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Advances in Ultrasonic Technology for the Electronics Industry

If you regularly clean electronic parts, an ultrasonic electronics cleaner is the best tool for the job. The common concern is that ultrasonic cleaners will destroy delicate components. However, advances in ultrasonic technology have eased this concern by replacing the single frequency wavelength approach—known to harm electronic parts—with a variable frequency approach, called “sweeping.” This advance in ultrasonic technology has not only led to reduced production costs, but has proven to enhance reliability, thus reducing warranty costs as well.

Ultrasonic PCB Cleaners

In the area of electronics, every circuit board, PCB, and electrical assembly is reliant on precision craftsmanship, with no room for imperfection. In the past, the ultrasonic cleaning of electrical components was not viable. Certain electronic components immersed in an ultrasonic bath would be damaged by the harmonic vibrations set up by the single-frequency ultrasonic wave. In Sweep Mode, the frequency is continuously varied slightly, eliminating the potentially damaging standing wave. Additionally, Sweep technology offers more uniform cleaning of parts by eliminating “dead zones” where no cavitation occurs in the bath. Cavitation is the formation and energy-releasing implosion of tiny vacuum-filled bubbles generated by the ultrasonic waves.

This “sweeping” technology has revolutionized the cleaning process in the electronics industry. For circuit boards, an ultrasonic circuit board cleaner helps to improve SIR test results, reduces rework, and increases reliability.

Ultrasonic PCB cleaning thoroughly removes solder paste and flux residues from post-reflowed circuit assemblies.When electronic parts are immersed in an ultrasonic cleaner, cleaning occurs wherever the liquid makes contact with the parts. Since the liquid reaches into small crevices and cavities that are impossible to clean manually, ultrasonic cleaning electrical assemblies and electronic components is an ideal approach. It’s important to note that as the ultrasonic frequency increases, the size of the cavitation bubbles decreases. Consequently, higher ultrasonic frequency can penetrate smaller openings and remove tinier particles. As the size of the cavitation bubbles decreases, the energy of implosion decreases, producing gentler cleaning. This can be advantageous for cleaning very delicate surfaces, such as sensitive electronic parts. Removal of heavy contamination from durable parts is best accomplished a lower ultrasonic frequencies. Some ultrasonic cleaners offer the operator control over the intensity of the cleaning process with user-selected ultrasonic frequency and power.

The electronics industry currently takes advantage of several advances in ultrasonic technology such as Sweep Mode, multi-frequency operation, and variable power. Ultrasonic cleaning of electronic components has become more efficient while improving product reliability, resulting in reduced warranty and replacement costs. Ultimately, the end result is lower cost for the manufacturer, technical service provider, and consumer.


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