If you’re wondering what can you clean with an ultrasonic cleaner, the answer might surprise you – long story short, just about everything. This popular method of cleaning can be used at home, for passionate coin collectors for example, or in industries ranging from medical facilities to weapons manufacturing and automotive workshops.
Why is ultrasonic cleaning so widely spread?
This cleaning method’s popularity makes perfect sense considering items have to only meet two requirements in order to be scrubbed with ultrasonic cleaners.
Firstly, the object must not be damaged by immersion because the basic process of ultrasonic cleaning, cavitation, only occurs in a liquid environment. Secondly, the item has to dry fairly easy, which means only things that absorb fluid are not suitable for ultrasonic cleaning.
The idea of immersing electronic equipment in water or any other kind of liquid might seem counterintuitive, but providing proper drying techniques are used, it is actually very safe. Moreover, ultrasonic cleaning is much more efficient in terms of thoroughness and duration than any other method out there.
Previously, trichloroethylene was used to clean electronics, but the ultrasonic method is more convenient, requiring only water and some mild water-soluble detergent.
Glass, ceramics and other delicate items
We have all watched those sci-fi movies where high-frequency sound waves are used to shatter windows, flower vases and basically anything that’s made of glass. Yet, in real life, ultrasonic cleaning is the best method to scrub items like glass beaker sets, high precision lenses or cannulae.
Using ultrasound on glass or other fragile objects is not only perfectly safe, but it can save money in the long run because this cleaning system is so gentle and it requires so little handling, that there is a very low risk of damaging or scratching these delicate things.
Medical equipment and implants
As previously stated, ultrasonic cleaning is excellent for scrubbing all sort of glass and plasticware, including lab equipment, medical instruments, and implants. This kind of equipment has always to be spotlessly clean, and there is no other method that can clean like the one using high-frequency sound waves.
However, it should be noted that ultrasonic units do not sterilize, so viruses and spores have to be eliminated using specific methods. On the other hand, there is so little handling when it comes to this type of washing, that the risk of contamination is very low.
Along with medical facilities, the aerospace industry is another field of technology where quality expectations are enormous. Whether we are talking about the manufacturing process or simple maintenance, everything has to be perfect and mistakes are not allowed. Luckily, ultrasonic cleaning is up for the challenge.
These systems excel in eliminating contaminants quickly and thoroughly, whether it’s about removing grime from a hydraulic part or cleaning oil off some newly machine components or simply making some stainless steel part shiny and spotless.
Large industrial items
Ultrasonic cleaners come in a wide variety of sizes, from tabletop units designed to clean items like coins or jewelry, to large systems created for industrial use. When it comes to industrial molds and engine parts, the most important thing to consider is the sound wave frequency of the ultrasonic device.
These large industrial items are often contaminated with difficult to remove residues and, if that’s the case, then it is the right moment to bring in “the big guns” – large ultrasonic cleaners that eliminate even the most resistant grime. The best units for such a task are those that function at a frequency just above the human hearing range (which is 18 kHz).
Other tools, machined parts, and equipment
If an object has been machined, lapped or polished there will be residue like cutting oil, dust, chips or polishing compounds on it. Ultrasonic cleaners remove all that quickly and gently. As long as the object is immersed, it gets cleaned and this way there is no chance of ruining the next step of the manufacturing process of the part like painting or applying some other needed coating.
Similarly, equipment like piping from an oil refinery or carbide cutting tools is rendered spotless with the help of an ultrasonic cleaning unit. Moreover, using ultrasounds saves time and money considering ultrasonic cleaners are fast and do a more thorough job than any other method available.