How to use an Ultrasonic Cleaner for Food and Beverage EquipmentMarch 11th, 2011
Cleaning and sanitation operations in the food and beverage industry can often be streamlined by using an ultrasonic cleaner as part of a standard procedure to quickly and thoroughly remove syrup build up, oils, food and other residues from processing and filling equipment. Manual scrubbing and commercial parts washers using detergents and sprays cannot match the power of ultrasonic cavitation in removing all soils and contaminants from intricately shaped parts, blind holes and crevices. Nor can conventional methods match the speed of an industrial ultrasonic cleaner where complete cleaning cycles can take as little as 10 to 15 minutes.
The Power of Ultrasonic Cavitation
Ultrasonic cleaners such as available from Tovatech are manufactured in a variety of sizes ranging from tabletop to multi-stage industrial systems. Regardless of the size of the unit the principle of operation is the same. Maintenance personnel fill the unit’s tank with a biodegradable ultrasonic cleaning solution. Attached to the tank are ultrasonic transducers powered by the unit’s generator. When the equipment is turned on the generator excites the transducers to an ultrasonic frequency that creates billions of minute bubbles in the cleaning solution. Units suitable for cleaning metal food and beverage equipment other than polished aluminum would typically operate at 25,000 – 45,000 cycles per second (25 – 45 kHz); higher frequencies are generally recommended for cleaning polished aluminum and glass components.
Components to be cleaned are placed in mesh baskets with care taken that they do not come into contact with each other. After the ultrasonic cleaner is turned on baskets are lowered into the solution. As the bubbles contact the components they implode violently to quickly and safely blast away contaminants in a process called ultrasonic cavitation. Because the bubbles are so small they can reach all surfaces – cracks, crevices and the inside of piping and tubing.
After the cleaning cycle components can be rinsed with hot water to remove all traces of the cleaning solution. They can then be reassembled after drying.
Size for the Job
Ultrasonic cleaning equipment can be in a fixed location where parts are brought to be cleaned. An option is roller-mounted industrial units consisting of an ultrasonic cleaning and rinsing tank that can be moved throughout the processing plant to clean on location. All that is required is an electrical outlet. At the other end of the scale, compact tabletop ultrasonic cleaners can be used in coffee houses, cafeterias and restaurants to remove stains and oils from beverage dispensers, pots, pans and cooking utensils.
In summary, an ultrasonic cleaner is a fast, efficient way to clean food and beverage processing equipment. Plant maintenance personnel may find that the thoroughness of cavitation can actually increase the time between cleaning cycles. Ultrasonic equipment suppliers such as Tovatech can help specify equipment and operating procedures that meet user requirements.
How does your business clean food and beverage processing equipment? How long does the process take and how frequently do you shut equipment down for the cleaning operation?
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