Cleaning of Stamped Endless Metal Belts With Power Ultrasonics
Stamped metal tapes and belts, shaped wires as well as stamped / punched terminals, pins, or SMA actuators are produced as endless materials. The cleaning of these metals, which often serve as electronic components, is an especially challenging task, since these endless metal tapes and belts are often sensitive to harsh chemical or physical applications such as acid baths or brushing.
Ultrasonic waves removes residual particles through mechanical forces of oscillation and cavitation during post-stamping cleaning.
Precision Inline Cleaning of Endless Materials with Ultrasonics
Manufacturers of endless metals and fibres, e.g. operating strip feed lines, strip punching lines, strip presses, wire equipment, electroplating equipment, often need an efficient cleaning machine for after-process cleaning of the final product. Specified cleaning degrees are often a quality requirement for electronic components and therefore requested by the customer. High-performance ultrasonic inline cleaning systems by Hielscher Ultrasonics allow for intense and non-destructive removal of unwanted substances such as dust, dirt, and grease from endless materials such as stamped metal belts, cables, wires, and endless strands with complex structures.
- removing persistent dirt
- endless metal strips of various widths
- individual line speeds
- sensitive and thin materials
- sharp-edged metallic bands
- complex stamped / punched metal belts
Ultrasound waves have been proven to be a highly effective, non-destructive cleaning method for the efficacious and reliable removal of dirt, dust, grease and residual particles from endless metal bands, strips, belts, and wires.
The Working Principle: Ultrasound Waves for Cleaning of Endless Materials
Ultrasonic cleaning is an efficient and reliable method to remove unwanted dust, dirt, grease, and residual particles from the surface of metals, plastics, fibres, or glass. Hielscher Ultrasonics has developed high-performance ultrasonic cleaning systems for the efficacious and thorough removal of unwanted substances, such as dirt, grease, and other impurities from endless materials such as cables, wires, or metal belts.
Using innovative proprietary ultrasonic technology, intense cavitation fields are generated, so that very good cleaning results at high line speeds can be accomplished. As the cleaning effect is based on the physical cleaning effects of the ultrasound, it can be used for any ferrous and non-ferrous material, e.g. stainless steel, copper, aluminum, but also plastic or glass. As the ultrasonic power is applied highly focused to a low liquid volume, intense cleaning effects are achieved. At the same time, this use of focused ultrasound allows to realize a very compact design of the ultrasonic cleaning unit. Installations into new production lines as well as retro-fitting into existing production facilities are easily accomplished, e.g. directly after stamping or reel payoff.
How Does Ultrasonic Inline Cleaning Work?
Hielscher Ultrasonics is long-time experienced in high-power ultrasound systems. Powerful ultrasound generators and transducers generate intense oscillations at frequencies of approx. 20kHz. When such ultrasound waves are transmitted into a liquid, e.g. water, cleaning agent, acoustic cavitation occurs. Cavitation is an effect that is generated in liquids as result of alternating high-pressure / low-pressure cycles, which occur when ultrasound waves travel through a liquid. The resulting pressure waves create vacuum bubbles, that implode subsequently. As a result of these implosions, very high pressures and temperatures occur in combination with liquid jets of up to 1000km/h. At surfaces, these mechanical forces loosen impurities, so they can be flushed away with the cleaning liquid. For an intensive cavitation – and by that for an intensive cleaning – high amplitudes and a low ultrasonic frequency (approx. 20kHz) are needed.
Hielscher Ultrasonics offers various ultrasonic inline cleaning systems with matching sonotrodes, which can be precisely adapted to your endless material and specific cleanliness requirements.
Advantages of Ultrasonic Cleaning of Stamped Metallic Bands
Metallic components for electronic applications such as connectors, sockets, and transistors are manufactured and refined as endless profiles before they are cut to their final size. The processes such metal drawing and stamping produce significant amounts of dust and dirt, which need to be removed before downstream process steps such as coating steps and the final use of the metal piece.
Ultrasonic cleaning of endless metal strands offers numerous advantages and can be also successfully applied when conventional techniques such as brushing, chemical cleaning etc. are too harsh or mechanically damaging.
The removed dirt is continuously filtered and removed from the ultrasonic inline cleaning system so that a permanent high cleaning quality is achieved.
Cleaning is especially necessary
- after transport (dust, dirt, corrosion)
- after drawing (with oil or soap/stearate) or forming (rolling, rolling, punching, pressing)
- after milling or drilling
- before masking (masking varnish)
- to remove the masking varnish
- before overmolding
- before coating (extruder, painting, electroplating, …)
- before stranding of wire ropes
- before annealing
- before welding (pipes, fences, grids, …)
- before delivery to customers
Synergistic Ultrasonic Cleaning
Whilst the avoidance or very little use of cleaning agents is one of the major advantages of ultrasonic inline cleaning of endless materials, Hielscher Ultrasonics inline cleaning machines can be also used in combination with degreasing or passivating agents. Thereby, ultrasound-driven cleaning can be adapted to special requirements of cleanliness, e.g. for medical wires or special electronic components.
Using ultrasonic cleaning in combination with acidic or alkaline water-based cleaning agents for degreasing or nitric or citric acid for passivation allows for high-quality finishing of endless metals.
Contact Us! / Ask Us!
Literature / References
- Suslick, K.S. (1998): Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology; 4th Ed. J. Wiley & Sons: New York, 1998, vol. 26, 517-541.