For many of the cleaning jobs where ultrasonic cleaners are used, a lower frequency is recommended. That, however, will not be the case when cleaning aluminum parts. Because aluminum is softer, we have to use a higher frequency. This may prolong the cleaning process, but it will prevent damage to the aluminum part, such as surface pitting. There are other measures that can be taken, however, that can speed up the process.
Why Does Frequency Matter?
To answer this, we need to look no further than why ultrasonic cleaners are so effective in the first place. The ultrasonic waves create cavitation in the tank, which creates microscopic bubbles that are carried to the items placed in the tank. These bubbles carry the cleaning solution. The lower the frequency, the larger the bubble, which means a larger surface area that can be covered. Larger bubbles produce a higher-energy jet, however, which can produce surface pitting on softer substances, such as aluminum.
When you have to change a higher setting, you are producing smaller bubbles, which in turn creates a lower-energy jet, meaning a prolonged cleaning cycle, especially for parts that are heavily covered. Having said, even the prolonged cleaning cycle that would be needed in an ultrasonic cleaner is far less than would be required with other methods.
Choosing the Right Frequency for Cleaning Aluminum Parts
Before we move forward, I want to make it clear the settings we are discussing here are “average” settings that are acceptable. Before choosing a setting for your Omegasonics cleaner, we highly encourage you to reach out to our experts to ensure the setting you are choosing is the proper setting for your specific cleaning job.
For many “standard” cleaning jobs, 40 kHz is the recommended setting. As noted above, that is far too low for aluminum. In most cases, the minimum setting for cleaning aluminum is 78 kHz. Aluminum parts can handle frequencies as high as 430 kHz but again, this is something you will want to check with a member of our team before using.
How to Speed Up the Cleaning Process
One of the most common ways to speed up the cleaning the process with aluminum is to use a heated detergent. The warmed detergent can cut through the grime much quicker, resulting in a decreased cleaning cycle. However, because a heated solution can increase reaction with other agents, you will have to be careful what detergent is being used as well as any additional fluids, such as acids, being added to the tank. You will need to use a neutral detergent, but again, we still recommend speaking to a member of our team before doing anything outside the norm to prevent damage to anything you are cleaning in one of our tanks.
Ready to Try Ultrasonic Cleaning
You will be hard-pressed to find a more effective cleaning method on the market than ultrasonic cleaning. We also realize you have choices, which is why we believe our customer service is ranked second to none in this market. If you want to learn more about our ultrasonic cleaning tanks, call us at 888-989-5560 today!