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Ultrasonic Cleaning Frequently Asked Questions

This squeal is actually “standing waves”. It usually means the liquid is trapped with air bubbles and the water detergent has not “degassed”. Increasing the temperature or changing the liquid level or adding additional detergent all contribute to the liquid “degassing”. Typical degassing time is approximately 10 minutes with detergent in the tank, ultrasonics at full power, and the pump off (if equipped). The squeal does not damage the machine it is just annoying.

The intensity control is controlling the power output of the generator, much like a volume control on a radio. It provides full control from 0-100%. Normally, the setting can be kept at 100%. For delicate parts, like thin aluminum, the intensity is reduced to around 50-80%.

I think you are talking about what we call the “double boiler” method in ultrasonic cleaning. If you take a container and float it on the surface of an ultrasonic tank, the ultrasonic energy will propagate into the container. One important consideration, however, is that rubber and most plastics will absorb sound so you will loose a significant amount of your sonics if you use rubber or plastic containers. The best material to use is stainless steel (like you find at salad bars) or glass (canning jars or pyrex work well).

That is a good question. The answer may sound simple but it is pretty straightforward. You should use the solution as long as it is meeting your cleaning specs. Just because it turns dark and looks nasty doesn’t mean that it is exhausted. If you keep notes of how many parts you clean before you start noticing a drop in performance, you can establish a baseline. A more precise method can be used for certain detergents. Brulin 815GD can be tested with a titration kit to tell you the exact condition of the mixture. It is a lot like using a pH testing kit. Brulin has the testing criteria in their specs. This is normally not recommended for small tanks as it is just as easy to drain and replace the small volume of liquid.

The recirculation valve needs to be in the ‘on’ position for filtering to occur. If filtering is required during a cleaning cycle, it should be set to the lowest flow rate possible so as not to hinder the ultrasonics. In between cleaning cycles or at the end of a shift, the flow rate should be set to maximum.

Settling of the "contaminant" is not necessary within the cleaning liquid column before running the pump and filter. However, to assure optimum ultrasonic cleaning, today’s best practice is to always operate the pump and filter between ultrasonic cleaning cycles. All of our tanks are sloped to help move contaminants to the drain where the filter is connected. In some cases, if the contaminant is allowed to settle to the bottom forming a sludge layer it becomes difficult to remove. In a case like this, it is helpful to run the sonics for a short period to help redistribute the contaminant allowing it to be filtered easier.

It is perfectly fine to leave the heater on constantly to maintain temperature. If you are not going to use the system for an extended period, it might be wise to turn it off to save energy costs.

It primarily depends on the liquid volume of the tank as well as depends on the parts load, geometry, detergent, and other factors. We normally strive for an ultrasonic power density or Watt density/gallon WPG). Most industrial tanks under 100 gallons will have a watt density between 35 and 80 WPG. The goal is to reach a level required to allow cavitation and maintain that level with the load inserted into the cleaning solution.

The best location is typically on the bottom of the tank as that is where the best acoustic coupling will occur. Side-mounted transducers are fine however for applications where bottom mount is not possible. Added power is usually done to compensate for efficiency differences.

12 or 14 gauge is normally used. We recommend 316L stainless steel.

For economic reasons first and performance, tank size should be just enough to fit the part-load in. The extra volume will mean more power required to reach cavitation and be more costly than perhaps needed.

Yes, ultrasonic cleaners really do facilitate the cleaning process. Surfactants in ultrasonic soaps work by lowering the surface tension of the bath liquid. This is similar to the way in which household cleaners remove contaminants. Ultrasonic cleaners have another advantage in that the reduced surface tension of the liquid increases the force of the ultrasonic waves, providing a more powerful clean.

Some items are not suitable for ultrasonic cleaning, such as some very delicate parts or components that are held together with certain adhesives. Absorbent materials that cannot easily be dried are generally unsuitable for ultrasonic cleaning.

You also need to be careful which type of cleaning solution you use. For example, some metals can be damaged by acidic solutions. It is important to only use cleaners approved for use in an ultrasonic tank. Combustible liquids such as alcohol are not suitable for use in an ultrasonic cleaner.

You can clean a surprising number of items in an ultrasonic cleaner. This process is particularly useful for automotive parts, pharmaceutical equipment, firearms components, musical instruments, orthopedics and implants, surgical instruments, manufacturing and fabrication equipment, aerospace and defense parts, electronic components, and jewelry. Really, most objects that can handle immersion in a suitable liquid and can be dried relatively easily can be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.

An ultrasonic cleaner works by producing high-frequency sound waves that effectively remove contaminants from the surface of submerged objects. A transducer fitted to the tank of the cleaner produces ultrasonic waves. These result in the formation of tiny bubbles in the cleaning liquid that expand and collapse. This process, known as cavitation, causes the release of tiny high-temperature liquid jets. These are strong enough to remove dirt and other particles from the surface of objects submerged in the cleaning fluid.