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Ultrasonic Cleaner Power Designations

A number of posts on this blog deal with features that should be considered when purchasing an ultrasonic cleaner. Here we present points relating to ultrasonic cleaner power designations.

At the outset power should not be confused with ultrasonic frequency, which is presented in kilohertz (kHz), the vibration frequency of transducers that produce sonication in the cleaning solution. The relationship is that the equipments’ generators power these transducers.

So, what is Ultrasonic Cleaner Power?

There’s not a simple answer to this because power can be presented in more than one way. For the purpose of this post power is defined in watts per gallon of cleaning solution that the generators deliver to the transducers. Most tabletop ultrasonic cleaners deliver 50 to 100 average watts per gallon. We italicize average because some manufacturers may specify power as peak power generated at the peak of the vibration amplitude.This can be 2, 4 or 8 times average power, depending on the equipment. Other manufacturers may use the term effective power and total power, also different with the latter designating the power to run all cleaner functions including heaters.

One power point is that when comparing brands be sure you are comparing apples to apples.

Other Ultrasonic Power Points:

Cleaning in Large Tanks

Scaling up to an industrial size ultrasonic cleaner lowers the watts per gallon requirement. This is because cavitation energy is absorbed not only by parts being cleaned but also by tank walls. As tank volume increases the cavitation dampening of tank walls decreases because sound waves travel longer before reaching the walls.

To cite an example a 5 gallon benchtop tank might operate efficiently at 50 watts per gallon or 250 watts cleaning power. On the other hand an 80 gallon tank works best at 25 watts per gallon or 2000 watts.In other words power does not increase linearly with volume.

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More Power ? Better Cleaning

Not always, that is. Too much power may damage delicate parts such as PCBs and highly finished softer metals. If you are cleaning a variety of different materials there are some equipment options available to help when you need to vary the power delivered to the transducers. Cleaners equipped with a pulse mode, such as the Elmasonic PH-EL series available in 6 solution capacities have a user activated pulse mode that delivers extra bursts of power to remove stubborn contaminants. The series also has adjustable power from 30 to 100% and the additional advantage of dual frequency 37 or 80 kHz cavitation.

Don’t “Game” the System

Ultrasonic cleaners are designed to operate with full tanks of cleaning solution. It’s not a good idea to increase the effective power of your equipment by under filling the tank. This could result in damaging the generator.

For additional information on ultrasonic power or help in selecting the correct equipment contact our experts at 973-440-2191.

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