Using Ultrasonic Cleaning for Medical Device Components
December 21, 2020
When components for medical devices are not cleaned at every stage of the manufacturing process, the components may introduce contaminants into the medical environment. Ultrasonic cleaning of these components ensures that they are free from harmful particles and dangerous substances when they are incorporated into the medical device. Manual cleaning may miss hard-to-reach areas and cleaning with strong solvents or aggressive chemicals may leave toxic traces on the component.
Medical ultrasonic cleaners can clean medical device components completely and rapidly, leaving no traces. The cleaners can deliver strong cleaning action for rugged components and gentle cleaning for more delicate pieces. When configured correctly, they represent an ideal solution for the cleaning of all kinds of medical device components.
Ultrasonic Cleaners Use Bubbles to Remove Manufacturing Contaminants
The manufacturing process can leave finished components with unwanted contamination. Parts may be coated with oil or mold material and even relatively clean part surfaces will be contaminated with residues from the manufacturing process. The surface contaminates have to be removed completely before the components can be assembled into a clean and sterile medical device.
Ultrasonic cleaners generate microscopic bubbles in a cleaning solution. As the bubbles form and collapse in tune with the ultrasonic frequency, they create a powerful scrubbing action that dislodges contaminating particles and removes unwanted film and residues from the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned.
The medical device components are submerged in the cleaning solution, either by placing them directly into the ultrasonic cleaning tanks or by putting them into a basket that is then submerged. The cleaning solution penetrates everywhere, into holes, along complex shapes and inside cracks. Wherever there is cleaning solution, the bubbles form and remove surface impurities. Operators can place the components into the tanks and set a timer. No monitoring or supervision is required because the process is completely safe. The operators can return later to remove the clean components.
Customized Ultrasonic Cleaning Can Remove Specific Manufacturing Contaminants
Standard ultrasonic cleaning uses plain water with a bath at room temperature, but cleaning can be made more effective for specific contaminants by customizing the cleaning process. While ultrasonic cleaning does not need harsh chemicals, adding a mild detergent to the cleaning solution can improve cleaning performance. Heating the cleaning solution may be effective for oil and grease contamination, while adjusting the frequency removes specific particles rapidly.
An experienced and competent manufacturer can help customers with special cleaning needs. The detergent can be chosen to dissolve a specific material and the cleaning solution temperature can be set for the contaminant that has to be removed. Low ultrasonic frequencies deliver a powerful cleaning action that removes contaminants quickly but may damage delicate components. Higher frequencies produce a more gentle cleaning action.
An ultrasonic cleaning manufacturer might suggest a solvent for one of the contaminants and a specific temperature and timing for effective cleaning. Sometimes a multi-stage process is appropriate with different frequencies and cleaning solution compositions being used to remove different contaminants. The aim is to develop an ultrasonic cleaning strategy that works quickly and removes all foreign matter from component surfaces. The result is an assembled medical device that is completely clean and may be sterile if needed.
Kaijo Can Help with Custom Ultrasonic Cleaning
Kaijo has long history of experience developing ultrasonic cleaning technology and the competence with medical ultrasonic cleaners allowing it to develop cleaning solutions to match customer requirements. The company works closely with medical device manufacturers to make sure it can meet device component cleaning requirements. In addition to providing expert advice, the company can propose ultrasonic cleaning equipment from its complete line of ultrasonic cleaners, generators, transducers and cleaning tanks.