Going ultrasonic

11th of July 2019
Going ultrasonic

Christian Bouzols reports from France on the growing market for ultrasonic cleaning.

It’s not always easy to get rid of food and oil stains. It’s the same with bacteria. However, there is a solution that sets itself apart from the others due to its performance. This solution is called ultrasonic cleaning (or cleaning by ultrasonic bath).

Hardly known by the general public, this method is mainly used by industrial firms and its applications are currently expanding in France.

This is how it works. Ultrasonic cleaning is based on a process which produces a cleaning effect by sending high frequency sound waves, ranging from 20 kHz to 400 kHz, across a liquid into which the item to be cleaned has been placed. The vibrations induced inside the liquid gives rises to thousands of microscopic bubbles which surround and act on the item.

Several vessels (tubs or tanks) are required to produce those bubbles, a phenomenon known as cavitation. The least that can be said about the process is that the results are impressive. Ultrasonic cleaning is definitely more efficient than the other existing processes. Not only that, it consumes less energy.

The leader in this particular area of cleaning equipment is Ultratecno. This company markets a large range of ultrasonic machines and several solutions for industrial cleaning. These machines are used in activities as varied as cleaning ship hardware and restoring industrial moulds.

They make use of stainless steel vessels whose capacity can vary from 100 to 4,500 litres and into which the items are placed.

Although the machines were originally designed for industry, they are increasingly used in other areas. In fact the growth of Ultratecno in 2019 will depend in large measure on this development.

What are the sectors that could be reached? A main one would be the jewellery sector, for the purpose of cleaning bracelets, pendants and rings. Opticians could also be interested, as they need to clean spectacle and contact lenses. Another one would be the watch trade, in order to clean the various components of clocks and watches.

Many applications

The electronics industry would also be a candidate, as it needs to clean printed circuit boards and electronic components. One could add the health sector, which has to clean and sterilise medical and surgical instruments. Numismatists and armourers could make use of them, respectively to clean coins and guns respectively, not forgetting cartridge cases.

On a larger scale ultrasonic cleaning vessels are used in the automotive industry. The ultrasonic process gives the best results when it is applied to car engines. Ship maintenance could also be a promising sector. So would viticulture, for the cleaning of wine barrels.

In short, the process seems to have a promising future, even at home. Indeed, it can help in making a dishwasher work!

 

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