the system power has to be high enough to evenly fill the tank with sound waves. For example, a 1200 W system can handle tanks of several cubic feet.

When existing cleaning tanks are to be used, a separate immersible transducer is often the easiest solution. For systems with new tanks, selecting a tank with the transducer built in avoids problems with transducer placement and vibrations. When a heated cleaning solution is to be used, tanks with heating will be needed and tanks suitable for holding solvents should be used if the cleaning solution will contain solvents.

Special measures such as heating or using mild chemicals can help with difficult cleaning tasks. Heat is useful when cleaning heavy contamination with grease and oil because the higher temperature softens surface contaminants and makes them easier to remove. Specific solvents or detergents aimed at dissolving a particular contaminating material can also speed up cleaning and ensure complete removal of the substance.

No matter which type of ultrasonic cleaner is needed for an application, Kaijo can help with the selection and offers consulting free of charge. Once it is clear what cleaner is needed, Kaijo can offer equipment from its complete line of ultrasonic cleaners and will back up its products with outstanding customer service.

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How Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems Are Used to Clean Industrial Lenses

May 29, 2018

Ultrasonic cleaning systems can clean hard surfaces such as glass lenses quickly and effectively, but if there are any special characteristics of the lenses, choosing the correct ultrasonic frequency, power and bath can be important. Low frequencies may wear away or pit surfaces and hot baths or baths with detergents may dissolve or etch even hard materials. Glass itself is usually not affected by ultrasonic cleaning but special coatings, surface treatments or plastic lenses may be damaged. When there is any doubt, it’s important to get the right ultrasonic cleaning system and use the appropriate frequency and power settings for your specific application.

How Ultrasonic Frequencies Can Clean Lenses

Industrial lenses made only of pure glass are ideal candidates for ultrasonic cleaning. An ultrasonic generator produces the high-frequency electronic signal and a transducer immersed in the ultrasonic bath converts the signal to ultrasonic waves in the liquid. The waves create cavitation bubbles in the pressure troughs of the ultrasonic waves and the bubbles collapse again in the wave pressure peaks. This creation and collapse of microscopic bubbles in time with the ultrasonic frequency produces a powerful scrubbing action against the hard surfaces of the lenses. Anything adhering to the glass is removed.

Lower frequencies produce larger bubbles and a robust cleaning action while high frequencies produce smaller bubbles for more delicate cleaning. The power of the ultrasonic cleaning system impacts the amount of time required for cleaning as well. For some contaminants, such as grease and oily residue, a mild detergent helps the cleaning action as does heating the bath to soften such deposits.

Robust cleaning with the addition of detergents and heat cleans pure glass quickly and completely but when the lens has a treated surface or surface film, these measures may cause damage. A more careful, customized approach is required.

Gentle Cleaning of Delicate Lenses

Measures to safely use ultrasonic cleaning systems on all kinds of industrial lenses start with choosing a system that will clean gently while minimizing the time the lens stays immersed in the cleaning solution. The required ultrasonic frequency has to be high enough to avoid damaging coatings that are softer than pure glass. At the same time, many lens coatings are sensitive to lengthy immersion in water, possibly absorbing water, changing color or detaching from the lens surface. The frequency therefore has to be low enough to clean effectively, rapidly removing the particular kind of contaminant that is present.

While the chosen ultrasonic frequency determines the intensity of the cleaning action, the power of the system influences how quickly cleaning takes place. If the power is too low, too few bubbles are generated and the cleaning process takes longer. Exactly the right power level produces the maximum number of bubbles and the fastest cleaning. Even higher levels of power are wasted and don’t influence the cleaning speed.

Heat and detergents are sometimes incompatible with delicate surface treatments of lenses. If the ultrasonic cleaning system is properly configured for maximum cleaning speed, it is often not necessary to add detergents to the cleaning bath or apply heat. The trade-off between duration of the cleaning process and the addition of detergents or heat can be based on the specific lens treatment that has to undergo cleaning. If the coating is very sensitive to exposure in water, heat and a specially formulated solvent may speed up the process and reduce water exposure. In general, cleaning at room temperature using deionized water is the least aggressive and default solution.

Kaijo Offers Ultrasonic Cleaning System Consulting

Custom ultrasonic cleaning solutions are often the most effective and least damaging when delicate surfaces such as those of non-reflective industrial lenses have to be cleaned. Kaijo can suggest the best ultrasonic systems for specific industrial lens cleaning applications based on the company’s extensive experience in the ultrasonic cleaner field. In addition to finding effective solutions for such cleaning tasks, Kaijo can supply components or systems from its complete line of ultrasonic equipment.

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How Long Will Ultrasonic Cleaning Take to Clean My 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 industrial ultrasonic cleaners 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.


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What Is the Definition of Ultrasonic and Megasonic Frequency?

April 27, 2018

Sound energy propagates not in vacuum the way radio-frequency energy does, but within physical mediums. When matter is subjected to sound energy, it is stimulated in a way that forms a rippling propagation — like waves in a body of water. You would also be able to see sound energy pass through a visible medium as well.  In water, it would need to be very loud, high-energy sound, however, and occupy a low frequency range of no more than a few cycles per second.

Human hearing is able to perceive sound energy at a certain frequency range — between about 20 Hz to about 20,000 Hz. Sound exists at much higher frequencies that include ultrasonic or megasonic ranges as well. While sound may not be audible at these ranges, it does come with practical applications with the use of megasonic and ultrasonic cleaning systems.

How does ultrasonic and megasonic cleaning work?

Liquids and gases subjected to high-frequency sound at powerful energy levels lead to the formation microscopic tears in these mediums. When ultrasonic or megasonic sound energy passes through these mediums, it causes millions of these tears to arise in the form of vacuum bubbles each second. They form and collapse rapidly. The process is known as cavitation.

Cavitation is a high-energy phenomenon. Each bubble of vacuum that forms and collapses radiates shockwaves. Objects placed close to these cavitation bubbles tend to be subjected to the energy of these implosions. It can be powerful enough to dislodge rust and other tough contaminants off microscopic areas of surfaces exposed. It is this phenomenon that the ultrasonic and megasonic cleaning approach exploits.

Exploiting different energy bands

Ultrasonic cleaning appliances employ different kinds of ultrasonic loudspeakers to generate the sound energy that they apply. Piezoelectric speakers are typically the common ones used today.

Ultrasonic energy tends to act differently at different frequency bands; in cleaning appliances, the highest frequency bands tend to be the most effective. In the megasonic range, as they are known, vibrations pass through the liquid cleaning medium at or above 1 MHz (a million cycles a second). At this frequency range, the cleaning tends to be the most gentle enough, and yet powerful enough to dislodge particles from the surface of semiconductor wafers and other delicate components.

Other bands of sound energy are employed, as well. The 25 kHz ultrasonic band provides powerful and robust cleaning for hard surface parts used in industrial equipment. The 40 kHz band is considered ideal for mid level precision equipment such as armaments and auto parts. The higher ultrasonic levels over 100 kHz are considered for electronics and high precision instruments.

The ultrasonic and megasonic cleaning approach is revolutionary

Cleaning processes have conventionally required the use of hash chemicals and/or physical scrubbing or abrasive cleaning methods. Wear-and-tear on the parts and devices being clean would be common. Not only are these processes limited in their usefulness with delicate equipment, they require the application of an involved chemical disposal system for compliance with environmental laws.

Ultrasonic and megasonic cleaners, on the other hand, employ a contactless cleaning system. When objects to be cleaned are placed in a bath of inert liquid, the sound energy generated by the system reaches the tiniest nooks and crannies, no matter how complex the shape of the work. Cleaning occurs without wear-and-tear on the part or component to be cleaned. There are no harmful chemicals used, time is saved, and workers need little special training. This provides significant time and cost savings.

Kaijo has been a leader in the development and use of ultrasonic cleaning systems since the 50s, and today, offers a complete range of high-tech systems. Equipped with a patented Quava generator that offers process engineers a high degree of process control, along with innovations such as the Pulse Cleaner and the Mega Tube, Kaijo’s megasonic cleaning system and related products are at the forefront of modern industrial cleaning technology.

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How Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners Enhance Aerospace Safety

April 17, 2018

Aerospace parts for rockets and aircraft require periodic cleaning to maintain their functionality. Cleaning has to be thorough and complete to ensure parts don’t fail during operation or compromise the safety of passengers and crew. Removal of deposits and contaminants using traditional cleaning methods can stress the aerospace parts and reduce their lifetime or affect their ability to withstand the temperatures and pressures common in aerospace operation. Industrial ultrasonic cleaners offer an attractive alternative that cleans quickly and effectively with reduced part stress.

How Ultrasonic Cleaners Work

Ultrasonic cleaning systems are made up of an ultrasonic generator, transducers and a cleaning tank. The generator produces a high-frequency electric signal at the operating frequency of the system and with the required power. The transducers are immersed in the cleaning solution and convert the electric signal into sound waves inside the cleaning tank. The cleaning solution can include a mild detergent or solvent, but even plain water is effective for many cleaning applications.

When the ultrasonic sound waves travel through the cleaning solution, they produce pressure peaks and troughs. Microscopic cavitation bubbles are created in the pressure troughs and collapse in the peaks. When a cavitation bubble collapses, it produces a powerful jet that dislodges contaminants from the parts to be cleaned and removes dirt down to the original surface of the parts. Ultrasonic cleaning is gentle and environmentally benign.

Advantages of Changing to Ultrasonic Cleaners

Traditional cleaning methods for aerospace parts include soaking in aggressive chemicals, manual scrubbing and pressure washing. Often the cleaning methods are highly specialized and parts have to be shipped off site to precision cleaning facilities at substantial costs. Even then, cleaning inaccessible holes, interior surfaces and rough parts can be challenging. With heavy contamination, aggressive cleaning can damage parts or leave them unsuitable for further safe use.

High Performance Industrial ultrasonic cleaners provide effective and comprehensive cleaning for a diverse range of cleaning applications. For rugged parts, lower frequencies can deliver robust cleaning action with larger cavitation bubbles and powerful cleaning action. For delicate parts, higher frequencies operate with smaller bubbles and clean more gently. Ultrasonic cleaning systems can deliver exactly the strength of cleaning action needed.

While the cleaning action can be calibrated to the requirements of the application, cleaning is comprehensive in that it takes place wherever cleaning solution is present. The cleaning bubbles appear and act inside pipes, through holes and in crevices. All surfaces are cleaned quickly and completely.

For example, removing carbon deposits from a jet engine nozzle using traditional cleaning methods can be difficult. The nozzle may have to be shipped to a dedicated cleaning facility that has the capability to work with harsh chemicals and to inspect the results. The nozzle may have to be scrubbed inside and out while inaccessible interior areas have to be soaked, inspected, and possibly soaked some more. If the aggressive cleaning results in scratches or the wearing of surfaces that have to conform to tight tolerances, the nozzle may have to be scrapped or re-machined.

With ultrasonic cleaning, the nozzle can be placed in an ultrasonic cleaning tank onsite and cleaned inside and out, including inaccessible areas, usually in less than an hour. There is no possibility of scratching or wearing part surfaces and the deposits are removed completely the first time. The process is quick and saves money.

Safety Benefits

When parts are not stressed during the cleaning process, aerospace safety increases. During cleaning by means of harsh chemicals, scrubbing and pressure washing, parts may suffer damage that remains undetected. When such damage results in part failure, the consequences in aerospace applications can include catastrophic failure and possible loss of life. A correctly designed ultrasonic cleaning system does not stress the parts, and such damage is excluded.

Kaijo has a complete line of industrial ultrasonic cleaners along with the experience to supply systems for specific aerospace part cleaning applications. The company can advise on the type of system, frequency and power required to ensure the right system is used for a customer’s specific cleaning application.

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Using Ultrasonic Cleaners in Disaster Restoration

March 29, 2018

Items recovered from disasters such as floods, fires or hurricanes are often covered in dirt or contaminated with soot and mold. Cleaning such items with traditional methods involves soaking them in chemicals to loosen dirt and brushing or wiping the items clean. Chemicals may be harsh, attack the surface of the items and leave residues. Brushing and wiping can’t get into small seams, sharp corners and crevices and may result in scratches. The result is that such items may have a moldy or smoky smell, bits of dirt attached that can’t be removed and damaged surfaces.

Instead, the use of ultrasonic cleaning systems can leave items completely clean and close to their original condition. The systems clean without the use of harsh chemicals or rough mechanical brushing. Items are cleaned quickly and completely, including in dead-end holes, hard-to-reach places and difficult to clean rough areas. Recovered items are returned to the individuals or businesses sooner and in better condition, ready to be used as they were before the disaster struck.

How Ultrasonic Systems Clean Recovered Items

Cleaning items recovered from disasters involves breaking the contaminants free from the surface of the recovered item and then removing them. Traditionally chemicals dissolve the contaminant or at least make it easier to remove with brushing and wiping. Ultrasonic cleaning systems can clean in water or a mild detergent solution and accomplish the loosening and removing in one step.

Depending on the size of the recovered items, one or several are immersed in the ultrasonic cleaning system bath. The systems work by generating ultrasonic waves and microscopic cavitation bubbles in the cleaning liquid. The bubbles form and collapse in time with the frequency of the ultrasonic waves. When they collapse against the surface of an item to be cleaned, they produce a strong microscopic scrubbing action that loosens dirt and contaminants and cleans down to the original surface.

All Kinds of Items Can Be Cleaned

Ultrasonic cleaning systems are suitable for a wide variety of items recovered from disasters. The systems can be designed with special tanks to clean large items or they can take a number of small items and place them in a bath inside a basket that holds them suspended in the cleaning solution. Solid metal and ceramic items can be cleaned quickly while easily damaged items can receive less intense cleaning action. Ultrasonic systems can be adapted to specific cleaning tasks and customized to deliver the desired cleaning performance.

For robust items with hard surfaces, low ultrasonic frequencies result in large, powerful bubbles. High frequencies produce smaller bubbles for a gentle cleaning action suitable for delicate items. For items contaminated with grease or oil, heating the cleaning solution may help speed up the cleaning process. For certain hard to remove contaminants, mild but specific solvents can be added to the cleaning solution to ensure rapid and complete cleaning. In each case, ultrasonic cleaning is faster than traditional methods and results in a complete removal of contaminants from everywhere on the items to be cleaned.

Putting Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems to Use

Cleaning companies specialized in disaster recovery can easily start using small ultrasonic cleaning systems to see whether they meet their needs. System components such as ultrasonic generators and transducers can be purchased separately and used with existing cleaning tanks or new ones. Turnkey systems are available for plug and play use and are especially versatile for cleaning many small items such as jewelry and kitchen utensils. As it becomes evident that cleaning performance is far superior to traditional methods, companies can install larger systems to handle big jobs.

Kaijo has a complete line of ultrasonic cleaners, both as separate components and as turnkey systems. The equipment is versatile and can be used for many different cleaning applications including disaster recovery. The company has extensive experience in this field and is prepared to help customers achieve the cleaning performance they want.


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How Ultrasonic Waves Are Produced for Industrial Cleaning Applications

March 16, 2018

Industrial ultrasonic cleanersultrasonic waves for industrial cleaning applications deliver more effective and efficient cleaning performance without the use of harsh chemicals typically used in traditional cleaning methods. A variety of parts, from robust metal and ceramic components to delicate semiconductors can be cleaned quickly and completely via the cavitation bubbles from ultrasonic waves generated from an ultrasonic system. Parts of all shapes are immersed in cleaning tanks with the bubbles cleaning even hard-to-access holes and crevices. The systems are available in varying frequencies to satisfy the requirements of any industrial cleaning application.

Ultrasonic Cleaning System Components

Industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems are made up of ultrasonic generators, transducers and the cleaning tank. They can be purchased as separate units or as turnkey systems that can be plugged in and are ready to start cleaning. When existing cleaning tanks can be used, it is often cost-effective to buy generators and portable immersible transducers while tabletop turnkey solutions are ideal for cleaning small parts. Choosing a supplier that has a full range of industrial ultrasonic cleaners will help in getting the system that best suits a particular application.

The ultrasonic generator produces the electric signal that forms the basis for the ultrasonic waves. Signals can range from about 20 kHz to 200 kHz (for ultrasonic frequencies) and 200 Khz to 1.6 MHz (for megasonic frequencies), and the generators can deliver up to 1200 W of power. For specific applications, a single frequency generator is sufficient, but for cleaning applications that handle many different kinds of parts, multi-frequency generators are available.

The electric ultrasonic signal generates ultrasonic waves via an ultrasonic cleaning transducer. The transducer has to be able to handle the frequency and power produced by the generator and it can be mounted at the bottom or on the sides of the tank as well as being an independent unit placed in the tank. Large tanks may need more than one transducer to effectively fill the volume of the tank with ultrasonic waves.

The cleaning tank has to be made of material heavy enough to withstand the cleaning action of the ultrasonic waves and it has to be big enough to handle the largest parts to be cleaned. Baskets for the parts are often used to keep easily damaged components from vibrating against the sides or bottom of the tank, and in that case, the tank has to be big enough to hold the basket as well.

How Ultrasonic Cleaners Work

The ultrasonic transducer takes the electric signal from the generator and uses either piezoelectric or magnetic effects to create ultrasonic waves in the cleaning solution. When an electric charge is applied to piezoelectric crystals, they change size. As a result, a high-frequency electric signal produces a vibration in the crystals and, via a heavy metal plate, the crystals can produce ultrasonic waves in the cleaning liquid. The same effect can be achieved with materials that change size in magnetic fields. The ultrasonic waves fill the cleaning tank and start the cleaning action.

When an ultrasonic wave travels through water, it creates compression peaks and troughs. Microscopic bubbles form in the troughs where the pressure is low and collapse in the peaks due to the high pressure. When a bubble collapses, a small but powerful jet of liquid rushes into the space where the collapsed bubble was. These jets produce an intense cleaning action on the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned. Cleaning takes place wherever the bubbles are present, throughout the tank, inside cavities and all around complex structures. Cleaning is fast and removes all contaminants.

Kaijo can Help

Kaijo has a complete line of industrial ultrasonic cleaning equipment, including separate components and turnkey systems. The company uses transducers based on the piezoelectric effect and can deliver powerful low-frequency systems for robust cleaning action as well as systems using high frequencies for gentle cleaning of delicate components. Kaijo’s unparalleled experience in developing ultrasonic technology for various industrial cleaning applications ensures that the company’s equipment delivers the expected performance.


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Using Ultrasonic Cleaners for Medical Devices

February 27, 2018

Using Ultrasonic Cleaners for Medical DevicesUltrasonic cleaning systems are often a part of processes used in the manufacture of medical instruments, devices and implants. The method is employed in the everyday use of medical equipment, as well. One reason ultrasonic cleaning is often required is that medical equipment often includes delicate, high-precision designs which contain complex surface geometries.

Conventional cleaning approaches that use solvents and abrasives would hardly be appropriate — devices used in the human body don’t require cleaning from stubborn stains, after all; instead, they need to be made free of microscopic contamination and chemical residues. Routine cleaning using conventional methods will often leave behind particles of detergents or chemicals. Removing these from delicate structures requires a special approach.

Ultrasonic cleaning technology answers these needs

Ultrasonic cleaning systems employ the power of cavitation, a natural phenomenon. When liquids are subjected to strong forces, they tend to fracture into microscopic areas of vacuum. When these vacuum bubbles form and collapse, often millions of times each second, they create high temperatures and powerful impact over microscopic areas. These are the forces harnessed by ultrasonic cleaners.

These appliances use powerful high-frequency sound waves to disrupt liquid placed in a cleaning bath to create the cavitation bubbles needed. When medical devices are placed in such a bath, these cavitation bubbles form over the surface. These bubbles are able to dislodge everything from bacteria and fungus to carbon deposits, grease and chemical remnants, with pinpoint precision.

Ultrasonic cleaning technologies offer impressive advantages

Reduced to their simplest form, ultrasonic cleaning appliances are a loudspeaker in a tank of liquid. These speakers are specially designed for the creation of powerful, high-frequency sound waves. As simple as it may sound, this approach produces powerful results unobtainable through other cleaning methods.

Solvent-free cleaning: In other cleaning approaches, including ones that use water, there always are remnants and contaminants left by the cleaning process. The gentle, yet powerful forces brought into play by ultrasonic cleaning systems, however, ensure cleaning action that comes with no remnants, an important requirement in the medical field.

Delicate cleaning for fragile equipment: Medical equipment can be tough in the applications that they are intended for; they can be surprisingly delicate against everyday forces, however. Cleaning such equipment, then, can present special challenges. Ultrasonic cleaning brings to bear powerful forces, but on microscopic areas. It ensures a blend of power and gentleness. Equipment does not need to be touched or handled through the cleaning process, ensuring its safety.

Compliance with professional requirements: The CDC and the WHO recommend the deployment of ultrasonic cleaning technology for medical applications. It is for the simple reason that medical equipment requires a level of cleanliness rarely needed anywhere else. Microscopic surface fissures and interstices are often able to harbor biological or other contaminants, and these simply cannot be reached with conventional cleaning methods. Ultrasonic sound waves, however, are able to dislodge contaminants from smallest crevices, ensuring a high level of medical suitability.

The industry leader in ultrasonic cleaning technology

For more than 65 years, Kaijo Shibuya has been a world leader in the development and use of ultrasonic cleaning systems for a wide variety of industry applications. From compact systems for accessible use, to much larger systems, Kaijo’s full product line of ultrasonic cleaners can address the needs of the medical industry as required by professional organizations.

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How Medical 3D Printing Benefits from Ultrasonic Cleaning

February 16, 2018

How Medical 3D Printing Benefits from Ultrasonic CleaningHospitals, medical research centers and facilities are increasingly using industrial ultrasonic cleaners on 3D printed models of organs or body parts to create prosthetics. Organ models for a particular patient can help determine the best way to proceed with surgery and may help with accurate diagnosis. Both models and prosthetics are used in educational programs as well. When used in such programs and in medical practice or research, the 3D printed product gives a complete reproduction that can be examined from all sides rather than a flat image showing only one side.

Organs and body parts often have complex shapes and irregular surfaces that must be reproduced in the 3D printing process. To accurately create intricate protrusions and make sure the model does not collapse when holes and crevices are printed, the 3D printing process deposits support material as well as the material used to build the model. The support material temporarily holds up the build material until the latter has hardened and is self supporting. The support material then has to be removed. To ensure model accuracy, it is important to remove the support material cleanly and completely.

How Ultrasonic Cleaning Removes Support Material

Ultrasonic cleaning can remove the support material without affecting the build material and can ensure that the removal is rapid and complete. Depending on the materials used, the ultrasonic cleaning system can operate at frequencies delivering exactly the right cleaning strength.

The industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems consist of an ultrasonic generator, a transducer and a cleaning tank. The generator produces the ultrasonic electrical signal and the transducer converts the electrical impulses into ultrasonic waves in the cleaning solution. Microscopic cavitation bubbles are created in the pressure troughs of these waves and the bubbles collapse in the pressure peaks. When the bubbles come into contact with the support material, the scrubbing action of the bubbles removes the material while the build material is left unaffected.

Low frequencies can be used for build materials that can withstand a strong cleaning action and for robust models. Frequencies of 26kHz or 38kHz produce large bubbles and a strong cleaning action. Delicate models or models with fragile build materials can have the support material removed with higher frequencies delivering gentle cleaning action. Frequencies up to the megahertz range produce smaller bubbles and the resulting cleaning action is gentler. Ultrasonic cleaning system manufacturers can help design systems that deliver just the right amount of cleaning strength for the 3D printing materials used.

The Advantages of Using Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners

Ultrasonic cleaning systems are ideal for removing medical 3D printed support material because they provide several advantages over traditional methods using harsh chemicals to dissolve the material. Such advantages include the following:

  • Cleaning is rapid and completely removes the support material while leaving the build material unaffected.
  • The ultrasonic cleaning process is completely safe for the personnel preparing the models.
  • No toxic chemicals are introduced into the medical environment.
  • Disposal of the wastewater does not require additional safety procedures.

Kaijo has a complete line of industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems and equipment with the latest technology and the advanced features required for medical 3D printing. The company can supply compact and self-contained turnkey systems or separate components to be assembled in a custom solution. Kaijo has extensive experience in ultrasonic cleaning and personnel with the expertise to select the systems, frequencies and power ideal for specific medical 3D printing applications. Kaijo’s industrial ultrasonic cleaners are being used at medical facilities to remove 3D printing support material and can help ensure that such applications meet the needs of the medical profession.

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Why Use Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems with a Heater?

January 30, 2018

why use ultrasonic cleaning systems with a heater?

Ultrasonic cleaning systems can remove a wide variety of contaminants from the surfaces of parts to be cleaned, but specific material types can be removed more quickly and completely with additional measures. Oil-based dirt, grease and organic compounds can take the form of hard deposits that are difficult for the cavitation bubbles of the ultrasonic system to attack. The cleaning action of the bubbles will eventually break up and remove such material, but the process is more time-consuming than for other types of dirt.

In such cases heating the ultrasonic cleaning solution helps speed up the cleaning process. The hot liquid softens the deposits and makes it easier for the ultrasonic cleaning action to take place. Often a mild detergent is added as well to dissolve some of the contaminants. Cleaning with a heated solution is an effective way of making the ultrasonic cleaning system perform efficiently and at full capacity.

How Heat Improves Performance

The performance of ultrasonic cleaning systems depends on correctly matching the system to the characteristics of the parts to be cleaned and the materials to be removed. Robust parts such as metal automotive components can often be cleaned in a plain water bath using the strong cleaning action of the lower frequencies of ultrasonic systems. More delicate parts such as semiconductor wafers need the softer cleaning action provided by higher frequencies. If the material to be removed from such fragile parts is extensive and hardened, additional measures improve ultrasonic cleaning performance.

Depending on the contaminants to be removed, mild detergents and heat can be applied. The detergent and heat combination can be tailored to the particular material and an appropriate selection can improve cleaning performance substantially. Typically, contaminants are made up of several components and the detergent increases the solubility of some of them while heat softens the material and increases the effectiveness of the detergent. For the delicate cleaning of higher frequencies, the bubbles are smaller and less energetic. This lower energy is often not enough to remove hard materials quickly, but once heat has softened the material and the detergent has dissolved some of the bonds keeping the dirt in place, the small bubbles can clean quickly and completely.

Heating the Ultrasonic Bath

Ultrasonic cleaning systems are made up of ultrasonic generators, transducers and tanks. The ultrasonic generators produce the ultrasonic electrical signal and are selected based on the frequency needed for the cleaning application. The transducers are mounted in the bath immersed in the cleaning solution and they have to be matched to work with the selected generator. Both can be designed for a single or a range of frequencies

For the tanks, the only requirement is that they have to be large enough to hold the parts to be cleaned. If the parts are to be held in a basket to keep them away from the bottom and sides of the tank and avoid damage from vibrations, the tank has to be big enough to accommodate the basket.

For cleaning applications requiring heat, both the transducers and the tank must be designed for a heated cleaning solution. While cleaning applications may require different temperatures for optimal cleaning, a typical temperature may be around 80 degrees centigrade (176 degrees Fahrenheit).

Kaijo’s ultrasonic cleaning systems can accommodate such heating requirements and the company can help customers select suitable equipment and systems from their complete line of ultrasonic products. The transducers and tanks are heat-resistant up to 100 degrees centigrade (212 degrees Fahrenheit) and Kaijo’s customer support team can help determine what combination of detergent and heating is ideal for specific customer’s cleaning applications.

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