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How Utility Companies Cut Grease, Grime and Costs with Ultrasonic Cleaners

December 22, 2017

How Utility Companies Cut Grease, Grime and Costs with Ultrasonic Cleaners

The large compressors that utility companies use to move natural gas through pipelines and into storage need extensive maintenance. Both the compressors themselves and the engines that drive them require regular cleaning of parts such as valves, rings, sensors and actuators. Unwanted deposits have to be dissolved, grease and grime have to be cleaned off and contaminants have to be removed.

Traditionally such cleaning and maintenance work has been carried out by hand. Parts are soaked in strong chemical solvents and then scrubbed to remove residues. Soaking takes a lot of time and the chemicals are expensive. Scrubbing is labor-intensive and it’s hard to get parts completely clean. If it’s important to remove deposits completely, it might take several cycles with different chemicals and various cleaning methods. Overall, the cleaning process takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money.

Utilities can achieve better cleaning performance at lower cost by using industrial ultrasonic cleaners. The process uses powerful ultrasonic generators and transducers to generate microscopic bubbles in the cleaning solution. The scrubbing action of the bubbles cleans parts completely and rapidly. Manual cleaning and expensive, harsh chemicals are not needed. Utilities using this process can reap substantial benefits from the advantages that ultrasonic cleaning delivers.

Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner Advantages and Benefits

Ultrasonic technology can remove deposits from compressor and engine parts using only a water-based cleaning solution. For specific contaminants, mild solvents can be added to the water to speed up cleaning. For hardened grease and oil-based materials, the solution can be heated so the cleaning bubbles can more easily dislodge the softened material. In each case, no additional manual scrubbing is required.

The bubbles generated by industrial ultrasonic cleaners appear wherever the cleaning solution can penetrate. This means that crevices, dead-end holes, bolt threads and inaccessible interior surfaces are cleaned just as completely as the outsides of the parts. As long as a part is submerged in the ultrasonic bath, all surfaces are cleaned equally and completely.

Because harsh chemicals are not needed, ultrasonic cleaning starts out with a substantial operating cost advantage. The savings are even higher when the time saved through faster cleaning can result in increased throughput or reduced downtime. Additional savings come from reduced labor costs. Finally there are savings from not having to neutralize and safely discard the toxic cleaning chemicals used in traditional cleaning processes. The fact that ultrasonic cleaning is environmentally friendly is an additional bonus.

While utilities can save substantial amounts of money switching to industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems, an even stronger incentive is the improved cleaning performance. When machine parts are cleaned down to the bare metal everywhere, maintenance is more effective, easier to carry out and achieves improved reliability for the compressors and engines. Parts that are completely clean have a longer life and extend the lifetime of the corresponding machines. Often failure rates and unscheduled down time is reduced and maintenance intervals can be extended. Overall facility-operating performance can be improved.

Kaijo can help utilities realize the benefits of using ultrasonic technology. The company offers free consulting services to determine which ultrasonic cleaning system is best suited for the customer’s application. Sometimes a turnkey system represents the best solution while at other times retrofitted components using existing cleaning tanks is cost-effective. Kaijo can follow up its recommendations with proposals from its complete line of industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems. Clients in many different industry verticals already use Kaijo ultrasonic systems to reduce their maintenance times and costs. Utilities, with their many stations requiring machine parts cleaning can achieve similar results with Kaijo’s help.