September 29, 2017
The aerospace industry manufactures high-precision parts as well as repairing and maintaining complex engines and machinery. Production parts and parts from maintenance and repair operations are often contaminated by dirt, grease, oil or other lubricants deriving from normal operation or from production processes. Traditionally these parts have been cleaned manually by scrubbing or washing with aggressive solvents or other chemicals. Ultrasonic cleaning systems offer an alternative that saves time and money through an environmentally friendly process that cleans parts quickly and efficiently.
How Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems Work
Ultrasonic cleaning systems consist of ultrasonic generators, transducers and cleaning tanks. The ultrasonic generators produce the high frequency electrical signal that the transducers, located inside the cleaning tanks, convert to ultrasonic waves in the cleaning fluid. The ultrasonic waves create microscopic bubbles that scrub the parts immersed in the cleaning fluid and remove surface contaminants.
The process works quickly and cleans completely everywhere the cleaning fluid can penetrate, even in crevices, tubes, holes and other hard-to-reach places. The cleaning fluid can be plain water or mild detergents can be added for improved cleaning performance. When heavy grease or similar heat-sensitive materials have to be cleaned, the cleaning fluid can be heated to soften the contaminant and allow cleaning to be completed faster.
Transitioning to Ultrasonic Cleaning
The aerospace industry can change over to ultrasonic cleaning easily and smoothly because the cleaning tasks are often discrete and clearly defined. For example, machining metal parts or extruding tubes often involves coating the metal with lubricating oil. When the parts come off the line, they have to be cleaned. Traditional cleaning involves a cleaning station that spray washes or scrubs the parts. The station can be replaced with a turn-key ultrasonic cleaning system that works more quickly. Because cleaning now takes less time, the rest of the production process can remain unchanged although overall productivity may well increase.
For repairs and maintenance, parts may have to be cleaned before being re-installed. Such parts are often soaked in chemicals to remove contaminants. The same soaking tanks can be used for ultrasonic cleaning by installing transducers in the existing tanks. The production line remains unchanged but the cleaning is accomplished faster and without chemicals.
Advantages of Ultrasonic Cleaning
Using ultrasonic cleaning systems allows aerospace companies satisfy their cleaning requirements more quickly and at a lower cost than with traditional cleaning methods. Ultrasonic cleaning takes less time than mechanical or manual scrubbing and removes contaminants completely. A quick rinse and drying takes less time than a complete wash and possibly neutralization of cleaning chemicals used with other cleaning methods. Storage, handling and disposal costs for toxic chemicals are eliminated as are equipment costs for ventilation, fume hoods and employee safety. Ultrasonic cleaning uses only mild detergents and does not pose any hazards for workers.
In addition to faster cleaning and reduced costs, ultrasonic cleaning systems offer better cleaning performance. Lower frequencies deliver robust cleaning action with larger bubbles while higher frequencies generate smaller bubbles and more gentle cleaning. Customers can fine tune cleaning performance by selecting a frequency that cleans quickly to remove contaminants while leaving the underlying surface clean and smooth. Even delicate machined parts can be cleaned effectively at high frequencies while heavy dirt can be removed with low frequency systems.
Ultrasonic Cleaning Benefits
The lower costs, reduced cleaning time and safe cleaning method provided by ultrasonic cleaning systems can deliver substantial benefits to aerospace manufacturers. Production facilities become more efficient and improved cleaning performance results in higher customer satisfaction and fewer problems as a result of incomplete cleaning.
Ultrasonic cleaning technology leader Kaijo has supplied ultrasonic cleaners to the aerospace industry and has the experience and expertise to help aerospace manufacturers and sub-contractors transition to using ultrasonic cleaning. Kaijo can supply a complete line of ultrasonic cleaning systems, from turn-key installations to separate components and customized equipment. The company can advise customers how best to meet their ultrasonic cleaning needs, make specific recommendations and ensure that the anticipated benefits are realized. For a free quote or consultation to determine how ultrasonic cleaning can be used for your specific industry application contact Kaijo or email [email protected].