Large Ultrasonic Cleaner Selection

Large Ultrasonic Cleaner Specification Tips

When strict cleanliness specifications must be met by manufacturers of large parts or by firms cleaning large parts, a large ultrasonic cleaner helps assure specifications are met. Application examples include stainless steel pipe passivation, cleaning large DPF and EGR filter assemblies, heavy parts and industrial scale heat exchangers. Our post on selecting an industrial ultrasonic cleaner provides related information. Here we describe features to look for in a large ultrasonic cleaner. 

What to Look for in a Large Ultrasonic Cleaner

The above-referenced post on selecting an industrial ultrasonic cleaner provides excellent guidelines.  For cleaning very large parts, however, it is important to consider the following criteria when crafting your specifications. 

Later in this post we’ll provide equipment suggestions that meet these criteria.

Extending Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution Effectiveness

Ultrasonic cleaning solution chemistries are formulated to handle specific challenges. Some contaminants removed during the process remain in the solution and eventually reduce cleaning efficiency.  

Other contaminants such as chips and fines fall to the bottom of the tank.  

Because large ultrasonic cleaners have significant solution volumes you’ll want to extend the usefulness of your formula. There are ways to address this.

For contaminants remaining in solution or floating to the surface of the bath: Two widely used ultrasonic cleaning solution chemistries are broadly defined as demulsifying  and emulsifying. 

Demulsifying chemistries, exemplified by elma tec clean A4, cause contaminants to rise to the surface.  Emulsifying formulas keep contaminants in suspension and are usually specified for low volume cleaning operations.  These are not likely candidates for a large ultrasonic cleaner.

If you would like more information on ultrasonic cleaning solution chemistries, please check our post on how to select an ultrasonic cleaning solution.

Hard  contaminants removed during the cleaning process accumulate on the bottom of the tank.  Unless addressed, these over time can erode and cause holes in the tank, and can destroy your investment. 

Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution Maintenance

Operators of benchtop ultrasonic cleaners can manually skim floating contaminants and deposit them in a special container for later disposal. 

Industrial and larger ultrasonic cleaners can be equipped with weirs and spray bars to direct floating contaminants to a collection point for disposal according to local regulations.

To reduce the danger of damage due to hard contaminants remaining on the bottom of the tank, ultrasonic cleaners can be equipped with single or dual filtration systems. These trap contaminants during solution recirculation.   

Operators replace filters when noting a decrease in flow rates due to contaminant build up.

Insulated Cleaning Tanks

Regardless of size, many ultrasonic cleaners are supplied with heaters allowing operators to meet recommended cleaning solution temperatures. For example, the recommended temperature for the earlier mentioned elma tec clean A4 is 50 – 80⁰C (122-176⁰F). All large industrial ultrasonic cleaners should offer temperature control.

Considering the cleaning solution capacities of large ultrasonic cleaners an insulated cleaning solution tank helps maintain the recommended temperature. 

In addition, insulated tanks serve to muffle ultrasonic cleaning noise, which can be noticeable at lower ultrasonic frequencies such as 25 or 40 kHz.

Cleaning Tank Lids

Similarly, cleaning tank lids serve to not only to muffle noise but also reduce cleaning solution evaporation. Some large ultrasonic cleaners have removable lids, others hinged lids.

Bottom Racks for Work Support

Proper use of any ultrasonic cleaner requires that products being cleaned are not in contact with the bottom of the cleaning solution tank. For benchtop and smaller heavy-duty cleaners baskets are used to hold products being cleaned at the proper level in the cleaning solution.

When cleaning large parts unsuitable for baskets, two choices are available. One is lowering the part into the tank via an overhead hoist and assuring it does not contact the tank. The other is carefully positioning the part on specially designed racks fabricated  on the bottom of the cleaning tank.

Pre-and Post-Cleaning Rinses

Just as one scrapes dishes, pots and pans before putting them in the dishwasher, many parts require pre-cleaning before ultrasonic cleaning to remove coarse, easily removed contaminants. 

Doing so helps preserve the useful life of the selected cleaning solution formula.

Similarly, after dishwashing or ultrasonic cleaning, a final rinse may be called for to remove cleaning solution residues.

Products with easily removed heavy, loose contaminants should first be manually cleaned by scraping and brushing to help preserve ultrasonic cleaning solution efficiency. After that, a rinse option with tap water can remove residual contaminants before ultrasonic cleaning. Following ultrasonic cleaning an option is spray rinsing with demineralized or deionized  water to remove remaining residues.

Casters for Mobility

Work areas are subject to change.  Large ultrasonic cleaners should be equipped with lockable casters to provide mobility.  This, of course, recognizes that electrical power, drainage and other needed facilities are present at the new location.

Examples of Large Ultrasonic Cleaners 

Selecting an ultrasonic cleaner best for you is based on your particular requirements.  Here are a few examples of readily available units plus the option to design, with our help, a custom unit.

Elmasonic xtra ST 800H

Elma xtra ST Floor Mounted Ultrasonic Cleaners

The dual frequency 25/45 kHz Elma xtra ST ultrasonic cleaners are offered in 7 tank sizes from 8 to 67 gallons. These units are designed to handle tasks ranging from coarse preliminary cleaning to fine cleaning.  They can be operated continuously for up to 12 hours before an automatic shut-off.

Select 25 kHz for coarse contamination and 45 kHz for finer cleaning. (For more on this topic please view our post on ultrasonic frequency and power.)

A special feature of these rugged ultrasonic cleaners is the dynamic Sweep/Pulse mode that alternates safe, even cleaning of sweep with powerful pulse to quickly remove tenacious contaminants.

Optional features include filters to extend cleaning solution life, pre-rinsing with tap water to remove loose contaminants and post rinsing using DI water. A support table option holds products during the rinsing cycles.

Shiraclean 135 Gallon Large Ultrasonic Cleaner

SHIRACLEAN Large Ultrasonic Cleaners

SHIRACLEAN wheel mounted units are offered in 7 tank sizes from 25 to 204 gallons. Operating at 40 kHz ultrasonic frequency with 25, 68 and 170 kHz ultrasonic frequencies on request, these units are ideal for machine shops, solder flux removal, printing, electronics, removing 3-D mold support, aircraft maintenance operations, and cleaning automotive engine and drive train assemblies. 

SHIRACLEAN units are offered as TVT and TVU models. Features include:

  • Low liquid level sensor
  • Illuminated control panel
  • Digital timer-controlled ultrasound
  • Filtration system: TVT – dual cartridge | TVU – single cartridge
  • Weir and spray bar: TVT – standard | TVU – optional
  • Stainless steel cover: TVT – hinged | TVU – lift off
  • Bottom rack to support heavy products: TVT – standard | TVU – optional

Other options include overhead power lift systems, companion rinse tanks, heated air dryers and an advanced control and monitoring system.

Custom Ultrasonic Cleaners

If an “off-the-shelf” cleaner does not satisfy your cleaning requirements, consider a custom-built unit available from Tovatech. 

Customization requires careful consideration of products being cleaned,  proper tank sizes, ultrasonic frequencies employed, bath temperatures, the dirt or contaminants being removed, balancing cleaning speed against cost,  the degree of automation desired, selecting the correct ultrasonic cleaning solution, cleaning solution recovery and reuse, and safety issues relating to specialized cleaning solvents. 

A further introduction to customization is found on our website.

Need More Info on Selecting a Large Ultrasonic Cleaner?

We hope this post is helpful when it comes to selecting a large ultrasonic cleaner. Please contact our scientists for expert and unbiased advice.

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