Despite the title of this post, we won’t pretend choosing to adopt ultrasonic cleaning technology is a quick, easy decision, nor is it always easy to choose what company to purchase your cleaners from. Even the best systems may be less effective in some applications than others.
But the heart of any ultrasonic cleaner is the transducer, the source of the waves that cleanse everything from hard drive components to engine blocks. When you’re mulling over an ultrasonic cleaner purchase, the transducer technology can be as important a consideration as the type of processor in a new a laptop, or whether your family vehicle has all-wheel drive.
So, the one choice that will ensure your ultrasonic cleaning is the best it can be is to choose a piezoelectric ceramic transducer that uses Simultaneous Multi-Frequency® (SMF) technology, specifically our own Vibra-bar® transducer.
Piezoelectric ceramic transducers has been clearly established as the preeminent transducer type. They’re used in more than 90% of ultrasonic cleaning equipment produced today, and are used almost exclusively in sonar transducers used by the military. Our Vibra-bar® transducers use this technology.
What is Simultaneous Multi-Frequency®, you ask? Instead of only producing waves at 40kHz, SMF® units also produce waves above and below that frequency at the same time. This makes the cleaner more effective and more reliable over the long term.
Let’s cover three benefits you’ll receive from a 40 kHz Vibra-bar® Simultaneous Multi-Frequency® system:
Improved cleaning performance
Ultrasonic cleaning occurs through cavitation. The sound waves produce bubbles on the surface of the item being cleaned, then collapse those bubbles. These implosions create jets of liquid heated to approximately 5,000 degrees, which scrub contaminants off the object. The 40kHz frequency is the “sweet spot” for ultrasonic cleaning, the optimal compromise between the ability to penetrate below the surface of contaminants (and into small crevices and recesses on the item being cleaned) and the ability to deliver a powerful scrubbing action.
In fact, 40kHz can be used in 95% of ultrasonic cleaning applications and, as we’ll see, adding Simultaneous Multi-Frequency® makes the sweet spot even sweeter.
Minimized standing wave pattern
Ultrasonic waves will bounce off the underside of the surface of the liquid medium and off other surfaces in the cleaning tank. If a single frequency is used, the waves always travel approximately the same course and land in approximately the same area. This results in alternate layers of good and poor cleaning throughout the depth of the tank. With Simultaneous Multi-Frequency®, the variation in wavelengths eliminates this problem, improving your cleaning performance even more and preventing the need to reposition or even re-clean parts.
Greater reliability with longer-lasting diaphragms
Transducer diaphragms erode over time from the ultrasonic energy being transmitted. This erosion steadily reduces the amount of energy going into the tank. This not only reduces your cleaning performance, if it’s not addressed, it eventually destroys the transducer diaphragm, rendering the transducer useless and taking your cleaner out of service.
The rate of diaphragm erosion can be as much as three times greater for single frequency ultrasonic cleaning versus 40 kHz Simultaneous Multi-Frequency®, meaning your transducer will be in service and effective for a much longer time.
In the next few blog posts, we’ll explore each of these three items further, as well as looking at other benefits.