Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying an Ultrasonic Cleaner

top-5-things-to-consider-when-buying-an-ultrasonic-cleaner Industrial ultrasonic cleaners have become the preferred choice for many manufacturing and research facilities. They provide a more effective solution for a lot of cleaning applications and they clean more quickly than traditional cleaning methods that involve hard manual scrubbing and the use of caustic cleaning chemicals.

The key to buying the right ultrasonic cleaner is looking at the right characteristics and features:

1) Ultrasonic cleaner frequency
The ideal frequency of an ultrasonic cleaner determines the level and size of cavitation bubbles which produce the cleaning action in the cleaning solution. Low frequencies result in bigger bubbles which are ideal for robust cleaning of parts with hard surfaces. Higher frequencies produce smaller bubbles that are ideal for gentle cleaning of soft and delicate parts.

2) Ultrasonic cleaning tank size
The ultrasonic tank contains the cleaning solution where you immerse the parts to be cleaned. The cleaning system tank size is important in relation to the size of the parts to be cleaned. These parts must fit adequately into the tank.

If many different parts must be cleaned, a basket may be needed. Baskets keep the small parts clear of the tank bottom and sides because the vibrations against the tank walls during cleaning may damage the parts.

3) Ultrasonic cleaner power
Power is also an important factor when choosing an ultrasonic cleaner. Turnkey systems automatically have the right power levels for the ultrasonic system, however, if the ultrasonic generator, transducer, and cleaning tanks are purchased separately, adequate power needs to be generated based on the size of the tank. The ultrasonic power rating, as well as the configuration of transducers, can affect cleaning performance.

4) Cleaning with mild soaps and detergents
Industrial ultrasonic cleaners usually clean with deionized (DI) water alone, however, mild soaps and detergents may be required to remove more stubborn contaminants and to facilitate cleaning. For contaminants that are harder to clean, a solvent specific to the contaminant will often speed up cleaning and improve cleaning performance.

5) Using heat to improve cleaning performance
Sometimes the application of heat is used in ultrasonic cleaning to soften and remove heavy contamination to speed up cleaning. If heating is to be used, the tank and the transducer must be able to operate in temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius. The tank must be fitted with the heater and the parts to be cleaned should also be able to withstand the high temperatures. Depending upon the contaminants to be cleaned, the cleaning process may take more time.

For more details read the complete article “Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying an Ultrasonic Cleaner”. For a free consultation or quote contact Kaijo at 408–675–5575 or email to info@kaijo-shibuya.com.

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Can Ultrasonic Cleaners Clean Aluminum Parts?

Ultrasonic cleaners are quite versatile. They can clean hard, rugged parts such as those made from brass or steel – even when they are heavily contaminated. Low frequencies are ideal in cleaning such parts quickly and thoroughly, but how about parts made of aluminum? Can industrial ultrasonic cleaners also be used to clean them as well?

Getting rapid and effective cleaning of aluminum parts is, in fact, more difficult. Since aluminum is a softer metal, cleaning aluminum parts requires more care and attention to prevent damage. At the same time, aluminum reacts with both acidic and base cleaners, so a neutral cleaning solution is required for an ultrasonic cleaning bath.

In general, parts with heavy contamination are cleaned with lower frequencies (between 19.5 kHz and 26 kHz) because the cleaning action of the cavitation bubbles is more intense. The cavitation bubbles also appear larger and produce high-energy blast when they collapse at sound wave peaks. This formation and collapse of bubbles generate robust cleaning action, which is effective for cleaning hard parts such as brass or steel parts.

For cleaning more fragile parts or parts with softer surfaces, a higher frequency (38 kHz and higher) must be used. The high frequency produces smaller and less energetic cavitation bubbles that will not damage aluminum parts.

If the cleaning application regularly cleans a variety of parts, including steel and aluminum parts, an ultrasonic cleaning system that can produce two or more cleaning frequencies should be used. That way, steel, and similar hard and rugged parts can be cleaned quickly at low frequencies. For aluminum parts, higher frequencies are used that produce smaller (low energy) cavitation bubbles that typically result in prolonged cleaning times.

Ultrasonic generators need to produce one or more frequencies or a range of frequencies that is right for aluminum parts.  There are other measures that can be applied for faster ultrasonic cleaning at all frequencies, but especially at high frequencies. These include using heat and/or adding cleaning agents.

Depending on the type of the contaminant to be removed, cleaning agents are usually acidic or base. Since aluminum is highly reactive to both acids and bases, neither of these cleaning agents is used in an ultrasonic bath.

Based on these restrictions, the best option for cleaning aluminum parts is to use an industrial ultrasonic cleaner at a high frequency in a heated bath with a neutral cleaning agent. The heat softens the contaminants while the neutral cleaning dissolves them. The high frequency produces small, low-energy bubbles that will clean even the most intricate aluminum parts without damaging them. This combination will produce the best cleaning results.

Read the recently published complete article “Can Ultrasonic Cleaners Clean Aluminum Parts?” to learn more. Contact Kaijo for a free consultation at 408-675-5575 or email info@kaijo-shibuya.com to discuss your ultrasonic cleaning requirements.

How Ultrasonic Transducers Work and Are Used in Industrial Cleaning Applications

How-Ultrasonic-Transducers-Work-and-are-Used-in-Industrial-Cleaning-ApplicationsThe role of a transducer in an ultrasonic cleaning system is converting the electric high-frequency signal (produced by the ultrasonic generator) into physical sound waves in the cleaning solution. Ultrasonic cleaning transducers can work at different frequencies and produce enough power to fill the cleaning tank with ultrasonic waves.

Ultrasonic cleaning transducers consist of a thick metal plate and active parts that vibrate when an electric signal is applied. When the ultrasonic waves pass from the transducer’s metal plate through the cleaning solution, the wave troughs create low-pressure regions that generate cavitation bubbles. The bubbles form in the wave troughs and collapse in the ensuing wave peaks, releasing jets of energy. The collapse of the bubbles dislodges the dirt and contamination from the surface of the parts being cleaned.

In this way, the transducer turns the electric signal from the generator into physical scrubbing and cleaning action.

There are two types of transducers according to materials:

  • Piezoelectric transducer – Historically, they were constructed from delicate materials and thus had a relatively short useful lifespan when used in ultrasonic cleaning applications. The active parts consist of piezoelectric material that changes shape in tune with the vibration of the electric signal. However, recent advancements in piezoelectric materials have contributed to the re-emergence of the piezoelectric transducer. The newer materials are more rugged and can resist even the highest megahertz frequencies.
  • Magnetostrictive transducer – These consist of metal plates and coils of wire that are not easily damaged. The metal plates vibrate in tune with the high-frequency magnetic field created by the electric signal. The use of higher frequencies require shorter plates, however there is a limit on reducing the size of the plates. As a result, magnetostrictive transducers can only be used for the lower frequencies.

There are different types of transducers can be used:

  • Immersible transducer – an independent unit with a sealed case and waterproof cable attached. As the name implies, it is usually immersed in the cleaning solution and can be placed into an ultrasonic tank to produce the required ultrasonic sound waves.
  • Bolt-on transducer – the most appropriate for new installations with a new cleaning solution tank. It can be bolted onto the sides or the bottom of the cleaning tank.
  • Permanently mounted transducer – used with turnkey ultrasonic cleaning systems that are ready to operate as a self-sufficient system.

The complete article titled “How Ultrasonic Transducers Work and Are Used in Industrial Cleaning Applications” provides more details on this topic. For a free consultation or quote contact Kaijo at 408-675-5575 or email to info@kaijo-shibuay.com.

Important Questions Customers Ask about Ultrasonic Cleaners (Part Two)

Do you have questions about using ultrasonic cleaners for your industrial cleaning application? Here are some more of the important questions customers often ask about using Kaijo Shibuya’s industrial ultrasonic cleaners and our answers.

1) “Do I need to use a heater?”
It depends on your specific cleaning application. Ultrasonic cleaning systems do not normally use or require a heater but it can speed up the cleaning process.

2) “What does Sweep Mode do?”
As the ultrasonic waves spread through the cleaning tank, the parts to be cleaned interfere with the ultrasonic waves, creating spots where the waves become stronger and other areas where the waves become weaker. This can cause uneven cleaning. To avoid this, the sweep mode is used to automatically vary the ultrasonic frequency slightly, which causes the weak spots to move around. The result is a more even cleaning.

3) “Is the use of auto-tuning important?”
Yes, with auto-tuning the generator monitors and adjusts the power that is conducted to the transducer array. This allows the system to maintain the ideal calibration as the conditions change in the process tank during operation. This means any changes to temperature, water level, or chemical changes will not affect the power level in the cleaning tank.

4) “What ultrasonic frequency should I use?”
Low frequencies result in larger cavitation bubbles that deliver an intense cleaning action – you should use this type of frequency when you clean robust parts such as metal parts. High frequencies, on the other hand, result in comparatively smaller cavitation bubbles that deliver a less energetic cleaning action. You should use the lowest frequency that will not damage delicate the parts that are being cleaned.

Our recent article has additional information for each of the questions above, as well as eight others. You can read them by going to the complete article “Important Questions Customers Ask About Using Ultrasonic Cleaners.” If you have questions not included in the list, or if you would like to set up a free consultation, call us at 408-675-5575 or send an email to info@kaijo-shibuya.com.

Important Questions Customers Ask about Ultrasonic Cleaners (Part One)

The following are some of the key questions that customers asked about selecting and using industrial ultrasonic cleaners, especially when they use them for their specific applications.

1) “When should I use an ultrasonic cleaner?”

You should use an ultrasonic when you want a quick, thorough and more efficient cleaning action without the use of harsh cleaning chemicals or mechanical scrubbing. It is important to choose the right power, frequency, type of transducer and the size of the unit to arrive at an ideal and desirable cleaning result. It also takes the right type of ultrasonic cleaning system to do it.

2) “How do ultrasonic cleaners work?”

The ultrasonic generator produces a high-frequency electric signal which is converted to ultrasonic waves in the cleaning solution by the transducer. The cavitation bubbles form in the ultrasonic waves. When the bubble collapse, they deliver a powerful scrubbing and cleaning action that dislodges dirt from the surfaces of the parts that are being cleaned.

3) “How do I select the right equipment?”

The best way for you to select the right industrial ultrasonic cleaning system is to discuss your requirements with your manufacturer/supplier. They should have extensive experience and be willing to offer advice on how to achieve your cleaning goals. Can existing tanks be re-used? Do you clean one kind of part or multiple parts? Do you need additional measures like heat or mild cleaning solvent? There are many factors that can influence your decision in choosing the best solution for you.

4) “How do I specify equipment size?”

Parts to be cleaned must be immersed within a cleaning solution in a cleaning tank large enough to hold the parts. Oddly shaped parts may require the use of a custom tank size depending on the size and shape of the part.  But if you clean mostly small parts or delicate parts that can easily break, you will need a parts basket to support them and to prevent them from touching the bottom and sides of the tank as the vibration might cause breakage. If you clean with many different types of parts of various sizes, the tank needs to accommodate the largest part.

See more answers to questions often asked by reading our complete article “Important Questions Customers Ask About Using Ultrasonic Cleaners.” If you have questions not included, or would like to set up a free consultation, call 408-675-5575 or send an email to info@kaijo-shibuya.com.

Using Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners to Clean Disk Drives

Disk drives and components that include aluminium disk platter blanks and metal read/write heads are usually manufactured in standard industrial facilities. The processes used in their fabrication includes machining, stamping, punching, polishing, and molding using industrial chemicals for cooling, lubrication and as abrasives.

Before they are sent to special facilities for assembly, the hard drive components arriving from the industrial manufacturer must be cleaned thoroughly. Traces of industrial chemicals, contaminants added during shipment and particles adhering to platter surfaces must be removed completely. The components of hard disk drives must be especially clean, since the heads float very close over the platter surface and excessive contamination will not allow them to gather and store data.

High performance industrial ultrasonic cleaners can perform these types of cleaning tasks quickly and effectively. An industrial ultrasonic cleaning system produces microscopic cavitation bubbles in the solution of a cleaning tank. The bubbles form and collapse in time with the ultrasonic frequency. When a bubble collapses by the surface of a hard disk component, it produces a scrubbing action that removes dirt and contaminants. The bubbles form wherever the cleaning solution can penetrate, even around crevices, tinier holes and irregular shapes of disk read/write head.

To achieve optimum cleanliness, hard disk drive manufacturers usually use several frequencies to clean various components to remove specific contaminants. Deionized water is the preferred cleaning solution since cleaning agents leave traces that then have to be removed as well. For components that have surface lubricants, a mild detergent and/or heating the cleaning solution may make complete removal easier.

Kaijo offers free consulting to help customers choose the right industrial ultrasonic cleaners that will meet their requirements. Read the complete article “Using Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners to Clean Disk Drives” to learn more. If you would like a free consultation or have questions, contact Kaijo at 408-675-5575 or email info@kaiijo-shibuya.com.

Why Are Higher Ultrasonic Cleaning Frequencies Required?

Choosing the right high frequency ultrasonic cleaner is the key to successfully cleaning parts that have a delicate physical structure. However, if the ultrasonic cleaning system frequency is set too high, cleaning could take longer and become less effective. If the frequency is set too low, it could damage the more delicate parts. Ultrasonic cleaning systems are extremely versatile and effective in most cleaning applications, but only if the operating frequency matches the tasks to be performed.

Ultrasonic cleaning systems generate a high-frequency electric signal that is converted into sound waves by an ultrasonic transducer. The transducer is submerged in the cleaning tank filled with water and generates sound waves in the liquid. Microscopic cavitation bubbles appear wherever the cleaning solution can penetrate. They form in the low-pressure troughs and collapse in high-pressure peaks.

This collapse of the bubbles is responsible for the cleaning action of an ultrasonic cleaning system. The bubbles can clean inside hollow tubes, in the thread of bolt holes, inside dead-end holes, and in cracks.

Low frequency — have longer cycle times and the wave troughs are wider resulting in bigger bubbles. Typical candidates for low-frequency cleaning include automotive parts such as cylinder valves and carburetors.

High frequency — have smaller bubbles because there is less time for them to grow in the comparatively narrow troughs. Using a high frequency ultrasonic cleaner is required for cleaning delicate parts such as medical instruments, semiconductor components, and computer parts. The selection of the ultrasonic frequency has to balance between the need for reduced cleaning power due to the fragility of the parts and the type of contamination that is being removed.

Kaijo has a full product line of industrial ultrasonic cleaning equipment and has extensive experience in the field of ultrasonic cleaning. For more information read the complete article “Why Are Higher Ultrasonic Cleaning Frequencies Required?”. If you have questions or would like to set up a free consultation to discuss your industrial cleaning requirements, contact Kaijo Shibuya at 408–675–5575 or email info@kaijo-shibuya.com.