Category Archives: Time and Ultrasonic Cleaning

6 Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Labor Costs with Ultrasonic Cleaning

“Time is money” is a cliché, so allow us to share a different take on that old chestnut. Nothing is more expensive than the time of your workforce. The more you need your workers to do, the more expense gets grafted on the final cost of your product.

The good news is that ultrasonic cleaning technology can reduce the amount of labor used to make your product, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. In fact, one customer, Ushers Machine and Tool, cut costs and increased their production by 20%using one of our ultrasonic cleaners. There are so many ways ultrasonic cleaning can reduce your labor costs that we’ll have to take this in two doses. Let’s take a look at the first few things you can stop paying for if you replace other methods with an ultrasonic cleaner.

1. You won’t have to pay for scrubbing, brushing or other applications of elbow grease.

Ensuring a part is truly free of contaminants can take an enormous amount of time, especially if it has a complex shape. Each nook, cranny or groove has to be scoured somehow, with precise attention to detail. Handling scrubbing, spraying, inspecting, scrubbing again—it definitely adds up.

With ultrasonic cleaning, microscopic bubbles constantly form and collapse on every surface of the item being cleaned. As the bubbles collapse, the liquid slams into the dirt or other contaminants and scrubs it off the surface. No one will need to turn the part over and over looking for that one smear of cutting oil they may have missed; the bubbles from ultrasonic cavitation will form everywhere and remove everything that doesn’t belong. And depending on the cleaning application, the process often takes as little as five to seven minutes.

2 & 3. You won’t have to pay workers to break down parts or put them back together

There are spots in some components that can’t be reached by a scrub brush or sprayer, including spaces that are simply too small to work a tool into. But the bubbles formed by ultrasonic cavitation will form anywhere liquid reaches. Unless the sections you need to clean are watertight, the part can be left intact and simply submerged in the cleaning tank. Although for best results we do recommend disassembling as much as possible.

4 & 5. You won’t have to pay workers to undergo chemical safety training or don, handle or maintain safety gear.

Most cleaning methods in an industrial setting will require the use of strong solvents or other chemicals, but ultrasonic cleaning needs none of that. For most applications, the cleaning medium is simply water and mild detergent. Not only will your employees not need to protect themselves from harsh chemicals, they won’t have to spend time applying them during the cleaning process.

6. You won’t have to pay workers for the labor surrounding hazardous chemical disposal.

We’ll deal with the savings related to getting rid of noxious solvents in a future post, but while we’re focused on labor costs, consider this: You won’t have to pay for employees to handle the solvents, dispose of them or keep records related to them. And that’s all before any savings from the disposal fees themselves.

The water in the tank can be used through multiple cleanings, and when it’s time to dispose of it, it can be treated just like dishwater, depending on the cleaning application and your local municipality requirements.

7 Ways Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning Improves Efficiency

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.

Chemistry for a Successful Ultrasonic Cleaning

Now that we have covered “Time” and “Temperature”, we continue our venture through the seven major concerns related to a successful ultrasonic cleaning. Next up we will explore the essential variable: Chemistry.

Since UPC serves a broad range of industries including aerospace, automotive, firearms, medical, food/beverage and music, we provide a line of incredibly versatile detergents and degreasers designed for optimal use within the specific range of temperatures and chemistry. Whether you are cleaning anything from car engines to surgical instruments, our specialized cleaners are formulated to get the job done! You can check out our powerful line of cleaning solutions and choose the formula that is right for you here.

In ultrasonic cleaning, chemistry or detergent serves two purposes. The first purpose is to promote the formation of cavitation. The detergent should contain a surfactant. The surfactant lowers the surface tension of the liquid which lowers the cavitation threshold allowing cavitation bubbles to form more freely. Pure water has a relatively high surface tension making cavitation more difficult to reach. Adding a surfactant dramatically enhances the cavitation activity. This is easily verified by an experiment adding a small amount of dishwashing liquid to plain water in an ultrasonic tank and watching it “come alive”. One must be careful when choosing a detergent, not to use one designed for spray parts washers as they tend to contain de-foaming agents. De-foaming agents have the opposite effect and will significantly reduce the cavitation activity.

The second purpose of the detergent is to promote the removal of the contaminant by either breaking it down or helping separate it from the substrate. It is helpful to keep in mind that just like washing dishes by hand, the detergent serves to remove the contaminant from the dish, and will over time by simply soaking, but adding a scrubbing action (brush or rag) reduces the cleaning time. Ultrasonics is the scrubbing action in an industrial application.

With aqueous cleaning the general rule of thumb is to use an alkaline detergent for removing machining oils, lubricants, carbon, coolants, fat and buffing compounds. Specific formulas are designed for peak performance. A phosphoric based detergent is commonly used for removing rust, calcium, minerals, lime and oxidation.

Every detergent that UPC supplies has specific instructions as to mixture rate and temperature range. It is important to follow these in order to save cost and maximize performance.

Need assistance regarding your specific application? E-mail or call one of our experts today! We also do on site parts testing to help determine the best ultrasonic cleaning process for you!

Immersible Transducers…A Cost Effective Alternative

Ultrasonic Power Corporation’s Immersible Transducers provide you with an option to add ultrasonic advantage to your existing cleaning application. These transducers are designed for installation in existing or new tanks to enhance the speed and effectiveness of washing, rinsing and other processes. Single or multi-module installations can be custom designed for tanks from a few gallons to several thousand gallons capacity. These transducers can be installed on the bottom surface or the sides of the tank as needed. Immersible Ultrasonic Transducers can be used for all cleaning applications – both aqueous and semi-aqueous. The energy generated from the ultrasonics is helpful when cleaning porous surfaces, intricate configurations, and in the removal of difficult contaminants such as buffing compound.

Some of the features include:

  • Independent water proof modules provide thorough yet gentle cleaning power
  • TIG welded and pressure tested for long life
  • Reliable, efficient operation compatible with a wide range of cleaning chemicals
  • Chemical-resistant 316L stainless steel radiating surface
  • Four standard sizes in stock for fast delivery
  • Custom sizes available for nearly any size tank configuration
  • Available in 25kHz, 40kHz, 68kHz, 132kHz, and 170kHz
  • Choice of mounting options
  • Free customer support in systems design

The “Simultaneous Multi-Frequency®” from UPC meets the frequency requirements, which ensures a uniform and thorough cleaning. This feature makes the equipment the most versatile in the market. The “Vibra-Bar®” transducer module and the generator module combine to provide equipment that has maximum reliability and simplified field maintenance.

Ultrasonic Power Corporation facilities provide one source for all phases of industrial ultrasonic equipment. All the products are designed and developed by UPC engineers and are manufactured by UPC personnel, which is backed by the UPC’s industry leading 10yr/2yr Warranty.

7 Basic Concerns with Ultrasonic Cleaning; Part 2: Temperature

If you read our most recent blog post, you learned that there are several considerations to take into account when it comes to successful ultrasonic cleaning.

In addition to the equipment itself, one must consider the specific application, and the fact that performance and treatment varies based on the product being cleaned.  Even more specifically, it depends on seven basic—but important—variables.

The last blog delved into the variable of time, and how cleaning time varies depending on the part being cleaned. Now in order to help you further understand the various components responsible for good ultrasonic cleaning, let’s explore the next variable: temperature.

Ultrasonic ThermometerWe’ve all heard the expression “you’re in hot water” meaning “you’re in trouble” but not when it comes to Ultrasonic Cleaning!  Typically, ultrasonic cleaning in an aqueous solution is optimum at 140°F. However, just as the ideal cleaning time can vary, so too can the temperature. For instance, some high pH solutions will require higher temperatures in order to enhance the synergistic effect of the chemistry. For this reason, temperature and chemistry are closely related—and we will take a more in-depth look at chemistry in the next blog.

While you can look forward to reading about the remaining five variables in future posts, and learning how they all come together to create the best ultrasonic cleaning, we encourage you to get in touch with us anytime with questions regarding your specific application. Please feel free contact us and send in samples so we can determine the best plan for your needs.

7 Basic Concerns with Ultrasonic Cleaning; Part 1: Time

In our previous blog we talked about our “Vibra-bar®” transducer module, which allows for an unmatched level of performance in ultrasonic cleaning. Our equipment is just one aspect to consider for successful cleaning. It is also important to consider what goes into the tank, and the product itself that is being cleaned. The same application–meaning the same process and chemistries involved– can have different effects for different people and products.

In short, there are many variables to consider. We like to break them down into seven basic concerns related to successful ultrasonic cleaning:

  • Time
  • Temperature
  • Chemistry
  • Proximity to the transducer/part fixture design
  • Ultrasonic output frequency
  • Watts per gallon
  • Loading – the volume (configuration) of the part being cleaned

Each of these aspects plays an important role. Here, we’d like to focus on the first of the seven variables to consider: time. The fact is, there is no one typical cleaning time; cleaning times vary greatly. One must consider how dirty the part is, and how clean it must be.

We normally start with a trial period, typically between two and 10 minutes, as very few parts are actually clean within just a few seconds. The time involved varies according to the specifics of the parts and cannot be looked at as universal. But this is what makes ultrasonic cleaning so effective—it involves many factors and variables, and is tailored to each unique need. Some parts may require multiple ultrasonic cleaning stages or even agitation to reach the desired level of cleaning. Our YouTube channel features a wide range of examples.

In the few minutes it took to read this article you could have had a successful ultrasonic cleaning if you were using Ultrasonic Power Corporation products. If you have questions about your particular application, please feel free to get in contact with us and send in samples so we can determine the right course of action for you.

In future posts, we will explore the six remaining variables to successful ultrasonic cleaning. The goal of our blogs is to develop an understanding of the various components that ensure good ultrasonic cleaning.

 

Vibra-bar® Technology: Taking our Ultrasonic Cleaning to the Next Level

At Ultrasonic Power Corporation, our highly engineered and reliable technology provides the solution to meet the various needs of our customers. One important part of our ultrasonic cleaning technology is our own Vibra-bar® transducer module, which enables us to take our ultrasonic cleaning to the next level. With two-point vibration, low “Q” broadband interference, and the ability to create multiple frequency levels in multiple planes, the Vibra-bar® transducer module provides an unmatched level of performance in ultrasonic cleaning.

The Vibra-bar® transducer module consists of a radiating bar that is permanently bonded to the inside of the ultrasonic cleaning tank. The radiating bar measures 2” by 5 ¼” and features a high temperature permanent bonding. Additionally, each bar has two integrated piezo-electric (PZT) stacks that are bolted together between the radiating bar and the “backing plate.” The PZT elements are formulated to provide low dissipation, high density, and low porosity, the characteristics needed for high performance cleaning.

The complete design of the Vibra-bar® transducer module allows for a rugged construction that will provide long and efficient operation. The PZT element is stabilized during the manufacturing process at 400° F and the curie temperature is above 620° F. All parts and mating surfaces are engineered to allow clamping through a single stainless bolt and are adhesive-free. Therefore, the Vibra-bar® transducer module is free to vibrate and distort in many different places for efficient use.Vibra-bar® transducer module

With its unique construction and design, the the Vibra-bar® transducer module allows for our systems to thoroughly operate and clean in any given application, ensuring our customers consistently receive the highest level of performance. Visit our Technical Information page to learn more. At Ultrasonic Power Corporation, our technology is your solution!