Ultrasonic cleaners are relatively new cleaning tools that rapidly remove soils and contamination after large particle cleaning. More efficient and environmentally-friendly than older methods, ultrasonic cleaners form tiny bubbles in a solvent from high-frequency sound waves, usually pitched around 18 kHz. These tiny bubbles remove particles by performing scrubbing action from otherwise inaccessible areas, whether they are out of reach, as are hidden parts, or too narrow, as are grooves, with consistency and exactness.
Most commonly, ultrasonic cleaners wash copper, stainless steel, copper, iron, aluminum, brass, plastic, rubber, wood and cloth materials. They range in design from small and portable to large enough for industrial tank processes, and they’re generally rectangular or long and narrow. One way that ultrasonic cleaning equipment is divided is by the cleaning mediums they use. The three most common types of ultrasonic cleaning are solvent cleaning, aqueous cleaning and hot water cleaning. Solvent cleaning, also called vapor cleaning, involves evaporating a solvent then condensing it onto the surface of a part or parts. Aqueous cleaning uses some sort of water-based ultrasonic cleaning solution, and hot water cleaning uses a heated stream of water. Read More…
Another way equipment is typed is by their application-specific design. Examples of cleaners named after their application include ultrasonic golf club cleaners, ultrasonic blind cleaners, ultrasonic jewelry cleaners, and ultrasonic degreasers.
Golf club cleaners target the dirt that accumulates on the club and grips over time from use. Unlike most other cleaners, golf club cleaners are vertically aligned to accommodate the shape and length of the clubs.
Ultrasonic blind cleaners are made to take on the deep-seeded contaminants like grease, fingerprints, and nicotine stains that that plague duettes, verticals, pleated shades, and the like. They perform their prescribed task with the help of a transducer, a generator and a large-ish tank (which can be converted to a portable tank with the attachment of casters) filled with hot soapy water and powerful sound waves.
Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners, which are small and typically only for personal or commercial use, get far into the nooks and crannies of rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets to remove grime, polishing compounds, buffing, and the like. They usually consist of a small tank containment basket and outside pressure controls that are powered by transducers or batteries.
Ultrasonic degreasers target contaminants like auto grease and mold release agents found in parts processing. They are built quite similarly to blind cleaners, aside from the fact that their ultrasonic transducer is usually mounted at the base of the tank, where it can achieve sound waves up to between 20 and 40 kHZ.
No matter the type, all ultrasonic equipment is powered with the following basic components: a transducer, a generator, and an immersion tank. Powered by the generator, the cleaner’s work begins with the transducer, which converts electricity into high-frequency sound waves to causes cavitation, or bubble formation. It can either be attached to the tank or lowered into the fluid as a means of introducing sound waves. The tank contains an ultrasonic conductive fluid, which is most likely a hot cleaning solution, water-based cleaning solution, or an evaporated then condensed solvent. An agitating combination of the fluid and the formed bubbles are what ultimately perform the cleaning action. Also, by adjusting sound wave frequencies, operators can change the number and size of bubbles or collapse them altogether. Note that, since there is a direct link between the frequency and the number of implosions, ultrasonic cleaning offers a very high level of process control; higher frequencies are better for removing very small particles.
As it is a young technology, ultrasonic cleaning systems continue to evolve rapidly. New developments include fully automated systems. These systems borrow from traditional cleaning methods, like rinsing, precision flushing, power spraying, and drying, which they accomplish rapidly. The results are so rapid, in fact, that when the cleaner uses deionized water, it leaves behind zero residue. This system reduces costs by eliminating the need for extra rinse components, increasing pre-assembly cleaning quality, and cutting solvent use by 90%. Ultrasonic cleaning isn’t always effective on its own, unfortunately. For example, greases and tightly bonded soils cannot always be removed the first time. Instead, they may need the help of aqueous techniques to get the job done. Fortunately, combining ultrasonic cleaning with aqueous cleaning is generally effective and environmentally-safe. All in all, ultrasonic cleaning is a wonderful process. Facilitating optimal performance levels and minimal environmental impact, it continues to usher us forward.