Using ultrasonic cleaning in rotating machines

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When it comes to keeping rotating equipment operating at peak performance, the need for a thorough and effective cleaning process becomes paramount. Whether you are servicing turbines, pumps, compressors, generators or motors, your approach must be thorough to ensure optimal efficiency. But that doesn’t mean you must sacrifice precious man hours – which translates directly to dollars and cents – to make it happen.

Less Effective and Slow vs. More Effective and Fast

Consider the plight of a leading global provider of quality and innovative engineered compressor systems. Its service teams are responsible for keeping screw compressors, bearings, gears, adjustment shifts, and motors humming. Part of that responsibility requires regular cleaning which had traditionally been accomplished with a small industrial parts washer.It was theirchosen cleaning method because of its ability to cut through harsh contaminants while ensuring the health and safety of the provider’s service team members. However, this methodology still required manual cleaning which, while effective, was time consuming.

The company recognized the need for greater efficiency. It receives many spare parts from international shipping that are packed in lots of grease. It traditionally cleaned these parts by hand because that was the most thorough and effective method for getting the job done right. However, the man hours required slowed the entire operation down. The company had to find a better way.

To address this issue, last year, the compressor system providers et out to learn more about ultrasonic cleaning technology. It collaborated with Omegasonics, a leading manufacturer of ultrasonic cleaning systems located in Simi Valley. Omegasonics took several small parts and demonstrated for the firm just how effective its ultrasonic equipment and cleaning process could be – especially for their rotating equipment applications.

How Ultrasonic Cleaning Technology Works

Ultrasonic cleaning technology is created by generators that produce high frequency electricity. This electricity is then converted into sounds waves through a transducer, which makes the waves vibrate.

As the waves travel through water, tiny vacuum bubbles form and repeatedly implode upon any surface they encounter, removing even microscopic dirt particles. These cavitation bubbles reach and clean grooves, cracks and hidden crevices more effectively than alternative methods.


There are many different models and unit sizes of ultrasonic machines, and they can even be customized and retrofit to meet unique and specific cleaning applications.Ultrasonic cleaning units offer high-quality, precision results with even small intricate pieces or uniquely shaped or sized parts. They are an excellent way to lower labor costs and increase production efficiency. These units are easy to use and setup – and no training is required. Plus, because they only use EPA-approved water-based solutions, they reduce the use of toxic solvents and expensive waste removal services.

The Solution: Omegasonics OMG4430

This past fall, this compressor manufacturer began using a 208 gallon, ultrasonic cleaner with a bath size of 40″x30″x30″. It is designed for machine applications and can easily tackle the cleaning of rotating equipment parts that are oily and/or dirty. Its dual-cartridge filtration system traps contaminant particles that have been removed from the parts being cleaned. Filtering the cleaning fluid reduces the frequency with which the tank must be drained and the fluid replaced and reheated – a task that can take up to several hours.

The Result: Clean time was reduced by 75%

The compressor system provider’s results were impressive:

  • Small industrial parts were cleaned in 15 minutes compared to the hour that it previously took to clean.
  • Production increased as workers were able to perform other tasks while the parts were being cleaned in the machine.
  • It became possible to clean many different materials with the same cleaning solution, saving the company both time and money.

This manufacturer quickly learned that for rotating equipment applications especially, ultrasonic cleaning is more thorough, cost-effective and time efficient – and for them, the only way to go.

Frank Pedeflous is the president of Omegasonics, a California-based manufacturer of ultrasonic cleaning systems.