Ultrasonic Cleaning 101 for Industrial Parts: Understanding Methods, Costs, Pros and Cons

UltraSonic Industrial Cleaning

In any industrial setting, for any industrial process, it is essential to keep industrial parts clean. Clean parts help keep machinery running smoothly; they help to mitigate any process flaws or errors; they protects sensitive industrial parts and components from damage, corrosion or contamination; and they help to promote quality in nearly every facet of an industrial operation.

When it comes to industrial parts cleaning, there are several cleaning methods to consider. In our last blog post Industrial Parts Cleaning 101: Understanding Methods, Costs, Pros and Cons, we presented a comprehensive review of industrial cleaning methods and processes. Now, we’d like to focus in on industrial parts cleaning process in particular: ultrasonic cleaning. In this post, we will cover the following:

  • How ultrasonic cleaning technology works;
  • Types of ultrasonic cleaners/units;
  • Considerations when choosing the right unit/size for your application;
  • Types of cleaning solutions;
  • Cleaning and maintenance—how to clean the cleaner

Just as a quick recap, here are some of the key benefits of ultrasonic cleaning for industrial parts cleaning applications:

  • Used for a wide range of workpiece shapes, sizes and materials
  • The ultrasonic cleaning process gently moves parts to assist with cleaning; this mitigates the risk of damage to industrial parts during cleaning
  • May not require the part to be disassembled prior to cleaning. Lower labor costs equal increased profits.
  • Water, soap and green-friendly solvents are environmentally safe. Ultrasonic cleaning reduces/replaces hazardous cleaning solvents
  • Short cycle times save time, money and increase plant efficiency
How ultrasonic cleaning technology works

Ultrasonic cleaning uses cavitation bubbles induced by high-frequency pressure (sound) waves to agitate a liquid. The agitation produces high forces on contaminants adhering to substrates like metals, plastics, glass, rubber and ceramics. This action also penetrates blind holes, cracks and recesses. The intention is to thoroughly remove all traces of contamination tightly adhering or embedded onto solid surfaces. Water or solvents can be used, depending on the type of contamination and the part.

VIDEO: HOW ULTRASONIC CLEANING TECHNOLOGY WORKS.
Types of Ultrasonic Cleaners

Table-Top Ultrasonic Cleaners
Table-top units are small, feature single tanks (usually a half-gallon to eight gallons) and can sit on a table, on a shelf or on a workbench. They’re also portable, and they’re ideal for small and light-duty applications. UltraSonic LLC offers two table-top ultrasonic cleaners: The Ultra 1300 (2.6 gallons / 9.8 liters); and the Ultra 2000 (5.2 gallons / 19.7 liters).

Medium-Capacity Ultrasonic Cleaners
Medium-capacity ultrasonic industrial cleaners are ideal for a variety of industrial, automotive, aerospace and engineering industries. UltraSonic LLC offers the following medium-capacity ultrasonic cleaners: 2200A (10 gallon); 2400FA (30 gallon);

Large-Capacity Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners
Large-capacity ultrasonic industrial cleaning units are designed to handle large and heavy duty equipment and parts, including a variety of industrial parts, automotive and aerospace parts.  These units typically feature rinse and dry stations and other features. UltraSonic offers the following large-capacity ultrasonic cleaners: 3200FA (65 gallon); 3800FLT (115 gallon); and 6000FLT (210 gallon).

Considerations when choosing the right unit/size for your application
  • Parts: The parts you need to clean – and their particular characteristics, from shape and size to durability and composition – can dictate what unit and size is best suited to do the job.
  • Power: Most ultrasonic generators are single-phase 120 Volt AC or single-phase 240 Volt. You should check with the manufacturer for specific supply voltage and frequency specifications for your ultrasonic cleaner.
  • Portability: Do you anticipate that you’ll need to move your ultrasonic cleaning machine to different locations in your facility? If so, you may want to consider a cleaning machine with casters for easy movement. UltraSonic LLC’s 2400FA cleaning machine is a 30-gallon cleaner with attached casters.
  • Contaminants: When you’re cleaning oils, water-based coolants and light dirt from industrial parts, a unit with side-mounted or bottom-mounted transducers should be adequate, since oil floats, and minimal dirt will settle on the bottom of the tank.

For heavily soiled items, it’s best to choose a unit with side-mounted transducers, since the large volume of dirt, carbon and grime that falls to the bottom of the tank during cleaning could sit atop transducers in a bottom-mounted unit and muffle the sound, thus limiting the cleaning power.

  • Multi-stage options: Ultrasonic industrial parts cleaning machines generally come in one-, two- and three-stage systems. The part or part you need to clean, as well as the filtration that’s necessary to get the job done, and the extent to which hot drying is necessary, usually determines which one is right for you.
  • Location and environment: Within a facility and outside of it, location and environment are important factors in determining where ultrasonic cleaners should be located in a facility, and what, if any, special equipment is necessary to protect them from atmospheric and temperature elements.
Types of cleaning solutions

UltraSonic LLC offers the following cleaning solutions:

Cleaning and maintenance – how to clean the cleaner

Ultrasonic cleaning machines require regular care and maintenance in order to ensure that they run efficiency, effectively and do so over a long period of time. Every industrial environment is unique, so specific cleaning and maintenance programs should be developed based on manufacturer recommendations. Consult with the manufacturer that produced your ultrasonic cleaning machine for recommendations and tips.

We hope you found this primer on ultrasonic cleaning for industrial parts helpful. If you have questions about ultrasonic cleaning for industrial applications and UltraSonic LLC industrial cleaning machines, fill out this contact form, and an UltraSonic LLC representative will be in touch shortly to discuss your requirement.