How Ultrasonic Cleaning Can Help Speed Up Aircraft Maintenance

Aerospace Ultrasonic CleaningIn aviation, there’s no substitute for a fast turnaround. Aircraft don’t make money sitting on the ground, so anything that gets them back in the air quickly has a direct impact on the bottom line. And since every level of aviation maintenance involves cleaning tasks, faster cleaning means faster maintenance.

Ultrasonic cleaning can save significant amounts of time in any technical setting, and aviation is no exception.

Just faster cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaning has a much shorter run time than other methods, especially those which depend on hand cleaning or soaking.

Soaking can reduce the time your workers spend on hand cleaning as well as help preserve solvents or other media used later in the process. But in most cases, soaking is not necessary or even helpful when using ultrasonics. The ultrasonic cleaner uses sound waves to form and collapse millions of microscopic bubbles, which scrub contaminants from the surface. There’s no need to soften up dirt before the cleaning begins.

Since those bubbles reach everywhere liquid can reach and remove contaminants from the surface completely, disassembling parts prior to cleaning process is seldom necessary, and much less common than with hand or spray cleaning.

With no soaking and no disassembly, you save time before the cleaning begins, but the cleaning process itself is usually much shorter. A typical cycle cleans multiple parts in five to seven minutes, less time than it would take to thoroughly hand clean a single part in most cases.

Reduced rework or replacement
Because ultrasonic cleaning reaches all of every submerged surface, there won’t be cases where a worker misses a spot or a spray washer fails to achieve 100% coverage. That means parts won’t need to be recleaned, and contaminants won’t interfere with later steps requiring inspection or recoating.

In the case of moving from hand scrubbing to ultrasonic cleaning, the amount of handling the part undergoes is dramatically reduced. As a result, the chances a component will be damaged by simple human error are decreased proportionally. Reducing this risk will reduce the total time spent on maintenance.

The little things
Putting on a face shield is probably not the most time-consuming task your team takes on. But the gentle nature of the chemicals in ultrasonic cleaning baths can help you gain time back in a number of ways.

While hand cleaning and spray washing often rely on harsh chemicals to move grime off surfaces, ultrasonic cleaners need only water and a mild detergent. That eliminates the need for protective gear, safety training, compliance with associated regulations and the time spent on specialized disposal.

Even small time savings add up over time, and your employees will have greater comfort and safety.

Automation and advanced control
Our cleaners employ the Sonic Touch® II control system, which will increase efficiency in a number of ways. Each features a countdown timer system, not a new technology for sure, but a definite time and money saver as it will shut the cleaner down and alert staff when the cleaning process is complete. It also has a seven day schedule feature for the unit’s heating system, pump and filtration system and oil skimmer. This means that you can schedule activation of these subsystems so that the unit will be ready “just-in-time.”

There are also custom automation options which allow you to change your cleaning setup so that workers are engaged in other tasks instead of moving parts or monitoring a cleaning process.

Our custom automation options allow workers to simply place baskets in a zone monitored by sensors, with an automated carry system moving it through the remainder of the process. This offers significant time savings in setups where a part may enter multiple baths and rinses. Instead of a worker moving the parts and monitoring the amount of time they spend in each bath, the system will do the work. This is a further opportunity to remove human error from the process, since it’s impossible for the system to forget to come to work with the parts or be distracted and leave them in longer than is necessary.

Shorter run times and prep times. No do-overs on cleaning, and no waiting to replace a damaged part. Easier and safer use with milder chemicals, saving time on multiple tasks. Automated processes that save time for your workforce and free them for other tasks. All these benefits can be delivered by ultrasonic cleaning. With this technology, you can keep ‘em flying, and do it faster.

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