Tovatech Ultrasonic Cleaner: Tiny Bubbles Provide Powerful Cleaning Action

Published: 01st April 2010
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One of the most powerful, yet gentle, cleaning processes available is provided by ultrasonic energy. Generally operating below the threshold of hearing, ultrasonic cleaners are used for virtually any cleaning requirement, but especially for products that are difficult to clean by any other process - including manual scrubbing.

At one end of the scale, ultrasonic cleaners are used for delicate parts such as jewelry, medical and dental instruments, lenses, printed circuit boards, optical encoders, liquid crystal displays and window blinds. At the other end, an ultrasonic cleaner removes grease, grime and baked-on carbon from super-dirty automotive and aircraft engines and their various components such as oil sumps and carburetors. In between? Well, if a product is not damaged by immersion an ultrasonic cleaning solution - generally water based - it is a candidate for this most versatile of cleaning systems.

How Ultrasonic Cleaners Work

The basic components of an ultrasonic cleaning system include the tank, which can be of most any size depending on what is being cleaned, an ultrasonic frequency generator and ultrasonic transducers. The generator transmits ultrasonic energy to the transducers bonded to the bottom and/or sides of the tank. The tank contains an ultrasonic cleaning solution that is formulated for the particular cleaning application. Most solutions are shipped in concentrated form for dilution with water to the manufacturers' specifications.

Other components of the system can include baskets or racks for immersing and removing the parts from the ultrasonic cleaning bath, and rinsing tanks.

The Cleaning Magic of Cavitation

A panel mounted on the side of the tank controls the on-off cycle with options that can include a timer, solution temperature selector and other bells and whistles featured on most industrial and healthcare ultrasonic cleaners such as the Elmasonic series offered by Tovatech. Once activated, the ultrasonic generators transmit energy to the transducers. The vibration of the transducers transfers high-frequency energy through the tank wall and into the cleaning solution. This creates billions of microscopic bubbles that implode with tremendous force when they come in contact with contaminants on the surface of objects being cleaned. This implosion, called cavitation, literally blasts away dirt, grease, grime, paint, ink, smoke stains, finger marks and the like from surfaces. Yet despite this energy, the cavitation does not damage parts being cleaned when correct ultrasonic frequencies are employed.

No surface is immune to the cleaning power of cavitation. The bubbles penetrate tiny crevices, cracks and blind screw holes - areas impossible to reach by any other cleaning system.

Ultrasonic frequencies employed, along with the formulations of ultrasonic solutions, are governed by what is being cleaned. The most widely used frequencies are in the range of 35 kHz - 45 kHz. Specialized equipment may offer a choice between frequencies, such as Elma's dual frequency 25/45 kHz, 35/130 kHz, and 37/80 kHz models offered by Tovatech. Lower frequencies are used to remove heavy types of contamination from durable surfaces; higher frequencies are used to clean fragile instruments or parts with very tiny features such as microelectronic components.


Contaminants removed by ultrasonic cleaning settle out into the solution and can be removed by filters and skimmers in order to extend the life of the solution and avoid possible damage to the cleaning tank. Tanks should be periodically drained and can be cleaned with specially formulated cleaning solutions and procedures to remove rust films and mineral deposits. Tanks should also be inspected for wear due to cavitation energy.

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