As a rule of thumb, buyers of ma-chined parts don’t want to see any particles or oily film on their merchandise. Therefore, most blue-prints specify parts must be clean and dry—but don’t indicate how that must be achieved or what level of cleanliness is required, noted Lou Tignac, owner and president of Van’s Manufacturing Inc. The Simi Valley, Calif., machine shop employs about 20 workers and produces parts, such as pressure transducer fittings, valves and mani-folds, from a variety of workpiece materials, including plastic, stainless steel, aluminum and bronze. The shop long ago realized that its old-school, rudimentary solvent tank was cumbersome, messy and time-consuming. In addition, the solvents required special storage, usage and disposal considerations. After researching alternative industrial cleaning processes online and at trade shows, Tignac deter-mined ultrasonic cleaning to be a thorough and environmentally friendly method for removing water-soluble coolant and other contaminants from parts—even those with multiple cavities and hard-to-reach internal features. Ultrasonic systems use vibrating molecules within a nontoxic solution to clean parts. A machine generates ultra-sound waves that produce cavitation bubbles, which can reach into every nook and cranny in a part to remove dirt, grime and grease.
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