The Benefits of Using Ultrasonic Cleaning for Pharmaceutical Equipment

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Pharmaceutical applications involve equipment with complex parts which can be very difficult to clean. Components like hoses, filters, and valves can present a particularly tough challenge. Using traditional methods to clean pharmaceutical equipment is time-consuming and may provide incomplete cleaning. This isn’t good news when you’re trying to meet the strict regulations and standards within the industry. Thankfully, there is a better way: pharmaceutical ultrasonic cleaning.

An ultrasonic cleaner will have the job done in a fraction of the time you would spend on traditional cleaning methods. And it will ensure that every part of the equipment is completely free of residue, eliminating contamination concerns. What’s more, ultrasonic cleaning is gentle enough that you don’t have to worry about damage to your equipment.

Here, we go into detail about how a pharmaceutical ultrasonic cleaning tank works and the benefits of using this over regular cleaning methods.

How pharmaceutical ultrasonic cleaning works

An ultrasonic cleaner is a specialized piece of equipment that cleans using high-frequency sound waves. The equipment to be cleaned sits entirely submerged in a bath of cleaning liquid. An ultrasonic transducer is responsible for producing sound waves that disrupt the liquid.

This disruption results in the production of tiny bubbles filled with vapor. When these bubbles meet the surface of an object, they collapse, prompting the release of high-temperature jets of liquid. This process is known as cavitation.

The force from the hot liquid jets is strong enough to dislodge contaminants that are adhered to the surface of the submerged object. Particulates that have been removed are filtered away so they won’t recontaminate the equipment.

In a pharmaceutical lab environment, ultrasonic cleaning can be used for a whole range of equipment and parts, including filters, hoses, valves, tubes, pipes, molds, and punches.

The benefits of pharmaceutical ultrasonic cleaning

Labor-intensive equipment cleaning is often simply accepted as part of the workday. However, an increasing number of pharmaceutical product manufacturers are opting for ultrasonic cleaning instead. While it requires an upfront investment in equipment, it can help save time and money in the long term.

Here are the main benefits of opting for a pharmaceutical ultrasonic tank instead of sticking with regular cleaning methods:

1. Your parts will be thoroughly cleaned

Production of things like ointments and tablets can leave a lot of residue on various components of your equipment. It’s very difficult to remove all traces of product using traditional cleaning methods such as agitation and scrubbing. Even when using harsh chemicals it can be tough (or impossible) to remove all residue from hard-to-reach places like threads, crevices, and the inside of hoses.

These concerns are alleviated when you use an ultrasonic cleaner. Any surface area that’s in contact with the cleaning liquid will be reached by the cavitation bubbles. This means that all parts of the submerged object will be thoroughly cleaned. This is especially important when equipment is used for batches of different products and cross-contamination is a concern.

The frequency of some ultrasonic cleaners can be adjusted. At higher frequencies, you can clean at the sub-micron level which is desirable for many pharmaceutical equipment components such as filters and punches.

2. You can avoid downtime and reduce man-hours

Traditional cleaning methods can be extremely time-consuming. Not only do you have to clean every part by hand, but you also have to dismantle equipment and separate every component ready for cleaning.

Ultrasonic cleaners can clean far quicker, reducing equipment downtime and improving productivity. It can take just a few minutes of cleaning to achieve results that may not even be possible by traditional methods.

You can even leave the machine unattended while cleaning so that other tasks may be completed. This will free up lab personnel to focus on more important tasks. It may even mean that you don’t need to hire additional personnel for the sole purpose of equipment cleaning.

3. Some cleaners are specifically designed for pharmaceutical equipment

Are you worried about using a general ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning delicate parts? You may be able to find equipment that has been designed specifically to clean your components.

For example, we’ve created a custom filter ultrasonic tank. This will eliminate the need for the painstaking task of cleaning filters by hand and optimize the performance of your filters.

A custom ultrasonic filter cleaning system

4. There’s less exposure to harsh chemicals

To get as thorough a clean as possible when using traditional cleaning methods, you’ll often have to opt for harsh chemicals. Personnel must wear additional personal protective equipment or risk exposure to these materials, often for long periods while hand cleaning is in progress. What’s more, there’s a risk these toxic substances could remain on components and contaminate products in future runs.

An ultrasonic cleaner allows for a hands-off approach, minimizing exposure. It’s also usually not necessary to use harsh chemicals. Due to the force of the cavitation process, a gentler cleaning liquid can typically be used, and with better results at that.

Further, you can be sure that all parts will be reached during the rinse cycle so you don’t have to worry about traces of cleaning agents remaining on the equipment.

5. You can prolong the life of your equipment

Cleaning via traditional methods can cause buildup of residue over time, for example, on things like filters, to the point where parts are deemed unusable. Also, harsh chemicals and vigorous cleaning methods can damage components, forcing you to retire equipment prematurely.

As mentioned, with some ultrasonic cleaners, you can adjust the frequency. The higher the frequency, the more gentle the clean, and the lower the chance of damage. The thorough cleaning also means you don’t get the debris buildup you normally would.

You may even be able to use ultrasonic cleaning to salvage parts that you had thought were unusable. For example, filters can be very difficult to clean thoroughly via regular cleaning, requiring them to be frequently replaced. Filter ultrasonic cleaning can help prolong the life of your filter multiple times over.

Why Use Ultrasonics to Clean Firearms?

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Firearms are complex pieces of machinery, which means that cleaning them can be tricky. The traditional method of cleaning a firearm involves disassembling the gun and cleaning each part by hand. While this is inexpensive, it can be laborious and may not give you the thorough cleaning you desire. Ultrasonic gun cleaning on the other hand involves a quick and painless process and provides a deep clean.

When you use an ultrasonic gun cleaner, you can be sure that all parts are pristine and well-lubricated, while remaining undamaged. An ultrasonic cleaner involves an upfront investment, but it will help save you money down the road in terms of repairs and replacement.

In this article, we take a closer look at how an ultrasonic weapons cleaner works and the advantages of using a sonic gun cleaner.

How Ultrasonic Gun Cleaning Works

Before we delve into why an ultrasonic gun cleaner is best for cleaning your firearms, it’s useful to know how the process works.

Ultrasonic cleaners work by producing high-frequency sound waves that disrupt the cleaning liquid. As a result, tiny vapor-filled bubbles form and collapse against the surface of objects submerged in the solution. When the bubbles collapse, they release hot jets of water that have enough force to remove contaminants from the object’s surface. This process will clean any part that is submerged in the cleaning solution.

An ultrasonic cleaner can help with lubrication too. Once the parts are clean, the cleaning solution can be replaced with a lubricant and the ultrasonic cleaner can be used once again to ensure all parts are lubricated. The lubricating fluid also displaces water to further prevent rust.

Advantages of Ultrasonic Weapons Cleaning

Traditional gun cleaning can represent somewhat of a ritual for some gun owners, but that’s really where the benefits of traditional cleaning end. There are a whole host of reasons why ultrasonic gun cleaning is preferred by so many gun collectors, law enforcement agencies, shooting range operators, and other gun owners.

Some of the main benefits of ultrasonic weapons cleaners are:

  1. They clean and lubricate thoroughly
  2. Cleaning time is reduced
  3. Parts dry quickly
  4. Specially formulated solutions are available

Let’s looks at these in more detail:

1. They clean and lubricate thoroughly

When using traditional methods, many gun owners will perform a surface clean and follow it up by spraying some lubricant inside. While this will keep the outside of the gun looking good, the critical internal components won’t be cleaned. Even if you completely disassemble the gun, there will still be crevices that can’t be reached by hand, even with special cleaning tools.

Firearms have intricate internal and external components that are difficult to clean by hand. Image source: Wikimedia

Carbon, dirt, lead, lubricant, and other substances can build up inside the weapon. This will lower its performance and increase the likelihood that you’ll need to repair or replace your firearm sooner rather than later.

When you use an ultrasonic cleaner, the cavitation bubbles will reach all surfaces of the submerged object. This ensures you get a thorough cleaning of all parts of your firearm.

As well as thorough cleaning, lubrication is essential to the maintenance of a firearm. Without proper lubrication, rust will set in and you’ll have to replace your firearm sooner. As with cleaning, lubrication with an ultrasonic cleaner is quicker and more effective.

2. Cleaning time is greatly reduced

To get the best clean using traditional methods, you would need to completely dismantle the firearm and clean and lubricate the components one by one. While this can be enjoyable for some firearm owners, it can be a very time-intensive task.

Ultrasonic cleaning can do a more thorough job in far less time. You only need to submerge the weapon in the ultrasonic cleaning solution for a few minutes and lubrication can take just a minute. Plus you can walk away and do something else while your gun is being cleaned.

Note that you don’t need to completely disassemble the entire weapon for cleaning in a sonic gun cleaner. Basic field stripping is all you need, which saves even more time.

3. Parts dry quickly

Some ultrasonic cleaners such as the GunSonicTM come with a dryer. This helps reduce drying time by a very significant 80 percent. Instead of waiting for your parts to air dry, the hot air blower can dry them in just a couple of minutes.

A GunSonic™ LG 3606 ultrasonic cleaner

With the shorter preparation, cleaning, and lubrication times, along with speedy drying, cleaning your gun no longer has to be a planned activity. A task that would normally take hours becomes a quick job.

4. Specially formulated solutions are available

Want to avoid damaging your firearm with incompatible commercial cleaning solutions? When you purchase an ultrasonic gun cleaner, it will often come with a supply of solutions tailored to your needs. You have the peace of mind that when you use the cleaning detergent and lubricant that comes with your sonic gun cleaner, they are specially formulated for this purpose.

Concerns about ultrasonic gun cleaning

There are a couple of common concerns when it comes to using an ultrasonic method for cleaning firearms, which we’ll address here:

Is ultrasonic cleaning too harsh for my gun?

Are you worried that the process of ultrasonic cleaning might damage your firearm? In fact, ultrasonic cleaning can be adjusted such that it is less likely to cause damage than traditional cleaning, for example, by using a cloth that is too abrasive.

In some ultrasonic cleaners, the vigor of ultrasonic cleaning can be finetuned by adjusting the frequency. Lower frequencies result in larger bubbles and more force when the bubbles collapse. While this is ideal for removing contaminants that are adhered particularly well to the surface of an object, it increases the risk of causing damage. Using a higher frequency will give you gentler cleaning. Single-frequency cleaners designed for use with firearms will have a high enough frequency to ensure a gentle enough clean for most firearm components.

You can also tweak the temperature, use a different detergent, and adjust the time the object spends in the machine. With the right settings, ultrasonic cleaning is even gentle enough to use on gold, anodized aluminum, and titanium parts. That said, depending on the cleaner you’re using, some parts such as lasers and scopes need to be removed prior to ultrasonic cleaning.

Will my weapon fit in an ultrasonic cleaner?

A common misconception is that you can’t clean a rifle with an ultrasonic weapons cleaner because it won’t fit, even when stripped down. However, there are models available specifically for rifles. For example, the GunSonicTM mentioned above comes in two different sizes, both of which are designed for rifles and handguns.

Do you have more questions about using ultrasonics to clean firearms? Ultrasonic Power experts are ready to help. Contact us today to find out about the best solution for your ultrasonic cleaning needs.