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Ultrasonic Parts Cleaner - 6 Tips on Cleaning the Parts

Investing in an ultrasonic parts cleaner and cleaning solutions to clean your parts puts you on the right path toward achieving fast, efficient and thorough parts cleaning. That’s because sonic parts cleaning is proven to be the most effective means of removing contaminants from any part that can be safely immersed in a biodegradable cleaning bath. Here we provide 6 tips on equipment selection and why positioning the parts must be done correctly.

Tip No. 1: Selecting Your Ultrasonic Parts Cleaner

Without a doubt there are scores of ultrasonic parts cleaners on the market. When you are ready to make a decision on purchasing a unit there are a number of considerations you should keep in mind. Rather than go into detail on this post we suggest you visit our post on How to Select and Use your Ultrasonic Cleaner.

As noted in that post the number and size of parts you'll be cleaning, as well as the degree of contamination to be removed, serves as a guide to the type of unit you'll need. If your requirements are minimal we suggest considering the Elmasonic E+ series available in cleaning solution capacities from .25 to 7.5 gallons.

Should your parts be heavily contaminated and require long-term cycles a suggestion is the Elmasonic TI-H series with capacities from 1 to 5 gallons.

Elma TI-H units feature heavy-duty stainless steel cleaning solution tanks that can operate continuously up to 8 hours a day, with dual frequencies of either 25/45 kHz or 35/130 kHz plus offering variable ultrasonic power. These important features enable you tailor the operation to your ultrasonic parts cleaning requirements.

If your parts cleaning operations are large scale, take a look at the floor mounted Elmasonic XT series with cleaning solution capacities from 8 to 67 gallons, operating up to 8 hours a day at 25 or 45 kHz.

Please peruse our other offerings to make your ultrasonic parts cleaner selection and feel free to call our experts for suggestions.

Ultrasonic Parts Cleaner Tip No. 2

Parts Positioning

Dumping parts in the ultrasonic parts cleaning basket and immersing them in the cleaning bath will not only lead to unsatisfactory results, it may also result in damaging the parts. Here’s why:

Ultrasonic energy – that is cavitation induced by generator-powered transducers on the bottom of the cleaning tank – moves up through the solution to the surface, where it is reflected back down.

In doing so minute bubbles contact and implode upon surfaces being cleaned and carry away contaminants.

For maximum parts cleaning efficiency you should position parts to allow maximum exposure to sonication. Ideally they should be positioned in a single layer. Otherwise parts above the bottom layer will experience diminished sonic cleaning action.

In other words, do not overload the basket. If you are cleaning several parts and this proves impractical periodically remove the basket from the solution, reposition the parts then re-immerse them.

Note: Never reach into an operating bath. It may be hot, and cavitation energy can penetrate your skin to act on body fluids.

Ultrasonic Parts Cleaner Tip No. 3

Complex Shapes

Parts with machined holes should be placed so the holes are vertical or diagonal in the bath. This allows contaminants to fall out as they are blasted away by sonic action.

Blind holes can trap air prohibiting cleaning solution entry. If parts contain blind holes they must be positioned and repositioned as necessary to remove trapped air before cleaning. Follow the same precautions noted in Tip No. 2 regarding repositioning.

Ultrasonic Parts Cleaner Tip No. 4

Avoid Potential Surface Damage

Sonic vibration in a cleaning basket will cause parts to vibrate against each other and against wire mesh cleaning baskets. This vibration can damage highly finished or machined surfaces. (This is another reason to avoid overloading baskets.)

If finishes are highly critical ask us about a silicon nap mat or polycarbonate plate that fits on the bottom of the basket.

For more suggestions on parts positioning please check our post on cleaning tubing and blind holes.

Ultrasonic Parts Cleaner Tip No. 5

Selecting your Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution

As with ultrasonic cleaners on the market there are also a variety of cleaning solution chemistries available for cleaning parts.

A widely used cleaning solution formulation is elma tec clean A4 used on engine parts, metals, glass and ceramics to remove oil, grease, combustion residues and other contaminants. Biodegradable, it is diluted to 2 to 5% with water, making it extremely economical for an ultrasonic parts cleaner.

For information on this product and other options for your ultrasonic parts cleaner please check our list of ultrasonic cleaning chemicals.

Another resource is our post on how to select an ultrasonic cleaning solution.

Ultrasonic Parts Cleaner Tip No. 6

Maintaining your Parts Cleaning Solution

The above link note that contaminants removed during the cleaning process remain in the cleaning solution and eventually reduce performance.

While performance can be extended by the means suggested in that post, eventually the solution must be changed. Drain and dispose of it along with skimmed off contaminants according to local regulations. At this time take the time to clean the tank following the user manual. Then fill and degas fresh solution to continue your cleaning operations.

For Unbiased Information

Contact our ultrasonic cleaning experts to discuss equipment, processes and cleaning solution formulations to meet your requirements.


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