How long is a piece of string!? This blog post looks at the six variables that can determine how long ultrasonic cleaning takes. These variables include:
- How dirty the item is to start with. Clearly the dirtier it starts the longer it will take to clean;
- How many parts are being cleaned together, particularly in relation to the size of the ultrasonic cleaning bath? The more crowded a tank the less effective and therefore the longer the clean will take;
- The power of the ultrasonics. Weak ultrasonics will tend to result in a longer clean time, but care must be taken with the power level to ensure it doesn’t damage the items being cleaned themselves.
- How effective the cleaning chemistry is. Good cleaning chemistry speeds up the ultrasonic cleaning cycle tremendously.
- How clean you want the items themselves. Obviously the cleaner you want them, the longer the cleaning process will take. For particularly demanding cleaning specifications it is common to use a series of ultrasonic wash tanks getting progressively cleaner;
- How sensitive the material being cleaned is to potential damage from overexposure to ultrasonic activity. Whilst not particularly common care must be taken with lighter metals such as aluminium particularly with polished surfaces, to not overexpose to ultrasonic activity.
However given all the above, our experience is that 5 to 30 minutes ultrasonic wash cycles are typical for a controlled and established cleaning process. However, this may not include pre-clean, rinsing, drying and packaging processes which would also add to the overall cleaning cycle time.