Ultrasonic PCB Cleaners for New and Reconditioned Boards

Fast, Safe Ultrasonic PCB Cleaners for New and Reconditioned Boards

Removing soldering flux and residues from new PCBs and dirt when reconditioning PCBs by using an ultrasonic PCB cleaner is faster and more gentle than soaking and scrubbing with sprays and solvents.  Manual PCB cleaning is time consuming, can damage delicate PCB assemblies and can be environmentally unfriendly.  An ultrasonic PCB cleaner provides your best assurance that contaminants have been completely removed from new or reconditioned board configurations. 

 How an Ultrasonic PCB Cleaner Works

If you are familiar with ultrasonic cleaning proceed to the next section.

Ultrasonic cleaners come in a variety of sizes and capacities ranging from benchtop to floor mounted industrial units.  Regardless of size, ultrasonic cleaners work in the same way. 

A tank sized to accommodate objects being cleaned contains a biodegradable cleaning solution formulated for the task at hand. 

Controls range from a simple on-off switch to more sophisticated timers, heaters and other features such as … Read the rest

Explosion Proof Ultrasonic Cleaner Options

Explosion Proof Ultrasonic Cleaner Options

Explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners must be used when cleaning tasks call for the use of volatile solvents to achieve the desired results.  See examples below.  When low flash point flammable solvents are involved in an ultrasonic cleaning operation, a number of precautions are called for in addition to using an explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaner.  This is because using these solvents creates what the NEC and NFPA term a hazardous location.

A flash point is the temperature at which a particular organic compound gives off sufficient vapor to ignite in air when given an ignition source.  In view of this, selection of an ultrasonic cleaner must take into account that not only do volatile solvents evaporate, but the heat generated by the ultrasonic cleaning process accelerates solvent evaporation and vapor generation.… Read the rest

Deionized Water Rinsing after Ultrasonic Cleaning

We’ll start this post by stating that it is not always necessary to rinse products after ultrasonic cleaning.  Engine parts such as gears and carburetors are examples where cleaning solution residues may be tolerable.  If not, then rinsing cleaned parts with fresh water should usually suffice.   There are other areas, however, where thorough rinsing is essential and where deionized water rinsing after ultrasonic cleaning is strongly recommended.

These are applications where the slightest bit of remaining contaminants or cleaning solution residues can impact performance.  Electronic components such as printed circuit boards, optics, and medical and surgical instruments, are examples. These are applications where spot-free drying is the goal, and in this context “spots” relate to dissolved minerals in regular water that remain as residues when the water evaporates.

Removing dissolved minerals in water is generally accomplished by two methods.  Deionization is a process that produces deionized water (DI water) by … Read the rest

How to Position Parts in an Ultrasonic Cleaner

A basket designed for cleaning watch cases
A basket designed for cleaning watch cases

Correct parts positioning in an ultrasonic cleaner is as important as the ultrasonic cleaning frequency and ultrasonic cleaning solution formulation.  Yet of these three criteria improper parts positioning is often the cause of unsatisfactory results or extended time in the cleaning solution.

Don’t Fight Cavitation

Better said, don’t impede cavitation action.  Cleaning is accomplished by the violent implosion of minute bubbles created in the cleaning solution by ultrasonic transducers.   The cleaning action occurs on all surfaces wetted by the solution as sound waves migrate upward through the solution from the bottom of the ultrasonic cleaner tank and reflect back down from the solution surface. This suggests that putting too much product in the cleaning baskets is not a good idea because it will impede sound reflection.  At Tovatech we recommend a 1 to 2 inch space between the tank walls and parts in … Read the rest