If you’re considering using ultrasonic cleaning to make your facility more efficient, you need to know if this technology can even do the job you have in mind. So you may be asking, what can an ultrasonic cleaner clean?
The short answer is “just about anything,” but you probably want a bit more detail than that. To answer the question, we’ll need to talk about the items you can clean with ultrasonics and about the substances you can clean off them.
Items—The stuff we can clean
The number of items that can benefit from ultrasonic cleaning is vast. The reason? There are just two basic “eligibility requirements” before something can be cleaned in this manner.
The cavitation that powers ultrasonic cleaning and scrubs contaminants off parts will only occur in a liquid environment. Ergo, the item must be one that won’t be damaged by immersion. Some of the things on that list might surprise you. For instance, most of us would react with horror at the idea of combining electronics and water, but as long as proper drying techniques are used, an ultrasonic cleaner will not only clean electronic devices, but clean them more quickly and completely than any other method.
The second requirement is that the part can be dried relatively easily. This eliminates items that are absorbent, but most others can simply be air dried with a blower.
For this reason, ultrasonic cleaning is used to remove unwanted materials from everything from jewelry to long rifles, from super-delicate lenses to massive engine parts, from surgical instruments to motherboards.
You may be wondering if ultrasonic waves will damage relatively brittle materials, such as glass or ceramics. Ultrasonic cleaning is perfectly safe for these materials.
Enemies—the grime we can eliminate
In general, as long as a contaminant can be removed from the surface it’s on, it can be removed with an ultrasonic cleaner. Contaminants that might require time-consuming applications of elbow grease can be lifted free in a few minutes. That’s why, to cite one application, disaster restoration firms will use ultrasonic cleaning to remove soot from smoke-damaged items.
For an example of the dramatic results users can see, watch this short video of filth being blasted off the surface of a copper part.
Ultrasonic cleaning will remove anything from common dirt and engine sludge to the sort of oily chemicals that can prevent paints and other coatings from adhering to finished products. This includes lubricants, grease, buffing and polishing compounds, cutting oils, etc.
One of the few things ultrasonic cleaning won’t remove is spores and viruses. If you’re cleaning medical instruments, they will need sterilization after other contaminants are removed in your ultrasonic cleaner.
How to be sure
In the cases where there’s doubt about whether ultrasonic cleaning is the right fit, we offer free testing. You can arrange to submit a typical item from your facility and our staff will test clean it, providing you with detailed results.
In short, our customers have blasted grime off everything from golf clubs to oil refinery equipment, from Venetian blinds to nuclear waste cleaning robots. But if you’d like more information on how some of our customers used these highly reliable machines in an industrial environment to reduce costs and deliver a cleaner product, click here to learn about Ushers Machine and Tool or here to download Ultrasonics to the Rescue, a case study of the results seen by Componex.