Ultrasonic cleaning tanks and accessories: The complete guide from RND

Ultrasonic cleaners can be used to clean virtually anything. They are particularly useful for delicate, more intricate components that may be difficult to clean by hand. Used extensively in several industries, ultrasonic cleaning tanks and accessories are ideal for instruments, airbrushes, jewellery, motors, printer heads, tools, PCBs- the list is endless.

For manufacturers, technicians and engineers, ultrasonic cleaning equipment offers huge benefits that can maximise the longevity and lifespan of parts and ensure that downtime is reduced with effective cleaning.

How does ultrasonic cleaning work?

Ultrasonic cleaners work by using a process referred to as cavitation. This is when ultrasonic sound is passed through a liquid, creating millions of tiny cavitation bubbles. When combined with forceful pressure, these bubbles stir through a liquid to remove dirt, oil, rust and other contaminants from the components being cleaned and provide incredible cleaning results.

Most objects can be cleaned in an ultrasonic tank, but some are exceptions, such as precious stones, some plastics and some electronic components. Prior to using ultrasonic cleaning equipment, it is important to ensure that relevant objects are suitable for cleaning.

How to choose the best ultrasonic cleaner for your application

The requirements of your ultrasonic cleaner will largely be determined by the objects intended for cleaning. Purchasing ultrasonic cleaning equipment can be quite an investment, and so through research and an understanding of exactly how this equipment will be used is essential. Here are some considerations to think about before choosing the right ultrasonic cleaner for your application:

1. Size

The ultrasonic cleaner’s size is important to ensure that it is fit for purpose and suitable for the parts intended for cleaning. Determine both the size of the parts you want to clean and the number of cleaning components prior to choosing equipment. Even if the tools you want to clean are small in size, if you have large quantities of such tools, then a larger ultrasonic cleaner tank will be required.

Particular attention should be paid to the dimensions of baskets in which items for cleaning will be held. It is also important that users understand the working depth of the cleaning fluid they will use. This refers to the distance from the inside bottom surface of the basket to the liquid’s surface in a filled tank. Parts often need to be fully immersed in liquid when cleaned and so ensuring that this is possible in your chosen basket is essential.

2. Intended use 

Understand how the ultrasonic cleaner will be used to help you choose the best equipment. Consider the following questions:

  • What type of contamination do you intend to remove?
  • What is the composition of the products being cleaned?
  • How will the parts be used after cleaning?
  • How do you define “clean”?   

Different components have different parameters, and so the requirements of cleaning equipment will vary according to the application. Whether you’re removing coolant from machine parts, ink from printing rolls or blood from surgical instruments, the intended application will guide your choice. Users will also need a compatible cleaning solution and ultrasonic cleaning frequency and so understanding how the cleaner will be used is key.

3. Ultrasonic frequency

Generator-powered transducers produce ultrasonic cleaner frequency that is measured in kHz. Most ultrasonic cleaners operate between 35 and 45 kHz, which is ideal for the majority of cleaning requirements. However, for coarse cleaning such as removing polishing paste or lapping abrasives, a lower frequency of 25 kHz will be more appropriate.

The lower the frequency is, the larger the cavitation bubbles produced will be. Equally, higher ultrasonic cleaning frequencies produce smaller bubbles which are ideal for covering more delicate surfaces. For intricate electronics and soft metals, frequencies of 80 to 130 kHz will be most suitable.

4. Ultrasonic temperature

Many cleaning tasks can be carried out more efficiently and more quickly when using a heated solution. Some ultrasonic cleaners have thermostat-controlled heaters included that can be adjusted to provide heated solutions to improve cleaning results. This could be particularly advantageous for applications that require the removal of oils or machining coolants in particular.

It is worth noting that cleaning above 80°C becomes less efficient as cavitation is inhibited beyond this temperature.

5. Additional features/modes

  • Degas mode

Ultrasonic cleaning solutions often contain air that inhibits cavitation. Trapped air should be removed, and this can be achieved in two ways, either by letting the equipment operate without a load or using a cleaner with a degas mode for faster results. A degas mode works by switching on and off, causing air bubbles to come together, rise to the surface and burst.

  • Delicate mode

With delicate mode, the ultrasonic cleaner’s power is reduced by 50% to provide a less aggressive clean. This is ideal for delicate components that require a gentle clean.

  • Full power mode

Full power mode enables the cleaner to deliver its maximum ultrasonic power. This increased pressure and force provide an aggressive clean for objects that are heavily soiled.

Ultrasonic cleaning accessories

Accessories can enhance the performance of ultrasonic cleaners and make the cleaning process more efficient.

Examples of ultrasonic cleaning accessories include ring racks, beakers and beaker baskets. These accessories facilitate ultrasonic cleaning processes and work well alongside a many ultrasonic cleaning tanks to ensure that smaller objects are secured during the cleaning process and are cleaned thoroughly.

Why RND?

RND products are competitively priced, offering fantastic value for money without compromising on quality or compliance. RND ultrasonic cleaners and cleaning accessories provide an effective cleaning process that is consistent, efficient and fast. As standard, RND cleaners are made with durable stainless steel tanks, are energy efficient and have timer and temperature controls. Features such as degas, delicate and full power mode also enable users to adapt their cleaning equipment according to use.

Ultrasonic Cleaning Basket for 2l Tank, RND Lab

Compatible with the 2l ultrasonic cleaning tank, this basket is an ideal accessory to reduce ultrasonic hot spots during the cleaning process. Featuring convenient handles, objects can be repositioned safely and easily with a basket.

Ultrasonic Cleaning Tank 27l 500W, RND Lab

This 27l ultrasonic cleaning tank offers temperatures up to 80°C, 4 different modes and ultrasonic frequency of 400 kHz. The 27l tank provides 500W of power and includes 10 transducers for effective cleaning.

Ultrasonic Cleaning Beaker 500ml, RND Lab

Ideal for cleaning small items such as machine components, jewellery and medical equipment, this borosilicate glass beaker can be used in both laboratories and educational environments.

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