Building an Ultrasonic Cleaning Business on a Bright Idea

Here’s an interesting letter we got from a customer:

Every holiday season my brother and I had the unenviable task of cleaning and polishing the “good” sliver in preparation for family gatherings around the festive board. Afterwards, no matter how carefully we wrapped the sterling flatware, candlesticks and napkin rings, they developed tarnish.  Dipping them in one of those silver cleaning solvents was not an option, so out came the Wright’s Silver Cream and the polishing cloths.

During a summer job as a lab assistant I was introduced to ultrasonic cleaning as a means to remove dirt and tarnish from lab equipment before sterilization.  Thinking back on my childhood holidays, I thought “why not?”  With permission from my boss I put a few pieces of flatware into the ultrasonic cleaner and, well, it accomplished in minutes what it my brother and I spent far too much time on.  The ultrasonic cavitation bubbles safely and quickly removed the tarnish.

Taking a chance, I bought a small Elma ultrasonic cleaner “E” series through Tovatech along with their CLN-SH-JWL biodegradable ultrasonic cleaning solution and began knocking on neighbors’ doors.   Ads in the local community newspaper brought in more business. Growing income enabled me to lease space at a nearby strip mall.  Business has expanded to include ultrasonic cleaning stainless flatware, jewelry, coin collections ….even fishing reels and other sporting equipment.

My business now operates several Elma ultrasonic cleaning units that can be programmed to handle most any cleaning operation in terms of cycle time and ultrasonic cleaning solution temperature.   As diversified as we are in terms of what we clean we still get a big spurt of business around the holidays when it is time for my customers to get out and polish the “good” silver.


What new business opportunities have opened for you by using the power of ultrasonic cleaning?  What types of products do you clean and how do you build your customer base?

About Rachel Kohn

So how did an MIT Ph.D. end up selling refrigerators? When I figured out that a lot more scientists buy lab refrigerators than innovative leading-edge instruments. I hope that my many years of lab experience will help you find the right equipment for your work. Before co-founding Tovatech I worked in business development and project management at Smiths Detection, Photon-X, Cardinal Health, and Hoechst Celanese. And before that I spent 12 years as an R&D chemist at Hoechst Celanese and Aventis working on advanced drug delivery systems, polymer films and membranes, optical disks, and polysaccharides. Some day, eventually, I’ll make enough money to develop an innovative technology that will change the world. Read More