Have you washed one item or two within the past few days? If yes, it means you might agree with me that washing and cleaning is an everyday activity. Whether at home, in the office, or at work, people will always have one or two things to clean. However, washing and cleaning is not always an easy task because germs, dirt, and other contaminants are sometimes difficult to wipe off an object. Fortunately, there is a machine called an ultrasonic cleaning machine that provides an effective solution to meeting your cleaning needs.
The ultrasonic cleaning technology is used for components such as medical devices, electronics, foods, and other components that require an extremely high degree of cleanliness. In this write-up, I am going to show you the top 10 things to know about ultrasonic cleaning machine. Ride along!
What Is Ultrasonic?
Ultrasonic is a specialty science that includes a spectrum of sound frequencies that are not audible to the human hearing. The frequency ranges from almost 20,000 to 100,000 cycles per second. The lower and higher frequencies have a different effect and are at certain times used for special applications. The use of ultrasonic started after World War 1, but transducers were weak, so ultrasonic cleaning was not really used. However, in the 1960s things started to take a turn as better transducers were available for more efficient and stronger ultrasonic cleaners. Today, modern technology has spawned the invention of a more reliable and the effective ultrasonic cleaning machine.
What Is an Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine?
An ultrasonic cleaner is a device that cleans items by using ultrasound and water or an appropriate cleaning solvent. Also, it can be said to be a machine that offers the complete and rapid removal of dirt, germs, and other contaminants from items which are put in a tank of water that is agitated with sounds waves having a high frequency. Every ultrasonic cleaner is not constructed to be equal. There are some with bigger sizes while you can also get a portable ultrasound machine. They all serve the same purpose which is cleaning, but they sometimes meet different, specific needs.
Top Things to Know About Ultrasonic Cleaners
The Materials that make up an ultrasonic cleaning machine
The cleaner is mostly constructed with aluminum or stainless steel for great durability and lifetime use. They are built to vary in size with each tank having the ability to accommodate different gallons of solvent. Also, the ultrasonic cleaner comes with piezoceramic transducers that are always located at the side or bottom. Timers and temperature controllers are included in some models of ultrasonic cleaning machines.
Additionally, they are built to have on and off switches, and some of the cleaning machines offer automatic shut off. Some cleaners come as waterproof which prevents fluid from running into the machine. Furthermore, there are portable ultrasound machines that come with drainer which helps to drain the solution after cleaning.
Also, the cleaner uses electrical energy to power the transducers, and the power is often determined by the gallon of cleaning solution the tank can accommodate. Most ultrasonic cleaners run at an average power of 50 watts to 100 watts per gallon. Additionally, some cleaners feature operating modes such as sweep modes that give a slight fluctuation in the frequency and a pulse mode that boosts ultrasonic power. Also, there are some that come with a rack or basket to prevent scratch or etch.
Before I leave this section, I want you to know that the size of the tank and basket is considered important when choosing an ultrasonic machine. The size of the object you want to wash and clean determines how big or small the tank and basket should be. Ensure you go for the ones that will allow your objects to immerse in the solvent fully.
The Cleaning Mechanism
Once the power cable of an ultrasonic cleaning machine is plugged into a power source and the machine is switched on the transducer start changing size almost instantly. It then converts the electrical energy to the ultrasonic energy. Due to the excitement, the transducer increases in size, create high-frequency compression sound waves and results in rapid formation and collapse of cavitation bubbles.
As the compression waves continue, the cavitation bubbles will grow smaller and larger, and when they reach a certain size and couldn’t retain their shape, the bubbles stir through the liquid turning it apart. These bubbles are what impacts against the objects in the tank causing dust, dirt, germs, oil, pigments, and other contaminants sticking to the items come out. The same thing occurs when you put a portable ultrasound machine inside a sink or bowl of water.
The frequency of ultrasonic is measured in thousands of cycle per seconds, and it is one of the determinants of the cavitation bubble size. High frequencies produce small bubbles that offer gentle cleaning actions. On the other hand, low frequency produces comparatively large bubbles that collapse inward in a very sudden and violent way. You can hardly distinguish between the sizes of the bubbles visually.
It means if you want to remove dirt and other contaminants from strong and durable items you need an ultrasonic cleaning machine with lower frequency. But if you want to wash and clean delicate and softer objects like your jewelry and food items you need an ultrasonic cleaner with higher frequencies. They are also the perfect cleaner for items with tight areas. But Frequency of 40 kHz is generally good for most applications. Whether you want to go big or needs a portable ultrasound machine, consider an ultrasound cleaner with dual-frequency if you will be cleaning a variety of objects.
I have said it earlier that most ultrasonic cleaning machine operates at 50 watts – 100 watts per gallon. The increase in the power of a cleaner causes an increase in the number of bubbles produced during the cavitation process. As power increases the cleaning action of the machine becomes faster. However, it has a limit. Once you exceed the power limit, you risk damaging the items you are cleaning and also wasting energy.
It is good to know that power is described in different ways when talking about ultrasonic cleaning. There is the ultrasonic power which has been discussed above. Also, we have the total power that drives the entire unit and the peak power which is the ultrasonic power generated at the sound wave peak.
Difference In Ultrasonic Cleaners
Ultrasonic cleaning machines come in different categories. They are:
Industrial heavy duty type – This category comes with heavier compound transducers and hard-bitten generators that generate high wattage per transducers. Their tanks are constructed with heavy-duty welded stainless steel, and the generator is separated from the tank. These types of ultrasonic cleaners are basically used for production cleaning and are very efficacious.
Small lab size tabletop cleaners – They also have heavy transducers but not like the industrial heavy duty type. The generators are better and are efficient in cleaning lab glass and small objects. Also, the generators are integrated into the same case as the tank. Even though they can be used for a long time, they should not be used for production cleaning because they are not rated for 24/7 operation.
Small toy-like systems – They can be called a portable ultrasound machine. Sonic Soak is a good example of this category of ultrasonic cleaner. They are light duty cleaning machine that features simple generators and small transducers. This category is used for washing and cleaning jewelry, baby toys, clothes, and food items such as veggies, fruits, meats, and much more.
This is probably the factor that is mostly ignored; however, it is one of the important factors you have to consider when using an ultrasonic cleaning machine. Consider the characteristics of the fluid you want to use. Don’t just buy a cleaning solution and pour it inside the ultrasonic cleaning machine without taking a closer look. Generally, most of the cleaners are water-based. But you can use other cleaning solutions for a faster cleaning process.
Make sure you go for a solution with not too high and not too low surface tension. Ensure the solution can knock off dirt and hold it in solution. Also, make sure the fluid is safe to use. It should not be too alkaline or acidic but something fairly near neutral. Additionally, any cleaning solution you want to use should mix well with water and should also degas quickly. Degassing takes three to four seconds in portable ultrasound machines and other bigger ones.
If you are going to use the ultrasonic cleaner for food items it is advisable you make use of water. However, if it will be used to clean iron or other materials that can rust, ensure the cleaning solution has a rust inhibitor that prevents rusting on objects after cleaning. Alternatively, you can save yourself the stress of searching for the perfect cleaning solution to use by asking the manufacturer of the cleaning machine.
Typically, the cleaning time of portable ultrasound machine and other ultrasonic cleaners varies greatly. It depends on how dirty an object or part is. Not all items can get clean sufficiently within a few seconds. The normal trial period can be between 2 – 10 minutes. To thoroughly and completely remove contaminants, you may need to perform an ultrasonic cleaning more than once. There are machines with lower cycle time while there are some with longer cycle time which is suitable for people who needs a machine that requires minimal supervision.
Ultrasonic Cleaning Procedure
To ensure effective cleaning, it may require that you follow some good cleaning procedures. There are some steps you can follow but whether or not to skip a certain step depends on the nature of the items and how dirty or contaminated they are. Generally, ultrasonic cleaning procedures are:
Pre-rinsing – this step is followed in a situation where there are a great number of contaminants to remove. Lukewarm water is used to remove a large amount of debris and contaminants from items.
Put the items in the ultrasonic tank – this is the step that no item can skip. After pre-rinsing your objects, put them inside the tank. This should be done in an orderly manner. You can make use of the basket instead of putting the items inside the tank directly. For portable ultrasound machines such as Sonic Soak, with no tanks, you can put your items in the sink and get it cleaned.
Post ultrasonic cleaning – you can skip this step if you use the right fluid.
Items Ultrasonic Cleaning Machines Can Clean
The application of ultrasonic cleaners is vast. It can be used to wash and clean food items, baby toys, jewelry, surgical instruments, household tools, brittle materials, and massive engine parts. Additionally, there is some portable ultrasound machine that helps in washing and cleaning clothes. They can be used instead of laundry machines as they are found effective by some users.
Maintenance Of Ultrasonic Cleaners
Nowadays, most of the ultrasonic cleaning machines come with one to two years warranty which can be voided if users do not meet certain conditions. Here is some maintenance that can help you use the ultrasonic cleaner for a lifetime.
Do not operate it when the solution is too low. It can damage the transducer
Do not slope the solution to prevent it from running into the device
Do not allow the instrument to touch the bottom of the tank it can scratch or etch the machine
Don’t use solutions with high alkaline or acid
Ensure the ultrasonic cleaning machine does not sit on a wet surface or damp towel or clothes.
Ensuring the proper maintenance of the cleaning machine can help you get the best performance possible.
Closing Words about Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine
Whether you want a portable ultrasound machine or industrial heavy duty machines, you will find different models available on the market. The top 10 things to know about ultrasonic cleaning machine has provided you with reliable information that I believe should help you make the perfect choice when picking the best ultrasonic cleaner to meet your cleaning needs.