Do you know that cleaning plays a vital role in keeping us healthy and productive?
One truth we can’t run away from is that washing and cleaning is not an easy task for everyone, especially when it comes to wiping off germs and other contaminants from an object.
But what if there is a cleaning tool that can do the cleaning job for you while you sit, relax, and watch? An ultrasonic cleaning machine can be the right cleaning tool you need to ease the stress of cleaning in your home and office. Here is why:
Read on to know more about the ultrasonic cleaning machine!
You might be also interested in: What solution should I use with my ultrasonic cleaning machine?
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- What is ultrasonic?
- What is an ultrasonic cleaning machine?
- Top things to know about ultrasonic cleaners
- Closing words about ultrasonic cleaning machine
What Is Ultrasonic?
Ultrasonic is a 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 sometimes 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 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 that are put in a tank of water that is agitated with sound 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
1. The Materials that make up an ultrasonic cleaning machine
Aluminium or stainless steel – most of the cleaners are constructed with either of the materials, and this makes the ultrasonic cleaning machines durable and lasts a lifetime.
Tank – many of the cleaners come with a tank. Each tank varies in size and accommodates different gallons of solvent. There are some without tanks. You will need a bowl or sink to use them. Sonic Soak is a perfect example.
Piezoceramic transducers - they are always found at the bottom or side of the tank
Timers and temperature controllers – this feature is not found in all models
On and off switch – found in all models. Some models offer automatic shut off
Drainer – not all ultrasonic machines have this feature, but for the ones that have, the drainer helps to drain solution after cleaning
Electrical energy – it powers the transducers. Most ultrasonic cleaners run at an average power of 50 watts to 100 watts per gallon.
Rack or basket – helps to prevent scratches or etch while cleaning your item
- Operating modes – some ultrasonic cleaning machines has sweep modes that give a slight fluctuation in the frequency and a pulse mode that boosts ultrasonic power.
Take note that the tank and basket size should be considered when buying an ultrasonic machine. Choose the size based on the objects you want to wash and clean.
2. 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 starts changing size almost instantly. It then converts the electrical energy to ultrasonic energy.
Due to the excitement, the transducer increases in size, creates 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 larger, and when they reach a certain size and can’t retain their shape any longer, 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 that might have stuck to the items to come off. The same thing occurs when you put a portable ultrasound machine inside a sink or bowl of water.
3. The Frequency
The frequency of ultrasonic waves is measured in thousands of cycles per second, 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 you need a portable ultrasound machine, consider an ultrasound cleaner with dual-frequency if you will be cleaning a variety of objects.
4. Its Ultrasonic Power
I have said it earlier that most ultrasonic cleaning machines operate 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 it pertains to 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.
5. Differences 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 heavy-duty industrial 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 cleaners. 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.
6. Cleaning Solutions
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 that does not have an excessively high or 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 ultrasonic cleaning solution to use by asking the manufacturer of the cleaning machine.
7. The Cleaning Time
Typically, the cleaning time of portable ultrasound machines 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 need a machine that requires minimal supervision.
8. 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 skipping s certain step or not 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.
9. All the 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 exists some portable ultrasound machine that helps in washing and cleaning clothes. They can be used in place of laundry machines, as they are found effective by some users.
10. How to Maintain and 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 are some maintenance tips 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 a high alkaline or acid level
- 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 a heavy-duty industrial machine, 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.