The Ultimate Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner Guide: How to Select the Right Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner

How to Select an Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner

Industrial ultrasonic cleaners come in many sizes, shapes and features.  This guide will help you pick the equipment right for you. 

What is an “Industrial” Ultrasonic Cleaner?

You might think an industrial ultrasonic cleaner must be “big” because it is handling industrial products.  Not necessarily so.  Your industrial parts washer size (or cleaning solution capacity) is governed by the size of parts you are cleaning.  They are offered as benchtop and floor mounted models. 

Another consideration to keep in mind is the duration of your cleaning cycles.  Long-term cleaning cycles (i.e. operating continuously over a work shift) mean your unit should have a heavy-duty tank to prolong service life.

An example is the heavy-duty, Elma xtra TT series benchtop industrial ultrasonic cleaner with tank sizes from 0.79 to 4.8 gallons,  These are designed for industrial ultrasonic parts washing.

Another example is the large-scale, floor-mounted SHIRACLEAN Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners with 5 tank capacities from 25 to 110 gallons. 

Two Basic Features in Selecting Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners

Here we list what may be called critical and important points to consider when selecting your industrial parts washer.

  • Purchase an industrial ultrasonic cleaner that will allow the largest parts to be fully immersed in the cleaning solution.  Check what is called the working depth of an ultrasonic cleaner. 

    This is defined as the distance between the parts basket bottom or bottom rack  and the surface of the cleaning solution.  

    If you use baskets to hold your parts keep in mind that they are slightly smaller than tank internal dimensions. If data sheets do not provide this information ask the vendor.
  • How heavy are the parts?  This will determine if they (1) are cleaned in baskets (2) are suspended from overhead or (3) rest on racks built into the tank bottom 
  • Do not overload the bath – efficiency drops off. You’ll get better results when cleaning several smaller batches than one large batch.
  • For best results parts should not be in contact with each other.

Ultrasonic cleaning occurs when billions of microscopic vacuum bubbles implode against surfaces being cleaned to blast loose and carry away contaminants. 

Bubbles are created by generator-powered ultrasonic transducers bonded to the bottom (and sides in some models) of the industrial ultrasonic cleaner tank. 

As they vibrate at frequencies measured in kilohertz (kHz or thousands of cycles per second) they cause the bottom of the tank to perform as a membrane, thus creating the bubbles.

  • Lower frequencies such as 25 kHz produce larger cavitation bubbles.  When these bubbles implode they release a larger amount of cleaning energy.  For extremely dirty parts such as removing lapping abrasives or polishing paste, a lower frequency will be more effective. 
  • Higher frequencies produce smaller cavitation bubbles.  These cover fine featured complex surfaces more thoroughly, penetrate blind holes and crevices and are more gentle than low frequencies. 

Most ultrasonic parts washers operate between 35 and 45 kHz, a range well suited to the vast majority of industrial ultrasonic cleaning tasks.   An example is the 37 kHz Elmasonic E+ series of ultrasonic washers; another is the S line offering additional features.

When cleaning a variety of materials consider a dual-frequency ultrasonic cleaner.  An example is the Elmasonic X-tra ST unit that can be set at 25 kHz for basic cleaning or 45 kHz for fine cleaning. 

Other models operate at 35/130 kHz. A benchtop industrial ultrasonic cleaner offering multiple frequency options is the TI-H series in capacities from 1 to 5 gallons.

Other Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner Features  

  1. Temperature controls let you set cleaning solution temperature to the level recommended by the cleaning solution manufacturer.
  2. Timers control the duration of the cleaning cycle.  Some units are designed to start cavitation when the selected temperature is reached and shut down at the end of the cycle.
  3. A degas mode speeds the removal of trapped air in fresh cleaning solutions  An alternative is allowing the equipment operate for a period of time without a load.    
  4. Sweep provides a slight ± fluctuation in the ultrasonic frequency and serves to even out the cleaning action to avoid “hot spots” or possibly damaging cavitation action, “dead zones” or no cleaning action, and harmonic vibrations.  
  5. A pulse mode boosts ultrasonic power up to 20% to remove stubborn contaminants. 
  6. While more ultrasonic power usually indicates faster and more effective cleaning, more power is not always better.  Too much power can damage delicate items.  If you are cleaning a variety of products adjustable power is a useful feature.  Examples are the Elma TI-H and P series

Typical Applications for Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners

The extent and type of contamination (i.e. dirt, gunk, greases and oils) to be removed may require longer cleaning cycles, pointing to the selection of an industrial ultrasonic cleaner.  The following examples provide you with greater detail on when and how these units are used. 

Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions and Maintenance

We hope the above information proves helpful as you select the industrial ultrasonic cleaner you need to meet your requirements. 

But an equally critical consideration is the proper ultrasonic cleaning solution to do the job most efficiently. 

Today’s biodegradable cleaning solution concentrates are a far cry from the environmentally unfriendly formulas used in the past.  Check out our tips on selecting an ultrasonic cleaning solution.

Cleaning solution performance is extended when steps are taken to remove accumulated contaminants dislodged by the cleaning process.  Maintenance procedures are described in user manuals.  Larger industrial units may employ skimmers and filters to do the job. 

Guide to Performance for Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaners

Here are snapshots of  industrial ultrasonic cleaners available from Tovatech.

4 Benchtop x-tra TT Cleaners 0.79 to 4.8 gallons capacity, 3-year tank warranty

If you clean small to medium-sized parts, have demanding production schedules and must meet strict cleanliness requirements an elma x-tra TT benchtop ultrasonic cleaner is a great choice. 

  • Permanent sweep mode assures even cleaning throughout the bath
  • User-activated dynamic mode boosts cleaning power when needed
  • Timer for 1 to  30 minutes or up to 8 hours continuous operation
  • Control cleaning solution temperature to 80⁰C, safety cutoff at 90⁰
  • Shipped with lid to reduce noise and solution evaporation

7 Floor-Mounted dual-frequency xtra ST Cleaners 8 to 67  gallons, 3-year tank warranty

When cleaning large products the caster-mounted dual-frequency elma xtra ST units let you roll your ultrasonic cleaner where it is needed, requiring only a power source.  Dual-frequency capability handles tough and gentle cleaning tasks.  Ideal for cleaning critical components used in processing lines, thus minimizing down time.

  • Select 25 kHz for coarse cleaning, 45 kHz for fine cleaning
  • Sweep mode for even cleaning throughout the bath
  • Powerful user-activated pulse mode blasts away stubborn contaminants
  • Select dynamic sweep/pulse mode for the best of both options
  • Auto-start at 30⁰ to 80⁰C; auto shutoff at 90⁰C or after 12 hours continuous operation

The Elma Flex 1 and Flex 2 Floor Mounted Ultrasonic Cleaners and Rinse Stations

5 floor-mounted units 9 to 45 gallons deliver improved efficiency, uniformity and throughput. 

Multiple and selectable performance features on Elmasonic Flex units are headed by a precise vertical cleaning basket oscillation that delivers up to 20% faster and more thorough ultrasonic cleaning than fixed cleaning baskets.  The Elmasonic Flex 1 Workstation or paired Flex 2 Workstation and Rinsing Station deserve careful consideration if your shop handles a wide variety of complex tasks that must meet high standards. 

  • Select 25/45 or 35/130 kHz frequencies to meet your key cleaning challenges
  • Degas mode speeds startup time with fresh cleaning solutions
  • Sweep and pulse modes for cleaning uniformity and effectiveness
  • Timer controlled cleaning, user-defined switch-off and auto shutoff after 12 hours
  • Bath temperature 30⁰ to 80⁰C; auto shutoff at 90⁰C or after 12 hours continuous operation
  • Liquid level monitor with low-level auto shutoff protects critical components,

The Elma Flex 2 package couples the Flex 1 Workstation with a matching rinsing station to remove unwanted and potentially damaging cleaning residues from cleaned parts.  The rinsing tank removes residues via the same agitation principles used in the Workstation and is available with optional ultrasonic power.  An optional shower rinse station is available for ultra-clean requirements.

SHIRACLEAN Industrial Cleaners with Solution Filtration

5 caster-mounted 40 kHz models with capacities from 25 to 110 gallons

From aerospace to auto restoration, save time, labor and cleaning solution life using the SHIRACLEAN for cleaning a wide variety of parts more quickly and more effectively, without toxic chemicals.  These units deliver professional results and extend the effectiveness of ultrasonic cleaning solutions using weirs, spray bars and filters.

  • Fully insulated stainless steel tank maintains temperature, reduces noise
  • Digital temperature control for optimum cleaning solution performance
  • Low liquid level sensor helps avoid equipment damage
  • Permanent sweep for uniform cleaning action
  • Digital timer-controlled ultrasound
  • Hinged stainless steel cover reduces noise and evaporation
  • Two-year parts warranty

Custom Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning Units

When “off the shelf” units as described above cannot meet your requirements, a customized system can be created with tank dimensions, cleaning cycles, heating and ultrasonic power, electrical power supply, cleaning solutions and accessories based on your specific requirements.  The Tovatech engineering team is competent, flexible and quick, designing and building your system in a short time period.

Equipment Investment Considerations

Cost-benefit analyses are important to any investment in plant and equipment.  When it comes to cleaning industrial parts – or any part for that matter – time saved to achieve desired results is an important consideration. 

As a start, download the pricing guide to get an idea of costs involved.  But before making your final decision we encourage you to contact us, we’re ready to help you select the best industrial ultrasonic cleaner for your requirements, whether benchtop or floor mounted. Ask about the accessories that are available to add efficiency to your ultrasonic cleaning operations.

About Bob Sandor

Bob began working as a chemist in 1987 and remains a science geek to this day. After his PhD he worked on the bench in materials and inorganic chemistry for 10 years. He then took on a love for marketing and sales. He combined his passion for science and business and took entrepreneur general management positions in large corporations like Hoecsht Celanese now Sanofi Aventis, Bel-Art and Smiths Detection. There he learned what it would take to run a business and finally Tovatech was co-founded in 2006. Bob’s hobbies include playing, listening and composing music, skiing, working out, the internet and all things science. Read More