Watch case manufacturers, class ring manufacturers, earring manufacturers, body jewelry manufacturers and other quality jewelry manufacturers with broad markets can quickly and efficiently remove jewelry polishing compounds with an industrial ultrasonic cleaner. Following the removal of jewelry polishing compounds final cleaning can be accomplished with the ultrasonic cleaner and/or steam cleaning before products are shipped.
Why Ultrasonic Jewelry Polish Removal?
In a word: efficiency. Ultrasonic cavitation, the implosion of microscopic bubbles against the surface of the jewelry, safely and quickly dislodges and carries away jewelry polishing compounds and other dirt from all surfaces including those difficult or impossible to remove by manual methods. The action is performed in an ultrasonic cleaning tank filled with a biodegradable cleaning solution excited by ultrasonic transducers powered by a generator.
Using an Ultrasonic Cleaner in Jewelry Manufacturing
The equipment can be used to perform several functions in jewelry production.
Polishing paste removal is accomplished at the 25 kHz (25,000 cycles per second) ultrasonic frequency. Following this step additional work such as stone setting, stamping and engraving can proceed. The 25 kHz frequency can also be used to check the quality of stone settings to see if they are loose and must be tightened so as not to risk possible loss.
After a water rinse the jewelry can be replaced in the ultrasonic cleaner for final cleaning at the 45 kHz frequency. This frequency is also preferable if the jewelry contains soft or delicate stones such as pearls, shells or lapis lazuli. Alternatively an Elmasteam steam cleaner can be used for final cleaning.
Throughout the ultrasonic cleaning processes further protection is provided by the cleaner‘s sweep mode that provides uniform distribution of the cleaning action throughout the bath. This avoids regions of high and low intensity that could damage highly polished surfaces.
Cleaning solution concentrate selection is also important. A good choice is biodegradable elma clean 260 neutral foam-inhibited cleaning concentrate diluted to 2 to 4% with water.
Setting Up the Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner
A simplified description of the process includes adding water to the ultrasonic cleaner tank and the recommended amount of ultrasonic cleaner concentrate for that volume. Turn on the ultrasonic cleaner and allow the solution to mix and drive off entrapped air (degassing). Degassing must be done each time a fresh cleaning solution is prepared.
When you are ready to clean you should:
- Adjust the temperature control to the correct level per cleaning solution concentrate instructions. For elma clean 260 the recommmended temperature is 60 to 70⁰C. Place jewelry components in mesh baskets in such a way that they do not contact each other. Special baskets and racks are designed for positioning components such as watch cases and rings to allow maximum exposure to the cavitation action.
- Lower the basket into the solution. The ultrasonic cleaner should auto start when the set temperature is reached. Set the timer for 5 to 10 minutes . The equipment will shut down at the end of the cycle. (Experience will guide you on the time required.)
- Remove the baskets or racks and inspect the product. As noted above the jewelry can be replaced in the tank for a final cleaning at 45 kHz or a steam cleaner can be used. When the cycles are completed rinse the jewelry with water and allow it to dry.
Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution Maintenance
Ultrasonic cleaning solutions will discolor and lose effectiveness over time. They must be replaced. At that time take the time to thoroughly clean the tank following the manufacturer’s instructions. When filling the tank with new cleaning solution don’t forget to degas it prior to resuming jewelry cleaning operations.
Contact the ultrasonic jewelry cleaning professionals at Tovatech for recommendations on ultrasonic cleaner equipment options for removing jewelry polishing compounds or to discuss other cleaning procedures for jewelry.