If you are not familiar with the cleaning process when using ultrasonic industrial cleaners, wondering if plastics can be used is a very fair question. At some point, even if you have not used industrial cleaning equipment, you have more than likely put something made of plastic in your dishwasher, thinking it would be fine. When you opened the door after the cycle, you were horrified by a twisted and melted piece of plastic that was unusable.
Many manufacturing businesses today have plastic components that must be cleaned. In some cases, these pieces cannot be used in a high-heat environment, such as is used in ultrasonic cleaning. Examples of this would be plastics with a much softer shell (think your average water bottle). These more delicate pieces and pieces that have simpler designs are often better being hand-cleaned. However, there are absolutely plastics that can benefit from being cleaned with industrial ultrasonic cleaning equipment.
Meeting the Challenges
In many manufacturing and foodservice businesses, plastic parts with small holes and/or crevices can be virtually impossible to clean by hand. Chances are, because of the way these pieces are used, they will be made of harder components. That being said, they will be able to hold up to the heat and cleaning process used in ultrasonic cleaning. There are, however, some factors to consider before using ultrasonic cleaning equipment to clean plastics.
Degree of Contamination
Plastics tend to grip contaminants, which, given the right construction, makes them ideal for this cleaning process, especially if the equipment has crevices and holes where the contaminants may be far more challenging to clean by hand. The implosion of the bubbles created by ultrasonic waves ensures the cleaning solution gets into every crack and crevice to remove contamination from every surface.
If the parts are low-density plastics, chances are they would not stay in the bottom of the tank but rather float around on the surface. This could result in some surfaces not being properly cleaned. Rather than just dumping these types of pieces into the tank to clean, using a weighted mesh-style basket to cover them will still enable the parts to be cleaned properly.
Plastic that is flexible and soft is usually not suitable for this type of cleaning. The nature of the construction of such equipment means that the parts will flex and absorb the ultrasonic waves used in the cleaning process, which could reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning itself. These types of plastics are what we recommend cleaning by hand.
Cleaning Solution or Cleaning Chemicals?
When using plastics, they can be very susceptible to damage when using powerful cleaning chemicals in the cleaning process. Omegasonics offers a wide variety of water-based cleaning agents that will not break down the plastic components. We cannot stress enough how important it is to use the proper cleaning agent in this type of cleaning.
If you have plastic components, we highly recommend discussing your cleaning options with an expert member of our team. Our team member can discuss the type of components that will be cleaned to see which one of our Omegasonics industrial ultrasonic washers will work best for your business, as well as helping you choose the proper cleaning agents. If we don’t have a “standard” machine, there is also the option of a custom-built machine specifically to meet your needs. Give us a call at 888-989-5560, or you can request a custom quote on our website (click here).