Cleaning Electronics With an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Ultrasonic cleaning has become one of the most popular ways to clean electronics. The process saves time and improves results without compromising safety. Let’s take a quick look at how an ultrasonic electronics cleaner can be used effectively for circuit boards, PCB, and electrical assemblies.

Ultrasonic cleaners now play a crucial role in the circuit board and electronics assembly process. An ultrasonic circuit board cleaner helps to improve SIR test results while reducing rework and improving reliability.

An ultrasonic cleaner can safely and effectively remove solder paste and flux residues from post-reflowed circuit assemblies. If you are using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean PCBs after wave soldering, it is easiest to begin soon after the soldering process. Make sure that you allow the boards to cool below 70°C before starting the ultrasonic PCB cleaning process.

In the past, ultrasonic cleaners operated at a single frequency, and it was found that certain components in electrical assemblies suffered damage from the harmonic vibrations set up by the ultrasonic wave.ultrasonic circuit board PCB cleaner However, ultrasonic cleaners using frequency “sweeping” have been developed that quickly and reliably clean the electrical assemblies without causing damage. In Sweep mode, the frequency is continuously varied slightly, eliminating the potentially damaging standing wave.

Although there may have been a concern in the past about ultrasonically cleaning electrical components, the frequency sweeping ability of today’s ultrasonic electronics cleaners should alleviate any trepidations going forward. From using an ultrasonic cleaner on circuit boards all the way to small electrical components, the cleaning process is now faster and safer than ever.

If you regularly clean electronic parts, an ultrasonic electronics cleaner is the best tool for the job. The common concern is that ultrasonic cleaners will destroy delicate components. However, advances in ultrasonic technology have eased this concern by replacing the single frequency wavelength approach-known to harm electronic parts-with a variable frequency approach, called “sweeping.” This advance in ultrasonic technology has not only led to reduced production costs, but has proven to enhance reliability, thus reducing warranty costs as well.

In the area of electronics, every circuit board, PCB, and electrical assembly is reliant on precision craftsmanship, with no room for imperfection. In the past, the ultrasonic cleaning of electrical components was not viable. Certain electronic components immersed in an ultrasonic bath would be damaged by the harmonic vibrations set up by the single-frequency ultrasonic wave. In Sweep Mode, the frequency is continuously varied slightly, eliminating the potentially damaging standing wave. Additionally, Sweep technology offers more uniform cleaning of parts by eliminating “dead zones” where no cavitation occurs in the bath. Cavitation is the formation and energy-releasing implosion of tiny vacuum-filled bubbles generated by the ultrasonic waves.