Steve Myers, vice president of engineering for Ultrasonic Power Corporation, demonstrated to MRO Americas attendees on April 26 how an ultrasonic cleaner works.
The tanks can clean anything from hydraulics, engine parts, engine blades and landing gear to wheels using cavitation to clean off the grease, oils and carbon deposits. Components that have a solvent with a flashpoint cannot be cleaned to avoid thermal runway (an uncontrollable rise in temperature). During the show, Myers was demonstrating the equipment by cleaning jewelry.
The cleaning equipment is intended to be an alternative to chemical solvents by using only water and detergents. The detergents are biodegradable, so the user can allow the contaminated water to go down a drain, unless there are materials on the item being cleaned that can't normally be disposed of that way.
For maintenance, the cleaner generators need to be cleaned out, but the stainless steal tank itself is self-cleaning. The price is comparable to existing solvent system solutions and is available directly from Ultrasonic Power Corporation, reducing the cost.
Current customers of the ultrasonic cleaner include SpaceX.
You can find additional cleaning equipment and supplies for aviation components at MRO Links, MRO-Network.com's searchable directory.