A delicate washing cycle 14. August 2019 A growing number of parts, a higher volume of documentation and automation and increasing cleanliness requirements: the new ultrasound cleaning system shortens cleaning time and guarantees intensive but gentle cleaning. Cleaning has become a key process and a significant quality criterion in the production of complex components. Both the requirements and the possibilities of modern cleaning technologies have undergone a radical transformation in recent years. Today, in order to guarantee the required process safety, it is necessary to apply the corresponding monitoring and documentation in parts cleaning as well. In addition, speed plays a significant role. WILD has therefore invested in a new ultrasound cleaning facility that optimises both areas and guarantees a higher output for analytically pure parts. “Especially in the case of optical and medical products, the requirements for part cleanliness are on the increase. Such products include, for instance, cutting units, beam deflectors or assemblies for mass spectrometers. All of these must be completely free of any residues”, explains Manfred Santer, Team Manager in the area of fine cleaning. For this reason, they are assembled under cleanroom conditions and the new Elma X-tra pre 550-10-WLT-F-R cleaning facility is also part of this sensitive manufacturing area. Traceable process safety The loading of the baskets in the new facility is still done manually. Everything else is fully automated. The order and parts numbers, as well as the washing matrix are read directly by a scanner. Transport to the pick-up point, the washing cycle, including drying, and unloading of the baskets onto the conveyor are carried out automatically. “What’s important for us is precisely repeatable and traceable process safety. Each programme monitors and stores critical data such as conductance, temperature, ultrasound intensity and washing time, so that we can provide every customer with the documentation they require and immediately react when necessary,” Santer explains. 99 individual washing processes The machine allows 99 washing processes to be programmed, which can vary according to customer requirements and materials. A washing programme lasts for approx. 20 minutes and it is possible to have several programmes run in parallel. The system automatically calculates when the next programme will start. As a result, it covers an extreme variety of parts. Part sizes range from 5 x 5 x 5 millimetres to 430 x 260 x 230 millimetres. Moreover, many of the workpieces to be cleaned have highly complex geometries such as tiny drilling holes and are made of different materials, ranging from aluminium and stainless steel to ceramics and various plastics. WILD is also capable of delivering the required particle and analytical purity for parts with various surface pretreatments (elox, nickel, SurTec, ….).