A complete ultrasonic cleaning system consists of more than just the ultrasonic cleaner itself. Integrated ultrasonic cleaning systems are commonly found in businesses and commercial facilities that rely heavily on parts washing, whether it be at the start of the process to clean the parts for repair or remanufacture, or in the middle of the process to clean manufactured parts before they are sent on to other processes such as finishing or assembly. Having an integrated ultrasonic cleaning system in a facility allows for a smaller footprint for the machine, opening up the factory floor for other equipment and working space, provides a single point of electrical connection for all stages of the process, and makes the unit mobile so it can be moved around the facility as needed.
Complete ultrasonic cleaning stations are typically arranged as three- or four-stage systems. In a three-stage unit, the ultrasonic cleaner, rinsing station, and drying station modules are built into a single housing so parts can be quickly moved from cleaning process to cleaning process. The four-stage unit also adds a pre-wash module ahead of the ultrasonic cleaner in facilities where removing any loose scale, grease, oil, or dirt is helpful before parts are placed in the ultrasonic cleaner.
Here’s a general overview of how each of the stages function:
Pre-wash – This cycle is used to remove gross contamination from the surface of parts. This keeps the majority of sludge out of the ultrasonic cleaner, so it doesn’t need to be cleaned as often and allows the unit to do its job more efficiently. Designs vary, but the pre-washer may include a heater or spray nozzles to facilitate contaminant removal.
Wash – This stage is the heart of the ultrasonic cleaning unit. This provides the actual final cleaning to remove any residual contaminants from the surface, hidden passageways, blind holes, and cracks and crevices in the parts. These units are heated to optimize cleaning and have a programmable timing cycle to minimize the power and time used for cleaning.
Rinse – This cycle removes remaining detergents from the parts after they’ve been washed. Rinse stations are heated, and typically use de-ionized water or other specialized cleaning agents to ensure no residue is left behind.
Dry – A recirculating hot air dryer is the final stage, used to dry the parts quickly so they can be moved on to the next process. The drying step is also critical for parts that may oxide or rust quickly if moisture is not removed.
Automation – Some ultrasonic cleaning systems also come with automated pick-and-place systems. While this is useful for highly automated production systems, it is very expensive—often doubling the price of an integrated unit.
Omegasonics builds three- and four-stage ultrasonic cleaning systems—the DX3 and DX4, respectively. Our units are designed for maximum portability with built-in casters and a single point of connection for utilities, and fabricated from corrosion-resistant materials. They do not include automation, so they are reasonably priced and economical for even small and midsize businesses. The high-efficiency hot air dryer is contained within the system to maximize space and improve convenience. We highly recommend them to any facility that uses ultrasonic cleaning regularly as a portion of its processes.
If you or your facility is looking for a convenient, compact, and economical solution for your ultrasonic cleaning system needs, visit the Omegasonics website. You can also find us on LinkedIn and Twitter.