Ultrasonic cleaners are phenomenal at cleaning and preparing parts for final assembly or further processing, but you already know that if you own one. What you may not know, however, is that there are a number of things you can and should do to optimize your parts cleaner to keep it running at peak performance. Listed below are a number of these “best practices,” offered with the intent of helping you save money, reduce your cleaning time, and maximize your investment.
Keep your ultrasonic cleaner clean – That sounds like a redundant statement, but it’s not. If you expect to have parts that are free of dirt, oil and debris when they are removed from ultrasonic cleaners, the parts cleaner must also remain clean. This means periodically changing the cleaning solution, and wiping out the tank while the detergent is drained. The detergent must be changed occasionally to keep it from losing its effectiveness, while wiping out the container removes all the sludge that has accumulated in the bottom, which can reduce the effectiveness of the transducers.
Maintain your filtration system – Some ultrasonic cleaners are equipped with filtration systems that remove the floating oils and debris from the detergent while parts are being cleaned. These systems contain filters that trap the dirt and oil, and these filters must be changed occasionally, since they eventually fill with contaminants and block the circulating fluid.
Optimize the time and temperature – In order to save both time and money, take the time to do some experimenting with your ultrasonic cleaners to find the perfect time and temperature combination, in addition to the correct detergent. Running the parts cleaner for a long time at a high temperature may effectively clean parts, but it’s costing you extra electricity and wasted time.
Keep the unit covered when not in use – Some ultrasonic cleaners come equipped with covers to protect the cleaning solution, while others do not. Regardless, you should always keep your parts cleaner covered when not in use, since the air is full of dust, pollen, and small dirt particles that can accumulate in the cleaning solution and prematurely contaminate it. These airborne particles will accumulate in the solution just like the particles removed during the cleaning process, reducing the effectiveness of the detergent and the cleaner.
Pre-clean extra-dirty parts – Ultrasonic cleaners will remove all of the unwanted contaminants from a part’s surface, but all of those contaminants go somewhere, either into solution with the detergent or to the cleaner floor. In both cases, the effectiveness of the cleaner gets reduced over time. If the parts to be cleaned contain loose materials like mud, dust, or dirt that can easily be removed before they are placed in the cleaner, take the time to do a pre-rinse.