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3 Cost-Saving Benefits of Ultrasonic Cleaners vs. Spray Washers 

There's no denying the right parts cleaning 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 process you use provides an opportunity to realize those kinds of savings. Using an ultrasonic cleaning machine instead of a spray washer can save money through increased efficiency, lowered costs, a better product, and safer employees. 

We explore these benefits in more detail below. 

Ultrasonic Cleaners vs. Spray Washers

An Ultrasonic Cleaner Save on Chemicals 

Cleaning setups vary greatly, 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. Harsh cleaning materials bring safety concerns and therefore greater training costs. In addition, you’ll need to deal with disposal costs or the added investment in a purification system. 

If environmental concerns are at the top of your priority list, you might need to find detergents that do the job while having a low environmental impact. So-called “green” solutions are often more expensive and less effective for a given application. 

In both cases, you may find that maximum effectiveness requires meeting an exact mix ratio and temperature range, with precise conditions being difficult to achieve. So, is there a better alternative? 

Enter industrial ultrasonic cleaners, which are fitted with an ultrasonic transducer that produces sound waves at ultrasonic frequency. When ultrasonic waves pass through the cleaning fluid, they form and then compress miniscule bubbles of gas, a process known as cavitation. As these cavitation bubbles constantly form and implode throughout the ultrasonic bath, 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, ultrasonic cleaning ends up being more gentle and more thorough than any other method. 

Take Cagnazzi Racing, for example. The team attributed massive engine damage to tiny impurities on their components, so 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,” explains Joe Hornick, Cagnazzi's Director of Engine Development. “Now we can do that better, cheaper, and in an environmentally friendly way.” 

An ultrasonic cleaning solution typically contains detergent. However, it's extremely mild in comparison to those used in spray cleaners and is simply there to grab the dirt particles dislodged by the cavitation process. This translates to lower expenses 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 deal with excess PPE and other safety equipment. 

They Save on Labor Too 

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 reaches every spot on every surface, you won't risk having oils or other contaminants remain on parts that are being coated. 

Finally, you have the option to automate part or all of the process. UPC offers 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 rinsing, cleaning, and drying tanks, as needed. 

Don’t Forget Maintenance Costs 

Spray parts washers can be a maintenance nightmare, with an abundance of moving parts and potential problems. Many issues stem from leaks, of particular concern when toxic substances are involved. 

Ultrasonic cleaning machines, on the other hand, have no moving parts except for a filtration pump. This saves on parts replacement costs and frees up your maintenance crew to concentrate on other tasks. Ultimately, getting rid of harsh solvents enables you to use your workers' time more effectively and cut down on unnecessary maintenance. 

Wrapping Up 

An ultrasonic cleaning system may seem like a large investment initially, but it pays off quickly. The combination of increased safety and decreased labor and maintenance costs more than make up for the price tag, not to mention the added bonus of better precision cleaning results. 

Be sure that when selecting the ideal ultrasonic cleaner, you opt for a durable unit constructed from high-grade stainless steel. While there are inferior options on the market, these could lead to higher maintenance and replacement costs in the long run. 

Need help deciding if an ultrasonic cleaning machine is the right option for you? Contact us today! 


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