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Ultrasonic technology

Who determines whether something is clean? Or in other words "How much contamination may be left on an object to be cleaned"?

Ultrasone apparatuur en Advies op maat bij B&M Service

Ultrasonic technology:


Ultrasound is the science of sound waves that goes above the boundaries of human audibility. The frequency of a sound wave determines the tone or pitch. Ultrasound is a sound with a pitch that is so high that it cannot be determined by the human ear. Frequencies above 18 kilohertz are usually considered to be called Ultrasound. The frequencies used for ultrasonic cleaning vary from 20 kilohertz (kHz) to more than 500 kHz and even 1 MHz. The most frequently used frequencies for industrial cleaning are those between 25 kHz and 120 kHz. Frequencies above 40 kHz are often used for parts with a high-precision demand; removal of small particles and delicate parts.

Operating principle

Ultrasound used for cleaning applications consists of an electrical and a mechanical component. Generating the desired frequency is done in a so-called oscillator. This oscillator is called a Generator. A Generator whit a frequency of 20,000 Hz. is in fact a "switch" that is switched on/off 20000 times per second. By giving power to this electrical switch and connecting it to a sort of loudspeaker, we can cause a vibration. This vibration is transferred to a medium. For cleaning we use a liquid.

The so called speaker is a metal cone which is mounted on the bottom or in a side of a tank. On this cone there are ceramic discs bolted on. These discs are connected to the generator. By putting on a certain voltage (pressure) on a ceramic disk it will expand. When the voltage is put off, these disc shrinks again. This goes on for example at 20000 times per second. This movement is transferred to a tank. This "loudspeaker" is called a transducer or vibrating element and is constructed with piezo-ceramic PZT elements. (Plubum Zircon Titan)

In principle, for example the bottom of a tank, as a whole will be brought in vibration. With compressible media such as air and most solids, there is a continuous propagation of the sound wave (vibration). With non-compressible media such as water and most liquids, there is a sound propagation as long as the amplitude (strength of the vibration) is relatively low. When increasing the amplitude the medium, liquid, will cause a negative pressure. This pressure increases so vacuum bubbles arise. These bubbles grow and become unstable until they implodes (breaks) due to external pressure of the liquid. This effect is called cavitation. Countless vacuum bubbles develop by the continuous supply of energy to the vibrating elements.This creates a chaos of unstable bubbles and implosions. These implosions are used for ultrasonic cleaning. The cavitating vacuum bubbles acts like a smooth brush along the surface of the part to be cleaned.

Ultrasonic Cleaning:


  • Quick, time saving cleaning.
  • Thorough cleaning often without disassembly.
  • Intensive cleaning in hard to reach places such as bore holes, threaded holes, gaps, pores, cavities.
  • Less heat is required and a relatively low concentration of chemicals is needed.
  • Less risk of damaging delicate, expensive components.
  • No damage to surface or finish layer.

Cleaning technology

Cleaning; Rinsing and Drying:
Cleaning is a profession in itself.

Who determines whether something is clean? Or in other words "How much contamination may remain on an object to be cleaned"?

This question is increasingly difficult to answer and is strongly dependent on the type of industry in which you work. For the high-tech industry such as suppliers of semi-conductor parts other cleaning standards are demanded as for companies in the chemical or in the surface treatment sector. It is also important to know from what kind off material the object to be cleaned is, and its shape? Do the items have to be cleaned individually or per batch? Where can I hold the objects? May they rotate? What is the pollution etc.

Please contact B&M Service B.V. for the right advice.

Process engineering

Other parameters that influence the cleaning process:

For a good Ultrasonic sound propagation, the cleaning fluid must be as thin as possible.
Viscous liquids phase out the Ultrasonic cavitation effect.

For an optimum Ultrasonic operation, the cleaning fluid must be free of gas (oxygen).

Ultrasonic power
The ultrasonic power and intensity are directly linked to the volume of the bath and the geometry of the parts to be cleaned.

Ultrasonic frequency
Low frequencies are usually used to remove of “big” particles. (25 kHz.)
The higher frequencies are usually used to remove small particles.           (40 kHz. and higher up to 1 Mhz.)

For a right cleaning method it is important to collect relevant information.
B&M Service B.V. can advise you which cleaning process best fits your product and production method. Please contact us.


Where to apply Ultrasonic?

Ultrasonic is used in various ways in the industry. The most common applications are ultrasonic cleaning and ultrasonic welding of thermoplastics. Less known are: Ultrasonic nebulizing; Drilling; Sieving; Crushing; Non Destructive Detection; Medical ultrasound; Homogenization; Sonochemistry; Degassing; Leak detection; Disinfection etc.

Cleaning Solutions

Decarbonisation of engine parts
Derusting of machine parts
Oil / emulsion / particle removal on machine parts; ferrous and non-ferrous materials
Removal of  rubber brake dirt  on aircraft rims
Removal of organic and inorganic pollution on silicon wafers
Removal of fingerprints on glass; optical lenses; panels etc.
Removal of flux residues; oxide layers and particles on electronic components
Removal of flux / particles on Printed Circuit Boards
Removal of toner from fotocopy system parts
Removal of release agents in molds
Removal of polishing paste as preparation for, among other things, a galvano treatment
Removal of microparticles on microscope parts
Removal of atmospheric pollution on blinds; electrical filters etc.
Removal of deposition on heat exchanger plates
Cleaning of turbine blades and aircraft parts befor performing crack investigation. NDT (Non-destructive testing)
Etc, Etc...

Application areas:
Surface pre-treatment prior to PVD-CVD treatment.
Automotive, aviation and defense industries
Medical industry (components and orthopedic prostheses)
Optical industry and spectacle frames
Watch industry, jewelry, silverware and small components
Molds for plastic, glass and injection molding, and Industry for precision mechanics
Electronic industry, semiconductors and related.
Custom and specially designed cleaning systems
Final cleaning of components and fittings in the photovoltaic industry
Etc, etc ...


For companies whitch uses Ultrasound in a part of their own machine, we can advise and,if necessary, tailor and deliver Ultrasonic equipment on an OEM-basis. This occurs, for example, in surface treatment equipment and chemical / production processes.

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