ULTRASONIC CLEANING – PERFORMANCE TESTING
In the world of ultrasonic cleaning not all ultrasonic cleaners were created equally. Performance can vary dramatically across the ultrasonic cleaner product range. Many brands of ultrasonic cleaners fail the ultrasonic performance test from day one of their working life. Unfortunately it is better to discover the inefficiency sooner rather than later and to minimise further losses and performance through poor ultrasonic cleaning. The importance of the ultrasonic performance tests as recommended by Standards Australia has a twofold benefit to the consumer.
- You will know your ultrasonic cleaner is cleaning through the whole tank and not just in sections of the tank.
- The ultrasonic cleaner should be serviced if it is not passing the performance test and so you reduce the future down time of the cleaner scheduling in a service now rather than later when the machine can become damaged.
The risk of incomplete sterilisation is high if medical instruments are not completely cleaned in the ultrasonic cleaner because the ultrasonic cleaner is not cleaning the whole tank as it should. This could lead to the sterilization process failing and potential cross contamination infection between patients.
In the case of ultrasonic cleaning of parts or circuit boards the ultra-sonic cleaner must clean through the whole tank or you run the risk of the part or circuit board failing. A circuit board only partially ultrasonically cleaned of flux after a repair could be subjected to electrical arcing on the unclean sections causing damage. Also if you are cleaning parts before final painting the paint may not adhere properly to an unclean surface.
You should carry out an ultrasonic performance test on your ultrasonic cleaner when you first purchase it so you can have confidence that the ultra-sonic cleaner is functioning correctly. If you subsequently notice any change in the length of time needed to clean parts or if the ultrasonic cleaning performance changes in any way, a performance test should be made. We recommend that a performance test is made every month but many organizations’ perform more regular testing.
Various ways of carrying out a performance test are available. “Standards Australia” recommends the foil or graphite on disk test. Some tests only test small sections of the tank but we recommend using the foil test because this test checks the whole tank for cavitation. The process is quick, simple and effective.