It can be the most irritating news of your day, or if the pressure’s really on, your week. A batch of components being readied for an urgent customer order need to be redone. Money and time just went down the drain, and might cause a slowdown throughout your plant as personnel who should be moving on to the next task are engaged in a costly do-over.
What if a single technology could help you avoid all this? Well, here’s great news: Ultrasonic cleaning slashes rework, increases efficiency and can allow you to deliver a better product for less.
Let’s take a look at the two main ways ultrasonic cleaning reduces rework:
Ultrasonic cleaning delivers a perfectly clean component
A common problem that leads to rework is contamination left on a part, preventing the next step in the process—especially coating applications—from being performed. You may be removing old grime from refurbished parts or removing cutting oil from newly machined components, but whatever impurity is in your way, it has to be nothing but a bad memory if you want paint, chrome or any other coating to go on and stay on.
If an employee is cleaning the parts by hand, it’s inevitable that they will miss some contamination. There’s plenty of potential for them to become distracted, overlook some dirt or oil, be unable to reach a contaminated recess or commit any number of other errors. Even your best people will miss things; they’re human. If you involve machinery, things may not get much better. If you use a parts cleaner, contamination might remain in a spot that wasn’t reached by the machine. In addition, the machine’s performance will (again) only be as good as the performance of the humans operating it. An error on their part can mean running parts through a second time.
How does ultrasonic cleaning remove this concern? Ultrasonic waves create millions of microscopic bubbles on the surface of solid objects in the liquid medium. In a process called “ultrasonic cavitation,” these bubbles are constantly forming and collapsing, creating high-impact scrubbing action on the surface of the part. This high-energy scrubbing removes all contaminants, even in places a human or a spray jet would find impossible to clean, giving you with a part that is pristine.
Ultrasonic cleaning reduces the risk of damage from human error to a minimum
Handling the component carries risk with it, and so does a hand cleaning process. Workers can drop, scratch, ding or otherwise mar the part, requiring it to be refinished or perhaps even scrapped. But ultrasonic cleaning only requires the part to be handled when it is placed in a basket and lowered into the cleaning tank. After that, ultrasonic cavitation does all the work.
With ultrasonic, you won’t need to soak parts before cleaning, which means you’ll remove two handling steps—putting the parts in to soak and removing them to clean them—that create more opportunities for damage. And with Ultrasonic Power Corporation’s new custom automation options, you can eliminate even more handling from your process. If a worker places a basket of items to be cleaned in the correct zone, a smart sensor will recognize it and an automated system will move the basket through a pre-programmed cycle. This can include multiple rinse and cleaning baths as you require. Then, when the cycle is finished, the system will place the basket in a retrieval area, allowing it to be moved to the next station.
Every time a part needs to be reworked, you lose time and money. But with a simple change to ultrasonic cleaning, you can scale back those costs and make your facility more efficient.