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.