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Ultrasonic Cleaners in Truck Service Bays

Operators of commercial truck service bays like to pride themselves on fast turnarounds – getting customers’ trucks back on the road and earning money. The time required for major repairs such as engine and transmission overhauls can be significantly shortened when industrial ultrasonic cleaners are used to remove built-up grease, carbon deposits and other contaminants that cause wear and tear, reducing trucks’ service life and performance efficiency.

In the past cleaning disassembled engines, transmissions and similar equipment was usually accomplished in wash tanks as mechanics directed solvent sprays over the parts and worked the contaminants loose using brushes. The main drawback in addition to environmental issues with solvent disposal was an inability to get into tight spaces and dislodge contaminants. Sonic energy in a biodegradable ultrasonic cleaning bath accesses all cracks, crevices, blind holes and other surfaces impossible to reach with sprays and brushes. Dirty parts are thoroughly cleaned in minutes while mechanics can turn their attention to other tasks.

How Ultrasonic Cleaners Work

Ultrasonic cleaners consist of the solution tanks, generators, tank mounted ultrasonic transducers and a control panel. The generators excite transducers to ultrasonic frequencies such as 25 kHz; these in turn create billions of microscopic bubbles in the bath that implode violently on contact with parts being cleaned. While the implosions are violent they are fast and hence do not damage surfaces being cleaned.

Industrial ultrasonic cleaners are available in a variety of sizes and solution capacities. The key is selecting a unit large enough to accommodate parts being cleaned. As examples, the Elma X-tra basic series is available in six models with solution capacities from 6 to 57 gallons. These cleaners can be switched between 25 kHz for heavy duty cleaning or 45 kHz for cleaning less soiled parts.

Other features useful for truck service bays include a pulse function to degas and mix fresh solutions and to deliver bursts of high ultrasonic energy to remove stubborn contaminants, a permanent sweep function that assures even distribution of sonic energy throughout the bath, and a heater and timer to set recommended cleaning parameters. All functions are managed by an intuitive control panel. Roller mounted for mobility, X-tra basic ultrasonic cleaners have a handy side drain allowing units to be positioned close to walls and out of the way.

Using the Truck Service Bay Ultrasonic Cleaner

Most ultrasonic cleaners follow similar operating procedures. In the case of the X-tra basic models we suggest filling the tank half way with water then adding the correct amount of ultrasonic cleaning solution concentrate for the full tank. We recommend mildly alkaline and demulsifying elma tec clean A4 formulated especially for engine parts, gears, bearings, carburetors, and fuel injectors. It is diluted to 1 to 5% with water and used at 50? to 80?C. If rusting is a concern ask us about the elma-KS additive for temporary corrosion protection.

Continue adding water to the tank fill line then activate the ultrasound and pulse mode to mix and degas the solution. This should take about 10 minutes but depends on the volume of the tank.  After degassing you may need to drain and set aside a portion of the solution to allow for displacement when parts are being cleaned.

When the unit is ready place disassembled parts in the parts basket (available as an option) suspended over the bath. Tip: remove gross contaminants first to help preserve the life of the cleaning solution.

Lower the basket into the solution, replace set aside solution as needed, and cover the tank with the optional lid to help reduce evaporation and noise.

Set the temperature and timer. The unit will start when the set temperature is reached; set and actual time and temperature are displayed.

Check cleaning progress. Activate the pulse mode if needed. Skim off and set aside residues that float to the surface. Tip: Do not reach into an operating bath, it is hot!

At the end of the cycle raise the basket to allow parts to drain.  Inspect and repeat the cycle if necessary. Otherwise allow them to flash dry and they are ready for reassembly.

With experience you’ll establish a routine. When cleaning time extends it is time to replace the solution. Drain the tank and dispose of the solution and skimmed residues according to local regulations. Clean the tank as recommended in the user manual and you are ready to prepare and degas a new bath.

Questions? Contact the iUltrasonic cleaning pros at 973-440-2191 for help in selecting equipment and cleaning solution concentrates to speed throughput in your truck service bays.


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