There’s no denying the right equipment can have a major effect on your facility’s bottom line. As more customers raise the bar when it comes to cleanliness requirements, the cleaning processes you use provide an opportunity to realize those kinds of savings.
Using ultrasonic cleaners vs. spray washers can save money by delivering increased efficiency, lowered costs, a better product and safer employees. Here’s how.
Saving on chemicals
Setups vary, but cleaning with sprayers requires detergents and possibly other specialized cleaning chemicals. Depending on the grime you’re removing, you may need some very aggressive additives. You may also have green concerns at the top of your priority list. In that case, you’ll be using substances specifically designed for low environmental impact.
The more caustic brews bring safety concerns and therefore greater training costs. In addition, there will either be the added headache of disposal or added maintenance hassle from a purification system. The green mixes are often more expensive and are less effective for some applications. In both cases, you may find that maximum effectiveness requires meeting an exact mix ratio and temperature range.
So, is there a sweet spot? Yes, but it’s not a substance, it’s a process: Ultrasonic cavitation.
When ultrasonic waves pass through a liquid, they form and then compress miniscule bubbles of gas. As these bubbles constantly form and implode, they create a powerful jet which strikes the surface of the part and dislodges contaminants. These implosions can create temperatures of 5,000 degrees Celsius, but because all this takes place on an extremely small scale, it ends up being more gentle and more thorough than any other method.
In fact, when Cagnazzi Racing was experiencing massive engine damage from tiny impurities on their components, they switched from spray washing to ultrasonic cleaning and eliminated the problem. “Having a system like this allows us to use the latest technology to make sure our engine components are as clean as possible before final assembly,” Joe Hornick, Cagnazzi’s Director of Engine Development said. “Now we can do that better, cheaper, and in an environmentally friendly way.”
Ultrasonic cleaners do use a detergent in their liquid medium. However, it’s extremely mild and is there to grab dirt particles the cavitation has blasted away. That means lower expense for the detergent itself, no regulatory compliance costs and no disposal problems. It also means no costs for safety training and no need to pay workers to don, doff, handle or maintain safety equipment.
Saving on labor
There’s more to labor savings with ultrasonic cleaning than the cost reduction from making your workers safer. First, you’ll save on disassembling and reassembling parts. Because ultrasonic cleaners scrub wherever liquid reaches, you won’t have to disassemble a component to make sure spray hits a hidden recess.
Second, you’ll save by avoiding rework and recoating. Because ultrasonic cleaning is gentler and requires less handling, there are fewer opportunities for dings, drops and other errors that can cause a part to be sent back through the line. And because ultrasonic cavitation hits every spot on every surface, you won’t risk having oils or other contaminants remain on parts that are receiving a coating.
Third, you may be able to automate part of the process. We now offer customized automation options, using smart sensors to control a system that moves each basket of parts through a pre-programmed cycle. This can include multiple rinse and cleaning baths as you require.
Saving on maintenance
Spray washers can be a maintenance nightmare, with an abundance of moving parts and potential problems from leaks – whether the leaking liquid is water or a toxic additive.
An ultrasonic cleaner will have no moving parts except for a filtration pump. That frees your maintenance crew to concentrate on other tasks and saves on parts replacement as well.
By allowing you to get rid of solvent, use your workers’ time more effectively and cut down on unnecessary maintenance, it’s clear that ultrasonic cleaners can help you make a clean break from needless expense.