6 Things to Know about Ultrasonic Cleaning

I revisit an ultrasonic cleaning article to explain six main ideas that jumped out at me as points for shops to remember when selecting ultrasonic equipment.

ultrasonic cleaning basket above its tank

Effective ultrasonic cleaning is dependent on a number of factors, including basket size and tank demensions.

Ultrasonic cleaning is the process of removing contaminants using sonic energy produced by industrial ultrasonic cleaners. In the article, “A Refresher Course on Ultrasonic Cleaning,” Bob Sandor, Ph.D., director, Novatech LLC, gives suggestions about how to select the correct ultrasonic cleaner. While rereading this article, six main ideas jumped out at me as points for shops to remember when selecting ultrasonic equipment.

  1. Know how ultrasonic machines work. It’s helpful to know this before committing to investing in one of these machines. It’s always a good idea to become knowledgeable about every aspect of a machine you are interested in potentially purchasing.
  2. Ultrasonic cleaner frequency should be selected based on what is being cleaned. Frequencies of 37 and 45 kHz are common and are ideal for most cleaning tasks. Low frequencies such as 25 kHz produce (relatively) large cavitation bubbles that implode more violently against surfaces than smaller bubbles produced at higher frequencies.
  3. Tank and basket size matters. Cleaning solutions have working depth that is the distance from the inside bottom surface of the basket to the surface of the liquid in a filled tank. Parts being cleaned must be fully immersed in the liquid. Working depth data are available on equipment spec sheets or can be obtained from the equipment manufacturer.
  4. Operating modes provide different advantages for different applications. High power, low power, fast, slow are some characteristics of these modes. Find one that is best for your shop’s processes.
  5. Cleaning solution chemistries, usually provided as concentrates, fall into one of three categories: alkaline, acidic and neutral, and often rust inhibitors are added, since solutions are mostly water-based.
  6. Flammable solvents may be required for cleaning products that must have a total absence of residues. In such cases, explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners that comply with OSHA standards and NEC and NFPA guidelines can be used.

For further explanations of these six, read the entire article here.