Production Machining

DEC 2014

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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44 PRODUCTION MACHINING :: DECEMBER 2014 N umerous efective cleaning methods are available to clean fat manufactured parts with little surface complexity or those that are grossly contaminated. But when the parts are intricate, with blind or threaded holes, various contours, or deep cavities, ultrasonic cleaning can set itself apart. Ultrasonics create vacuum bubbles that clean on a microscopic level; it's a stereo system in water. Because the small bubbles can get into tight areas, this method stands out when used in precision cleaning. Chemistry Generally, most ultrasonic cleaners use a water-based chemistry. While prevalent in the 1970s and early 80s, solvent-based chemistries such as vapor degreasers have become less common. Because water-based chemistries have more disposal options, they tend to be more environmentally friendly to work with. However, it is important to remember that while the soap and water by itself may be fne, the contaminants that are removed may not be so environmen- tally friendly. Shops need to consider the contaminants they are removing and how best to dispose of them. A couple of diferent methods can be used to separate the water from the contaminants and leave a smaller volume of sludge for disposal. Systems are available that can evaporate the water. Alternately, a focculation powder can be added to the fuid to bind the contaminants. Te fuid is then passed through a thin flter to catch the heavy contaminants, allowing the remaining water to be reused. Te contaminants are then allowed to harden for easy disposal. Solvent-based cleaning, on the other hand, requires a solvent processor system, and regulations for handling and disposal are considerably more extensive. While certain applications require the cleaning capabilities of solvents, the added expense that the required disposal process brings should be considered. Having the right chemistry is the key to any cleaning process. People often believe that ultrasonics by itself is all that is needed, but that's not necessarily the case. Some applications will only require DI water to clean, but many more applications will require some water-based chemistry. Frank Pedefous, president at Omegasonics, describes the combination of ultrasonics and chemistry in comparison with hardware and software. "Te ultrasonics is the hardware, and the soap is the software," he says. "Te hardware must be matched appropriately with the software to meet the applica- tion's needs. Te wrong software, or soap, can be completely inefective, but in the right situation, some detergents can be so efective as to mask some of the shortcomings of the ultrasonic equipment." By Chris Felix :: ABOVE: Ultrasonic cleaning's efectiveness shines through for intricate precision parts that include blind holes and deep cavities. Maximizing the Ultrasonic Cleaning Process Ideal for precision cleaning, this process works best when customized to meet the needs of each particular application.

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