What Is Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning
Industrial ultrasonic cleaning is a process that uses ultrasound (most commonly in wavelengths ranging from 20-40kHZ, in either single or dual frequencies depending on the specific application) to agitate a fluid field with or without detergent to clean solid materials [1, 2]. Early uses of ultrasonic cleaning were limited to small metal parts and jewelry, though contemporary innovations in the field have expanded its applications considerably. In industrial settings, ultrasonic cleaning is now most often used for fabricated metal parts, especially those used in complex machinery and mechanical assemblies exposed to chemical contaminants and debris. This is because ultrasonic cleaning, when applied in industrial settings and at an industrial scale, often proves more effective, faster, and safer for human workers, equipment, and the environment than other non-ultrasonic cleaning methods.
Advantages & Practicality Of Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaning is highly effective in the removal of surface contaminants, dirt and dust, oil and grease, chemical residues, calcium deposits, carbon deposits, rust, metal particles and miscellaneous debris, and more . Consequently, industrial ultrasonic cleaning presents cost and time savings and can reduce the ongoing equipment cleaning, repair, and replacement costs (and environmental impact costs) incurred by a company in many industries. This advantage of industrial ultrasonic cleaning becomes especially apparent as it reduces the frequency of mechanical breakdowns, which in turn reduces both sunk/material costs and the opportunity costs of taking machinery off-line for frequent non-ultrasonic cleaning and repairs. Additionally, ultrasonic cleaning for consumer products proves to be significantly value additive, empowering firms to generate a higher ROI for fabrication activities.
Industrial ultrasonic cleaning has been an increasingly popular cleaning method for metal parts since the 1960s . Yet new research into non-metal applications (including 3D-printed resin products, food products, sediment, and fabric) is poised to expand practical applications of ultrasonic cleaning in industrial settings.
Current Advantages Of Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning For Engine Parts & Other Mechanical Assemblies
Some of the most significant benefits of industrial ultrasonic cleaning over traditional cleaning methods used in industrial spaces are immediately apparent in the ways ultrasonic cleaning expedites, simplifies, and improves the outcomes of cleaning engine parts and other mechanical assemblies . Ultrasonic cleaning is effective in the simultaneous removal of carbon deposits, oil and grease residue, dirt, metal particles, and other debris. As a result, automotive, aerospace, and even energy industry experts note that few equipment innovations prove more helpful to both small- and large-scale mechanical operations than industrial ultrasonic cleaning . That is because efforts to clean oddly shaped, complex, or pre-constructed mechanical assemblies without ultrasonic cleaning equipment are often plagued by challenges that increase the time, labor, and risk of cleaning while decreasing the effectiveness.
Consequently, non-ultrasonic cleaning methods applied to these kinds of objects — while often essential to adhering to industry regulations, protecting equipment, and maximizing operational efficiency — have often been limited to the use of high-pressure hoses, expanding cleaning products and dangerous solvents, and manual labor. These methods prove wasteful (needing more water, time, and chemicals than industrial ultrasonic cleaning) and are often imperfect. Moreover, the most effective non-ultrasonic cleaning processes involve dismantling complex assemblies to access their composite parts (not necessary in ultrasonic cleaning). This costs companies additional time and skilled labor and increases the risk of parts damage, reassembly error, and inappropriate adjustment of fine-tuned machinery.
Current Advantages Of Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning For Fabricated Metal & 3D-Printed Resin Parts
Industrial ultrasonic cleaning has long proven advantageous for the cleaning of fabricated metal parts and equipment in a wide variety of industrial settings. The most common uses of ultrasonic cleaning in these applications include removing chemical buildup and debris from equipment involved in manufacturing as well as cleaning manufactured products prior to assembly or consumer purchase. Moreover, ultrasonic cleaning is especially effective in the post-manufacturing removal of debris from welded parts .
Additionally, industrial ultrasonic cleaning has multiple known advantages over traditional cleaning methods in industries requiring infection control, as in the fast and effective ultrasonic cleaning of laparoscopic and endoscopic surgical equipment in the healthcare industry . More recently, industries exploring the practicality of 3D printed resin parts and products have also found ultrasonic cleaning to be highly effective in the maintenance and post-manufacturing cleaning of resin products. This is despite the softer, more porous surface of resin parts and equipment, which presents significant obstacles to the effective use of traditional industrial cleaning methods .
Novel Uses Of Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning For Textiles
Currently, there is significant ongoing study into the advantages of industrial ultrasonic cleaning of textiles. Ultrasonic cleaning has the potential to clean fabrics more effectively while causing far less compounding damage to the structural integrity of fibers and depositing less chemical surfactant residue, even in delicate materials . This has proven to be especially useful in limited applications of ultrasonic cleaning methods to historical textiles .
The majority of the existing body of research into this specific application of ultrasonic cleaning technology has focused on small-scale and private-consumer uses of ultrasonic cleaning. Notably, these studies find that the softness and reticulated structure of textile fibers inhibit effective ultrasonic cleaning .
Nevertheless, some researchers suggest that the potential advantages of industrial ultrasonic cleaning of textiles are immense. This is because appropriate applications of industrial ultrasonic cleaning methods could reduce energy consumption, increase textile performance, and decrease ongoing textile laundering and repair/replacement costs to firms . Moreover, they find that the most significant barriers to effective commercial ultrasonic cleaning can be easily mitigated in industrial spaces by exposing fabric to the ultrasonic field in a flat format . Preliminary results suggest that this method of industrial ultrasonic cleaning of textiles is just as effective as anticipated, though further trial-based research is necessary to fully understand the advantages of industrial ultrasonic cleaning as applied to industrial fabrics.
Novel Uses Of Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning In Agriculture
The agriculture industry is one of the fastest-growing stages for innovative applications of industrial ultrasonic cleaning. Preliminary results of ongoing studies show that ultrasonic cleaning can be especially useful in the treatment of food products and contaminated soil, as well as in its more traditional application to complex machinery and mechanical assemblies. For example, research on the efficacy of using ultrasonic cleaning methods for removing pesticide residue from harvested strawberries proves that ultrasonic cleaning is just as effective as boiling and more effective than rinsing with either tap or ozone water . Moreover, industrial ultrasonic cleaning has been shown to be as much as ten times more effective than non-ultrasonic cleaning methods for removing soil contaminated with chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides, and heavy metals from sediments . While the scalability of these kinds of industrial ultrasonic cleaning applications needs further exploration, their potential for increasing the quality and safety of agricultural products cannot be overlooked.
The Importance Of Working With High-Quality Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning Service Providers
The advantages of industrial ultrasonic cleaning are achievable across a vast array of industries, ranging from the automotive and aerospace industries, to the manufacturing industry, to healthcare, agriculture, and bioscientific spaces. Yet those advantages are only achievable when working in partnership with highly qualified ultrasonic cleaning specialists. This is because inexperienced or otherwise unqualified ultrasonic cleaning service providers may not know the best settings for the use of their equipment in different industrial spaces.
Moreover, there is an increasingly pervasive issue of misrepresentation in industrial ultrasonic cleaning services and machinery, as it is difficult (if not impossible) for customers to distinguish between ultrasonic frequency (or frequencies) being used. This problem, referred to as fake variable frequency ultrasonic cleaning, can dramatically reduce the efficacy of ultrasonic cleaning services. The only way to avoid this problem is to work with credible industrial ultrasonic cleaning service providers, like Precision Fabrication & Cleaning. Our dedication to exceeding customer expectations means we are well known for our depth of experience, engineering expertise, ingenuity, and high-quality workmanship. Consequently, our customers can feel confident that the industrial ultrasonic cleaning services they receive from us are always high-quality, high-efficiency, and high-integrity.
Contact Precision Fabrication & Cleaning today to learn more about our industrial ultrasonic cleaning services and their most effective applications in your industry.