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Magnetostrictive Ultrasonic Cleaning Succeeds Where Less Powerful Piezoelectric Ultrasonics Fail

Case Study: nPB (N-Propyl Bromide) Replacement

N-Propyl Bromide (nPB or 1-Bromopropane) is a toxic solvent often used in cleaning or vapor degreasing applications. As a suspected human carcinogen and proven animal carcinogen, it has been targeted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for risk evaluation and the European Union has banned it’s use without authorization after July 4, 2020. It is clear that nPB use will soon be banned or greatly restricted and existing users are encouraged to look for a replacement.

Companies presently using nPB are searching for safe, economical and effective replacements for nPB and Magnus Engineered Equipment has been successful in assisting customers to replace nPB with less costly, non-hazardous chemistry while accomplishing the same or improved cleaning. The following is an example where Magnus Engineered Equipment helped a customer develop a cleaning process utilizing nPB and then further helped them replace nPB with non-hazardous, environmentally friendly chemistry.

Highly crosslinked polyurethane is one of the toughest and most durable polymers, and producers often mold this material into usable items such as wheels for roller coasters and skateboards, hoses and automotive suspension bushings. The molds can become contaminated and cleaning the molds is a difficult and time-consuming process.

MEE worked with a customer to develop a chemical cleaning process for their polyurethane molds (steel and aluminum). Previously, a media blasting method was utilized to clean the molds and the process required mold dis-assembly and up to 4 hours of blasting. Using MEE Powersonics, the world’s most powerful magnetostrictive ultrasonic cleaning technology, MEE was able to demonstrate mold cleaning in less than 5 minutes with no mold dis-assembly. (This result was not achievable with less powerful piezoelectric ultrasonic cleaning). With this success in hand, attention was directed at finding a safer chemistry. Powersonics coupled with Acrastrip chemistry by US Polychem was able to replicate the performance achieved with nPB. Acrastrip is a water-soluble, non-hazardous environmentally friendly cleaner that was designed to replace acetone, toluene, MEK, Methylene Chloride, Xylene, MIBK, NPB, Ketones, and other petroleum-based products. In addition, Acrastrip is HAPS free, biodegradable, non-flammable, non-toxic, pH neutral and recyclable.

A Polyurethane mold cleaned with powerful 20 kHz magnetostrictive ultrasonic technology and water-based Acrastrip cleaner

The cleaning tandem of MEE magnetostrictive ultrasonics and Polychem Acrastrip is one example of how MEE can assist customers who are looking to replace nPB with a safer, more cost-effective and quality cleaning operation. MEE Powersonics is the world’s most powerful ultrasonic cleaning technology and can often deliver successful cleaning where less powerful piezoelectric ultrasonics fail.

 

Engine Remanufacturing

Magnus Engineered Equipment (MEE) has been supplying cleaning equipment to leaders in the remanufacturing industry since the 1950’s. The remanufacturing process begins with a thorough cleaning of engine blocks and associated components so they can be properly inspected.  Removal of carbon, oil and grease, paint and other contaminants in necessary to inspect for microcracks and to make accurate measurements.  In addition, blocks, heads, connecting rods, crankshafts and camshafts are thoroughly cleaned to remove contaminants that can result in premature wear to internal engine components and early engine failure.

MEE has supplied thousands of cleaning systems to the remanufacturing industry and these systems generally employ immersion agitation to clean the substrates.  Recently, there has been interest in incorporating ultrasonic cleaning technology in order to more thoroughly clean oil passages and other hard to clean areas.

Ultrasonic cleaning utilizes transducers which convert electrical energy into acoustic energy in the cleaning solution.  Cavitation bubbles are formed which aggressively and quickly clean the substrate.  MEE supplies 20 kHz magnetostrictive transducers which deliver the highest cleaning power in the industry.  Unlike the more common piezoelectric transducers, magnetostrictive transducers are better suited for cleaning large substrates such as engine blocks, and MEE transducers deliver approximately 25 times more cleaning power than the 40 kHz piezoelectric transducers.

Figure 1 – A typical Heavy Duty Cleaning Tank for Heavy Loads

MEE equipment is well suited for handling large and heavy substrates.  Engine blocks in excess of 5000 lbs can be cleaned via immersion agitation and ultrasonic cleaning.  Figure 1 shows a typical cleaning tank supplied by MEE and Figure 2 and 3 show before and after pictures of engine components cleaned with MEE ultrasonics.  The use of 20 kHz ultrasonic cleaning coupled with immersion agitation cleaning delivers the most thorough and fastest cleaning for engine remanufacturing.

 

Before Cleaning After Cleaning with 20kHz Ultrasonics

Figure 2: Before and After Pictures of an Engine Block cleaned with 20kHz magnetostrictive ultrasonics

Before Cleaning After Cleaning with 20kHz Ultrasonics

Figure 3: Before and After Pictures of an Engine Components cleaned with 20kHz magnetostrictive

Achieving Excellent Part Cleaning with Maximum Water and Energy Savings

Magnus Engineered Equipment (MEE) has been providing cleaning solutions for our industry partners since its founding in the 1950’s.  MEE supplies the majority of gun manufacturer’s with cleaning equipment and recently worked with one such customer to solve a challenging barrel cleaning problem.  An immersion cleaning system was designed, constructed and tested and the cleanliness results exceeded those delivered by more costly and inefficient pressurized cleaning systems.  The system was fully contained and minimized water and energy consumption with filtration and oil coalescence technology.  Consistent and repeatable cleaning is achieved while minimizing water and energy usage, and cleaning chemistry usage and disposal.

MEE’s experienced staff of engineers can solve most cleaning challenges and welcomes an opportunity to work with you to solve your cleaning requirement, or modernize an existing cleaning operation to achieve:

  • Water conservation
  • Energy conservation
  • Cleaning chemistry conservation
  • Waste minimization
  • Elimination of hazardous chemistry
  • Improved safety
  • Increased throughput
  • Consistent and Repeatable cleaning
  • Reduced labor requirement