A Mini-Glossary of Jargon Associated With Precision Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems

Ultrasonic Cleaning Jargon

More often than we like, industry jargon gets in the way of understanding. Fortunately, the good people at Ultrasonic Power can relate and are here to clarify the jargon and better explain precision industrial ultrasonic cleaning technology and design.  It’s always a good idea to get rid of jargon when reasonable, but when dealing with an advanced technology—and one that’s used across many industries—technical terms can become a second language.

Let’s have a look at some industry jargon that may need some explanation:

 Cavitation— It’s what drives the process

Ultrasonic cleaning works because of the effect high frequency sound has in a liquid. As the sound waves move through the liquid medium and strike solid objects, they create bubbles filled with vapor. When these bubbles collapse, heated jets of water strike the surface of the solid object and dislodge contaminants.

Sparger— Assuring clean stays clean

Once those contaminants are cleaned off the target object, where do they go? If they hang around in the vicinity, they will simply end up back on the target object when it’s removed from the tank. For most contaminants, this can be solved by filtering the tank medium. But what if the contaminant being cleaned is oil or other lighter than water substances? Contaminants won’t arrive in the filter and will redeposit on the part when it’s raised out of the tank.

 

The answer is a sparger. This technology design pumps streams of liquid across the tank liquid surface, pushing light contaminants out of the way.

Weir— Parting the waters

But doesn’t the oily contaminant/residue just hit the “downstream” side of the tank opposite the Sparger and remain an obstacle to clean parts? This is where the handoff occurs, from the Sparger to the Weir. Contaminant are “pushed” by the Sparger across the cleaning liquid column and falls over the Weir into an awaiting tank collecting contaminants. The cleaning liquid is then put through some sort of filter and returned to the cleaning tank.

The word Weir is commonly used to describe a type of dam that changes the liquid volume flow characteristics and maintains a constant height (depth) of the liquid rather than stopping it up. In the case of ultrasonic cleaners, a Weir is a simple technology design for separating contaminants from the cleaning liquid and prevents recontamination of any parts being cleaned. (in other words, contaminated cleaning liquid gets cleaned too!)

Spargers and Weirs are essential cleaning technology designs in any situation where greases and oils are involved, and are available and appropriate for most ultrasonic cleaner models. Here’s how they look like in action:

[Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2Te7Ymon30]

Transducer— Making waves

A transducer is a mechanical and electrical technology for converting one form of energy into another. In the case of ultrasonic cleaning, transducers are like high frequency speakers that change electrical energy into acoustic energy.

 

PZT— Creating good vibrations

Most ultrasonic transducers use piezoelectric action. Piezoelectric substances change shape when they are subjected to an electric field. With the right application of current, they can be made to vibrate at high frequencies, so they form the heart of the ultrasonic transducer and create the high frequency vibrations that clean with cavitation.

So, what is PZT? Lead zirconate titanate is the most common piezoelectric substance used in ultrasonic transducers. Why is it called PZT instead of LZT? That’s because the symbol for Lead is Pb. Don’t roll your eyes, it was the chemists that designated lead as Pb.

PZT is a ceramic, so it is strong, chemically inert, and easily tailored to specific applications. For this technical reason and many more piezoelectric transducers have replaced other transducer designs across the precision industrial ultrasonic cleaning industry.

Conclusion

There you have it, explanations for industry jargon. So go ahead and put this with your important files, be a pack rat and save this mini-glossary. We hope it is useful. Ultrasonic Power experts are ready to work with you and answer more questions about what we’ve covered. Contact us to learn what kind of ultrasonic cleaning design will work best for your unique cleaning application. Get in touch with us today, and together we’ll happily answer other questions you have. Remember, “Our Technology, Your Solution”SM is just a telephone call away.

How to Validate Your Ultrasonic Cleaning Process While You’re Still Cleaning

There’s no point in cleaning something if you can’t be sure how clean it is when you’re done. That’s why every facility needs a cleaning validation program.

As you’ve followed our blog, you’ve seen blog posts on how to handle meeting a specific cleanliness standard. Almost every method we presented is employed after the cleaning process is finished, or at least, after the part is removed from the ultrasonic cleaner. That makes sense, of course; why try to measure cleanliness when the cleaning isn’t finished?

There are actually some good reasons to do so, and a method specifically designed to evaluate cleaning effectiveness during the process. It’s called In Situ Particle Monitoring (ISPM), and it might help you make your cleaning process better.

How It Works

To use ISPM, you’ll need to sample the liquid medium in your ultrasonic cleaner. This should be done by taking a sample from the filtration loop, upstream of the filter. Sampling should take place while components are being cleaned. You’ll usually want to take a single sample, but as we’ll see there can be benefits to sampling multiple times in the same cycle.

Once you have the sample of the cleaning medium, the size and amount of contaminant particles in the medium should be verified. If the usual particle size is easily visible to the naked eye, this can be done with simple visual inspection after passing the liquid through a filtration medium. It’s best to use a lightly-colored or white filtration medium for contrast, and to ensure that the contaminants are spread over a certain measured area (for the sake of consistency) each time you test.

Smaller particle sizes can be counted with low or high-power microscopy, or other validation methods.

What Can We Find Out?

ISPM is simple, and can help an operator evaluate cleaners and processes by allowing an apples to apples comparison.

IPSM can be used to perform A/B testing on the effectiveness of certain detergents or formulations. For example, one can evaluate how quickly and effectively a specific formulation is in relation to another that is cleaning the same objects. This is especially effective if the target objects are sample plates with identical contamination.

IPSM can also be used to evaluate cleaning processes. Samples can be compared in order to determine how well and how quickly ultrasonic cleaning is removing contaminants if a change in frequency, procedure or tank arrangement is being considered.

By evaluating several samples taken during the cycle, you can graph a profile of when the most cleaning is taking place and how effective it is. It may seem that the amount of particles in the medium would just continue to climb, but remember that the filtration system is removing some portion of the particles as the process continues. You’ll usually see a spike at the beginning of the cleaning process, with other particles coming off steadily over time. This can be used to optimize your cleaning time.

Lastly, ISPM can help you monitor the condition of cleaning baths and your filtration systems. Regular checks are simple, and sudden increases in particle count will let you know changes need to be made.

Conclusion

ISPM isn’t as precise as some post-cleaning validation methods and lacks the gee-whiz factor of methods like Surface Ultraviolet Fluorescence, but it provides ultrasonic operators with information they can’t obtain after the cleaning cycle is finished. That makes it a tool to consider as you seek to make the single best industrial cleaning method, ultrasonic cleaning, work even more efficiently for your particular operation.

Why High Frequencies May Not Solve Ultrasonic Cleaning Problems

We’re often asked about cleaning at higher frequencies, and often the assumption behind the question is a natural one: Higher is better. If high frequency sound waves are required in an ultrasonic cleaning process, shouldn’t moving to a higher range produce even better results? Not necessarily. High frequencies are not a silver bullet with ultrasonic cleaning. So let’s look at some reasons why they should or shouldn’t be used.

Cavitation

Ultrasonic cleaning uses a phenomenon called cavitation. Cavitation occurs when high frequency sound waves are introduced into a body of liquid causing millions of tiny bubbles to form. As these bubbles expand and contract they reach a threshold and collapse. This collapse creates high temperature, at a microscopic point with accompanying high velocity jet stream,   (upwards of 5000°C, 600 mph jet stream) to blast contaminants off the surface of the item being cleaned. No matter what frequency you’re using, the acoustic energy must be high enough to reach the threshold to create cavitation.

Therefore, especially for industrial applications, it’s crucial to ensure the ultrasonic generators and transducers are of top quality and deliver efficient acoustic energy for expected precision cleaning results. No matter how powerful the system or what frequency used, if a low percentage of the acoustic energy makes it to the liquid due to inefficient generators or transducers, the performance will be poor. Make sure you buy from a reputable company, one that focuses on designing, developing and manufacturing, and stands by its products with an excellent warranty on its generators and transducers.

You may need a lower frequency

As frequency increases, the cavitation bubble size decreases and becomes less aggressive. The result may be an inability to remove some soils. With 25kHz, the cavitation bubbles are much larger and very aggressive. This is better for more massive parts like engine blocks and dies with tenacious contaminants. But beware that it can damage the surface finish of the part if care is not taken. 25kHz should not be used for parts with a polished finish.

When are high frequencies needed?

Higher frequencies (68kHz to 170kHz) should be used on items that need especially gentle, sub-micron level cleaning. This includes delicate electronics and precision optics. These higher frequencies produce sub-micron sized cavitation bubbles that can navigate the tiniest cracks and crevasses. Higher frequencies are often used to clean pharmaceutical equipment, medical implants, titanium components, delicate electronics and precision optics.

The best all-around frequency

For most applications, 40kHz is the best choice because it has the best balance between power and cavitation bubble size. This is why it is used in over 90% of all industrial ultrasonic cleaning systems. 40kHz Cavitation bubbles are about one micron in size, small enough to get into tiny cracks and blind holes. It’s also powerful enough to remove stubborn contaminants yet gentle enough for all but the most fragile materials.

SIMULTANEOUS MULTI-FREQUENCY® delivers superior performance

Single stacked transducers produce a single frequency which produces a specifically sized cavitation bubble (one micron for 40kHz). Higher end cleaning applications, however, may require sub-micron level cleaning. Ultrasonic Power Corporation’s patented VIBRA-BAR® transducer technology produces SIMULTANEOUS MULTI-FREQUENCY®. With this design, two PZT (piezoelectric transducer) stacks are mounted in a specific pattern. The natural resonance is combined with the propagating energy from the two PZT stacks causing a complex resonance. The result is the base frequency (40kHz) and a range of frequencies from 40kHz to 90kHz. These higher frequencies are able to remove smaller particles than with just a single 40kHz frequency.

Ultrasonic Power Corporation’s SIMULTANEOUS MULTI-FREQUENCY® technology provides multiple frequencies from a single generator and transducer configuration. This is like having multiple frequency generators and transducers in a single package.

Challenges and solutions

No ultrasonic cleaner is worth investing in if it doesn’t deliver results. No matter what your unique cleaning situation, we’re ready to provide the ultrasonic cleaning results that fit your needs, so let’s begin finding a great solution to your cleaning challenges. We like to say “Our Technology, Your Solution”TM Talk with us soon.

How To Evaluate Your Ultrasonic Cleaning Operation For Further Automation

Increased automation is remaking the business landscape. Cleaning, especially ultrasonic cleaning, is an area where automation can provide significant ROI without drastically trimming your workforce.

Deciding how you should automate takes thought and planning. Here are a few questions to ask about your operation:

Are labor rates high?

Many companies depend on experienced—and expensive—technicians for daily production. But a suboptimal cleaning process can put you in a situation where you’re treating a highly competent and highly trained technician like a minimum wage worker.

For example, a jet mechanic working in an aerospace repair facility will be paid an average of $85,000 per year, plus benefits; any time he or she spends scrubbing or loading parts is essentially a loss for the company. Automating those processes therefore brings you high ROI.

Where in your process can labor time be saved?

Examine each step in your cleaning process. What parts are most labor intensive? For instance, are workers hand scrubbing or hand-spraying? Using ultrasonic cleaning will eliminate these steps, as ultrasonic cavitation cleans more completely than even the most careful human, and reaches places they can’t.

If you’re already using ultrasonic cleaning, are you moving items through a series of soaks, cleaning phases and rinses? A custom automated system can be used to move them through the process without a worker involved or even present.

Speaking of monitoring, are there parts of your cleaning process in which someone must monitor or control a machine’s operation? Keep track of how long the items have been in it? In many cases, this expense can be eliminated by using ultrasonic cleaning and/or automation. It’s a simple matter to determine how long your components need to be immersed in an ultrasonic cleaning tank in order to remove all contaminants. Then, a control system such as the Sonic Touch® II can use a countdown timer to end the process after that amount of time.  This saves saves employee time, and saves energy because the unit won’t run any longer than necessary.

Finally, consider what workers could be doing with the time they’re currently spending on monitoring, placing or hand cleaning.

Where in your process can other time be saved?

There may be places in your cleaning process where no worker is spending their time, but time is nonetheless wasted.

For example, you can save time and energy again by using automation to ensure an ultrasonic cleaner is ready in “just in time.” The Sonic Touch® II system features seven day timers for the heating system, pump and filtration system and oil skimmer. If you know components will need cleaning at certain times, you can set the Sonic Touch® II to activate the systems on the appropriate unit just before those times, making it ready right when the components are.

Will reducing handling increase quality?

Consider the nature of the items you’re cleaning. How vulnerable are they to damage from handling during the cleaning process? Some components, such as those that will receive a coating at a later stage, will need to be reworked if someone carelessly dings them or misses contamination or oils during cleaning.

While automation can’t eliminate mistakes, each time you reduce the amount of human handling in your process, you reduce the chance of costly human errors. Plus, you’ve probably freed the worker for another task.

Now that you’ve given the process due consideration, get in touch with us and we can review the best automation options for your firm.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY SHOW 2018

The manufacturing industry is buzzing about the IMTS 2018 slated for September 10-15. The International Manufacturing Technology Show is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, featuring more than 2,400 exhibiting companies and 115,612 registrants. Will you be there? If so, we look forward to connecting with you! Ultrasonic Power is delighted to have an exhibit there and the opportunity to showcase our top-quality equipment in person to the IMTS community.

Ultrasonic Power Corporation will be in Booth 121431, where we will demonstrate our new advanced 90 Gallon Cleaning System with a programmable lift and Sonic Touch® II featuring our patented integrated cavitation meter and wireless control, part of our Console Series of ultrasonic cleaning systems. The reliability, precision and impressive power of this system makes it a great choice for parts cleaning (titanium, aluminum and steel parts).

At the IMTS, we will also exhibit our BT 60SE Bench Top Cleaning System, which has a digital temperature control. It is an industrial-grade system made to clean a range of parts easily within its large 11” deep body.

In addition, our knowledgeable team will exhibit the Ultrasonic Power immersible transducer generator package. If you already have a tank and want to convert it to an ultrasonic cleaning tank, these immersible transducers provide an effective solution. Our transducer packages are great for OEM’s looking for the best ultrasonics backed by the strongest warranty in the industry, made right here in The USA!

Ultrasonic Power proudly has over 40 years of experience designing and manufacturing ultrasonic cleaning equipment. We regularly work with NASA, Space X, Boeing, and Virgin Galactic. We also design and manufacture large custom system tanks; Space X has a few of these huge systems. The tanks are used to clean their engine parts, landing gear, and other vital components.

Mark your calendar for IMTS in September at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL! If you are unable to attend, phone us instead at 1-800-575-0168 to discuss how our ultrasonic technology can be the solution for your business needs.

How to Lower Costs and Increase Uptime with Updated Filtration System- Ultrasonic Cleaning

 

 

 

 

Anyone managing a service or technical operation hopes to reduce costs wherever possible. These days, people are turning to ultrasonic cleaning systems to save on labor expenses, rework, disposals, and many others. But to maximize savings, you need to achieve maximum uptime, prolong the life of the medium, and lengthen the time between maintenance services.

Fortunately, new improvements to our cleaning units can achieve all of these and more. We spoke with Felipe Benalcazar, a manufacturing engineer who designed the improved system.

Easier access, leading to increased uptime

Based on customer feedback, our engineers saw an opportunity to make the filtration system more accessible and easier to configure, and have rolled out the change in 39 to 204 gallon cleaners equipped with both a main tank (where cleaning takes place) and a reservoir tank. Prior to this redesign, changing the direction of flow was a hassle.

“You could configure the system to choose the source you were filtering, or pump from one tank to another,” Benalcazar said, “but to be able to change [the flow] you would have to render your system down, open the panels, reconfigure manually through a series of valves, and then go back into operation.”

Operators will now easily select where the liquid is moving to and from by changing a single ball valve’s position or with a solenoid activated from the control panel. “Minimizing the time spent making changes was a huge priority; we wanted to be able to say ‘This is as easy as pushing a button,’” Benalcazar said.

“All the items that need to be accessed for maintenance will be internal and any that operate the system will now be external. We’re very excited about that.”

New valve configuration preserves cleaning medium

One of the main benefits of being able to control the pattern of flow in the unit is keeping a cleaner—and thus longer-lasting—medium in the immersion tank.

As oil and light contaminants are skimmed out through the overflow fittings to the reservoir tank, the reservoir’s contents are then filtered. With the new external valve control, operators can create a bypass, pumping and filtering the contents of the main tank directly. “With our pump feed being located at the bottom of the main tank, the heavier contaminants will be pulled out through a pre-strainer, then through a pump and filtration system, and then clean fluid is returned back into the tank,” Benalcazar said. Removing surface and bottom debris allows the medium to have a longer life.

In the near future, customers ordering custom systems will be able to automate the process using sensors or timers.

Better pumps for lower operating cost

Another improvement is pumps that last longer. While cavitation is the driver behind ultrasonic cleaning, cavitation in pumps can drastically reduce their operating life. With the new filtration setup, Benalcazar said, “We are now standardized to eliminate cavitation in any scenario you can think of. Our new configuration allows the customer to prime the pump without any difficulty.” This minimizes differences in temperature, makeup or vapor pressure in the medium that might cause the pump to cavitate.

In addition, he said, the pumps themselves are greatly improved. “We’ve used robust magnetic drive pumps in our system to account for all the different uses a customer might have. The beauty of magnetic pumps, unlike a traditional centrifugal pump, is that the pump works without a drive shaft.” This eliminates a number of parts that wear down relatively quickly in centrifugal pumps. “This gives the customer a very efficient pump that lasts longer and can handle everything you put through the system,” he said.

“With the protections we have with the strainer, eliminating cavitation, the robustness of the pump itself, and the appropriate plumbing configuration, the pump is reaching the longest lifespan it can possibly have,” Benalcazar said.

All of this leads to less maintenance and a greater time between filter changes and medium refills, leading to increased uptime and lower operating cost.

Pump-drain option makes life easier for customers

By moving the valve to a purge position and activating the pump, operators can pump-drain the main tank. Benalcazar notes that this will be very convenient for smaller operations such as music shops and schools, which use ultrasonic cleaning on musical instruments.

“These non-industrial customers aren’t usually equipped with a floor drain,” he said. Now, instead of using gravity draining, customers can pump the tank out into a sink or other convenient drain. Since the system uses a ball valve, it’s also possible to carefully control how quickly the liquid flows out.

The new design also allows the customer to bypass the filtration system as they drain the tank, which preserves filter cartridge life.

Taken together, these changes increase uptime, reduce operating costs and make ultrasonic cleaning even easier to use. “We try to do anything we can so the customer has the best product for their application,” Benalcazar said. “With this new plumbing, they’ll have an extremely efficient system that is going to have a longer life, less downtime altogether, lower operating cost and flexibility. The consumer will have more options, as to what they want to do with it.”

How Ultrasonic Cleaning Eliminates Harmful Solvents in Aerospace Cleaning

Cleaning with solvents is something nearly every maintenance operation does, from using a spray-on cleaner for electronic components to soaking metal parts in degreasing compound. But as environmental concerns become a greater part of the business equation and the need to cut costs mounts, is there a better method?

There is. Ultrasonic cleaning not only delivers better quality results, it can make your shop greener, safer and less costly to run by eliminating harmful solvents. Let’s first examine the problems solvents cause, then look at how ultrasonic cleaning solves those issues.

Solvents usually require additional cleaning work

Only the most caustic solvents will remove all the grime on components. Additional work by employees or a machine, such as hand scrubbing or spray washing, will cost time and labor.

Many solvents present a danger to employees

At a minimum, most industrial solvents will present a danger to a worker’s skin and eyes, and there may be issues with fumes.

Solvents are often costly to purchase

The cost for the actual solvent may not rank among your greatest expenses, but it can be significant over time. This will be especially true if you use solvents designed to meet green targets.

Solvents may have a high disposal cost

Solvents are usually classified as hazardous waste unless they have a flashpoint above 140 degrees, and as such are expensive to dispose of. Those formulas which are less hazardous also tend to be less effective, which will drive up the costs from additional cleaning. Plus, your state may classify your solvent as “special waste” or some other category and require special handling anyway.

Efforts to preserve your solvent may backfire

The higher the base cost of the solvent and the disposal expense are, the greater the incentive to preserve each batch as long as possible. The problem? Each action to help preserve batches—whether it’s more hand cleaning, filtration, longer soaking, etc.—increases costs elsewhere. In the long run, this may end up costing more than you save. Additionally, if the effort to preserve it goes on too long, the medium may become ineffective, leaving you with a batch of components that needs to be re-cleaned.

So, how does ultrasonic cleaning eliminate these concerns?

Cavitation means you’ll need no additional cleaning work

Ultrasonic cleaning occurs when the sound waves cause microscopic bubbles to form on the surface of the item being cleaned. The wave action also causes the bubbles to collapse. As they do, the liquid rushing into the space blasts contaminants off the surface.

Because the bubbles are microscopic and reach everywhere liquid can reach, additional scrubbing or spraying will not be necessary. Every contaminant on every surface will be removed by ultrasonic cavitation, usually in about five to seven minutes.

Simple detergents are safe and have a much lower cost

Ultrasonic cleaning requires the use of a detergent to facilitate moving contaminants away from the surface being cleaned, but these detergents are quite mild and cost a fraction of what you will pay for organic or petroleum-based solvents. That means no danger to employees, no safety equipment and no safety compliance costs. In addition, since cavitation (not the detergent itself) is doing the heavy lifting, you’ll use much less detergent compared to solvent.

There are no major disposal costs with the typical ultrasonic cleaning bath

A water mix with a mild detergent won’t qualify as a hazardous waste or have any properties making it dangerous to the environment. That means you’ll save the cost of hazardous waste disposal fees.

Frequent changes have a lower cost, so they become a best practice

When both the cleaning medium and disposal of it come with a minimal cost, there’s no need to take actions intended to stretch out its effective life. This can save you labor costs, filtration maintenance and rework, just to name a few possible costs.

The ability of ultrasonic cleaning to remove grime of any type from even inaccessible surfaces makes it the go-to cleaning technology for any technical operation, and eliminating solvents from the equation will save you costs and headaches in the short and long runs. If you’d like to learn more about eliminating harsh chemicals with an ultrasonic cleaning setup, get in touch with us today.

Mark Your Calendar for the Aerospace Industry’s MRO Americas Show 2018

The aerospace industry is buzzing about the MRO Americas 2018 show slated for April 10-12. Will you be there? If so, we look forward to connecting with you! Ultrasonic Power is delighted to have an exhibit there and the opportunity to showcase our top-quality equipment in person to the MRO community.

The MRO show promises to be a highlight of Aviation week. We will be in Booth 2385, where we will demonstrate our new advanced 39 Gallon Cleaning System with Sonic Touch® II featuring our patented cavitation meter and wireless control, part of our Console Series of ultrasonic cleaning systems. The reliability, precision and impressive power of this system makes it a great choice for parts cleaning (titanium, aluminum and steel parts).

At the MRO exhibition, we will also exhibit our BT 60H Bench Top Cleaning System, which has a digital temperature control. It is an industrial-grade system made to clean a range of parts easily within its large 11” deep body.

In addition, our knowledgeable team will exhibit the Ultrasonic Power immersible transducer generator package. If you already have a tank and want to convert it to an ultrasonic cleaning tank, these immersible transducers provide an effective solution.

Ultrasonic Power proudly has 40 years of experience in the manufacturing of ultrasonic cleaning equipment. We regularly work with NASA, Space X, Boeing, and Virgin Galactic. We also design and manufacture custom large system tanks; Space X has a few of these huge systems. The tanks are used to clean their engine parts, landing gear, and other vital components.

Mark your calendar for the MRO show in April at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL! If you are unable to attend, phone us instead at 1-800-575-0168 to discuss how our ultrasonic technology can be the solution for your business needs.

How Ultrasonic Cleaning Can Help Speed Up Aircraft Maintenance

Aerospace Ultrasonic CleaningIn aviation, there’s no substitute for a fast turnaround. Aircraft don’t make money sitting on the ground, so anything that gets them back in the air quickly has a direct impact on the bottom line. And since every level of aviation maintenance involves cleaning tasks, faster cleaning means faster maintenance.

Ultrasonic cleaning can save significant amounts of time in any technical setting, and aviation is no exception.

Just faster cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaning has a much shorter run time than other methods, especially those which depend on hand cleaning or soaking.

Soaking can reduce the time your workers spend on hand cleaning as well as help preserve solvents or other media used later in the process. But in most cases, soaking is not necessary or even helpful when using ultrasonics. The ultrasonic cleaner uses sound waves to form and collapse millions of microscopic bubbles, which scrub contaminants from the surface. There’s no need to soften up dirt before the cleaning begins.

Since those bubbles reach everywhere liquid can reach and remove contaminants from the surface completely, disassembling parts prior to cleaning process is seldom necessary, and much less common than with hand or spray cleaning.

With no soaking and no disassembly, you save time before the cleaning begins, but the cleaning process itself is usually much shorter. A typical cycle cleans multiple parts in five to seven minutes, less time than it would take to thoroughly hand clean a single part in most cases.

Reduced rework or replacement
Because ultrasonic cleaning reaches all of every submerged surface, there won’t be cases where a worker misses a spot or a spray washer fails to achieve 100% coverage. That means parts won’t need to be recleaned, and contaminants won’t interfere with later steps requiring inspection or recoating.

In the case of moving from hand scrubbing to ultrasonic cleaning, the amount of handling the part undergoes is dramatically reduced. As a result, the chances a component will be damaged by simple human error are decreased proportionally. Reducing this risk will reduce the total time spent on maintenance.

The little things
Putting on a face shield is probably not the most time-consuming task your team takes on. But the gentle nature of the chemicals in ultrasonic cleaning baths can help you gain time back in a number of ways.

While hand cleaning and spray washing often rely on harsh chemicals to move grime off surfaces, ultrasonic cleaners need only water and a mild detergent. That eliminates the need for protective gear, safety training, compliance with associated regulations and the time spent on specialized disposal.

Even small time savings add up over time, and your employees will have greater comfort and safety.

Automation and advanced control
Our cleaners employ the Sonic Touch® II control system, which will increase efficiency in a number of ways. Each features a countdown timer system, not a new technology for sure, but a definite time and money saver as it will shut the cleaner down and alert staff when the cleaning process is complete. It also has a seven day schedule feature for the unit’s heating system, pump and filtration system and oil skimmer. This means that you can schedule activation of these subsystems so that the unit will be ready “just-in-time.”

There are also custom automation options which allow you to change your cleaning setup so that workers are engaged in other tasks instead of moving parts or monitoring a cleaning process.

Our custom automation options allow workers to simply place baskets in a zone monitored by sensors, with an automated carry system moving it through the remainder of the process. This offers significant time savings in setups where a part may enter multiple baths and rinses. Instead of a worker moving the parts and monitoring the amount of time they spend in each bath, the system will do the work. This is a further opportunity to remove human error from the process, since it’s impossible for the system to forget to come to work with the parts or be distracted and leave them in longer than is necessary.

Shorter run times and prep times. No do-overs on cleaning, and no waiting to replace a damaged part. Easier and safer use with milder chemicals, saving time on multiple tasks. Automated processes that save time for your workforce and free them for other tasks. All these benefits can be delivered by ultrasonic cleaning. With this technology, you can keep ‘em flying, and do it faster.

What To Do When Your Customer (Or Boss) Mandates Ultrasonic Cleaning

Change is the only constant, and a fresh batch of change arrived on your desk today. Someone higher up in the org chart (or downstream in the supply chain) has made the decision to require ultrasonic cleaning for your aerospace operation.

So, now what? Now that the mandate is there, the question is how to make the transition in the most effective way. Fortunately, we have some tips on how to make the change to ultrasonic cleaning a smooth and profitable one. In fact, you may find that this decision gives you a number of advantages.

  1.  Establish a cleaning validation program

A mandate for ultrasonic cleaning will usually include a cleanliness standard for the finished product you move on to the customer. In aerospace, the required cleanliness usually falls between 0.01 grams and 0.001 grams per cm2.

If you don’t yet have a cleaning validation program, now is the time to put one in place. The right validation method(s) can vary widely and depend on the nature of the products you’re validating and of the soils that contaminate them. The good news: It’s not rocket science, if you’ll excuse the phrase. We’ve done two recent blogs posts here and here that can serve as a resource to start from.

  1. Examine your workflow for new efficiencies

Ultrasonic cleaning will mean less time assembling and disassembling items, less rework and re-cleaning. That’s because ultrasonic cavitation will reach anywhere on a component that water will reach, and it scrubs grime of any type from the surface of the part. In addition, ultrasonic cleaning takes less time and no one will need to manually clean the items. That means you have an opportunity to use both time and personnel in a more efficient manner.

Take as an example a station where an employee is assigned to manually remove grime from batches of components before they are recoated. Such a station would no longer need to be constantly manned, and the ultrasonic cleaning process would most likely involve a typical five to seven minute immersion for each batch instead of thirty minutes or so of scrubbing. What could that worker be doing now instead of scrubbing parts? How much of their time is currently spent re-cleaning parts which failed the coating stage because of incomplete cleaning?

This is time you’ll now have available, so why not begin planning how you’ll make use of it?

  1. Consider automation

Depending on your specific cleaning needs, you may need to take the items to be cleaned through multiple baths and rinses. Rather than have a worker oversee this process, consider our custom automation installations, which can move batches of items through a predetermined process without any worker intervention other than placing the batch in a start zone monitored by a smart sensor.

  1. Get in touch

At Ultrasonic Power Corporation, we believe that customer satisfaction isn’t just about building them high-quality cleaning units. It’s also about helping them make the transition to ultrasonic cleaning successfully. We also offer free parts testing so you can get more information on the best cleaning options for the unique challenges you face. Contact us today and we’ll see how we can help move you forward.