Sometimes, increasing efficiency in a manufacturing environment can seem like an inch-by-inch process. A slight improvement here, some overhead shaved off there. But what if you could invest in a single proven technology and achieve shorter throughput time and reduced costs?
You may have to clean parts turned in for refurbishment, prepare aerospace components for a coating or expunge contaminants from equipment used to fabricate medical devices. But whatever the application, ultrasonic cleaning can make the process more precise and make your facility more efficient. Here are seven ways:
1. LESS TIME SPENT ON DISASSEMBLING AND REASSEMBLING
Contaminants in many parts and tools hide away in areas that can’t physically be reached with a cleaning tool or the stream of a sprayer, so the part must be disassembled for cleaning, then reassembled at some point later in the process. But the “cleaning tool” in ultrasonic cleaning is microscopic and can reach anywhere liquid can reach.
Ultrasonic waves produce microscopic bubbles through cavitation. Millions of these bubbles will cling to the object being cleaned, and create a high-energy impact when they collapse. This constant cycle of forming and collapsing bubbles creates a scrubbing action that reaches every point on every surface of the item. Unless part of the item is or there are air pockets present within the part, there will be no need for the disassemble/reassemble cycle, and eliminating it will save you production time and labor cost.
2. LESS LABOR SPENT ON CLEANING ITSELF
Depending on the complexity of the part, cleaning can be labor-intensive and take an enormous amount of time as well as precise attention to detail. Whether a worker uses manual cleaning with a brush or sprayers or places them in a machine, the parts must be handled, scrubbed and carefully inspected.
Take, for example, a part that has a complex geometry, such as a roller with deep, narrow grooves or a transmission component. Even after soaking or spraying, a worker will need to manually remove contaminants from the nooks and crannies of the piece. But again, the microscopic bubbles produced in an ultrasonic cleaner will form in all those hard-to-reach spots, cleaning them more effectively and in far less time. Depending on the nature of the items to be cleaned and the contaminants, cleaning can take as little as five to seven minutes.
3. FEWER SCRAPPED AND REWORKED PARTS
The ultrasonic process is gentler than any human worker (or any other cleaning process) can be, and the component is handled far less than it would be in manual cleaning. This makes it much less likely that any given component will be damaged and end up scrapped or sent back for rework, saving you material and labor costs.
4. FEWER “DO-OVERS” FROM INCOMPLETE CLEANING
If a tool, parts or product remains partially contaminated, you’ve lost time, and therefore money. For example, if your product needs to be cleaned between fabrication and the application of a coating, partially cleaned parts will bring your manufacturing process to a halt and sock you right in the bottom line as you pay to have them cleaned a second time. Since ultrasonic cleaning is precision cleaning, you can be certain that all contaminants are removed on the first pass and the components will always be ready for the next step.
5. LESS RISK, TIME AND COST ON THE SAFETY FRONT
The only chemicals used in ultrasonic cleaning are mild detergents; the rest of the cleaning medium is water. That’s because ultrasonic cavitation does the hard work of removing impurities, so there’s no need for harsh chemicals. This not only reduces the risk to your employees from handling toxic brews, it reduces your need for safety equipment, expensive waste removal, training and compliance.
6. REDUCED MAINTENANCE
You may be using a machine to wash your components, and while it’s far more efficient than hand washing, such machines can be a maintenance nightmare. Each will contain dozens or hundreds of moving parts in its pumps, sprayers and conveyors. However, an ultrasonic cleaning system will contain a single filtration pump and no other moving parts. That takes one more task (or more likely, dozens) off your maintenance team’s list.
7. INCREASED UPTIME WHEN IT’S YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT YOU’RE CLEANING
If you have machinery or tools that require regular cleaning, every moment you save on the cleaning process is a moment of downtime you’ve eliminated. With ultrasonic cleaning you’ll clean those items more quickly, with no chance that you’ll have to send them back through for a second cleaning. That means more uptime, and more uptime means a better bottom line.
Would you like to see how this worked out for a manufacturer with a difficult cleaning problem? Download our free report on the results Componex experienced when they converted to ultrasonic cleaning.