Explosion-Proof Ultrasonic Cleaner: When to Use and Why?

Explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners are the ideal for cleaning difficult-to-clean industrial items that cannot be sanitized through more conventional methods.

These cleaners make use of flammable solvents to provide a deep cleaning action to the items that are heavily covered with contaminants.

Unlike traditional, water-based cleaning methods and devices, explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners work with hazardous materials that must be handled carefully.

If you are working in an environment that requires the use of an ultrasonic cleaner, it’s important to understand the nature of flammable materials, the limitations and the purpose of the cleaners being used.

As such, this guide can prove useful in knowing better about explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners that are safe to work with flammable liquids.

Let’s take a detailed look at the different working components of these ultrasonic cleaners and how they come together to provide a quality clean.

What is a Flammable Liquid?

A flammable liquid is defined as any liquid that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 38.7 degrees Celsius).

That sounds like a technical definition, so let’s break it down.

In layman’s terms, a flammable liquid is one that will easily catch fire. In general, this occurs when the flashpoint of a liquid (or the temperature at which a liquid will burn) is low.

For ease of use, we classify any low temperatures in this context as any temperature up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Flammable liquids, then, are those that can catch fire at any temperature below this point. How does this happen?

Simply put, it’s not the liquid that ignites. Instead, it’s the vapor or gas that’s given off from the liquid.

Flammable liquids will give off this gas at any temperature 100 degrees Fahrenheit or below, making them more susceptible to ignition.

This is why flammable liquids are generally stored in special environments and why it’s never advised for you to keep highly flammable materials out in the open.

Can I use acetone in ultrasonic cleaner?
No, you should not use acetone or isopropyl alcohol in an ultrasonic cleaner machine. The fact is using isopropyl alcohol in an ultrasonic cleaner can be highly dangerous for anyone unless it’s a blast-proof ultrasonic tank.

Why Use Explosion-Proof Ultrasonic Cleaner?

Ultrasonic cleaners convert electrical energy into sound waves that are used to create cavitation action through the bubbles in the solvent.

When this occurs, contaminant molecules clinging to the product you are cleaning break off and clear away.

This revolutionary cleaning method has helped clean a variety of hard-to-clean items, such as x-ray tubes, pressure regulators, and printer parts.

What we’ve just described is actually the standard form of ultrasonic cleaning. These cleaners use water-based solvents to clean materials.

Technological advancements, however, have allowed upgraded, flammable solvent ultrasonic cleaners to come into the market.

Knowing the power of the more traditional, water-based cleaners, we must ask ourselves an important question: why use explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners instead?

The answer is actually simpler than you may think.

Flammable solvents provide a more efficient clean. This is in large part due to their propensity to evaporate.

Despite this, flammable solvents have long been unavailable for ultrasonic cleaning. This is because the mechanisms that run traditional ultrasonic cleaning devices could trigger the flash-point of flammable solvents and cause the machine to explode.

That’s why it’s important to use explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners to obtain the best possible clean for items.

These cleaners can incorporate flammable solvents such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA), acetone, toluene, MEK or gasoline and provide deep cleaning to materials that cannot be cleaned by human hands.

With explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners, you can get industry-level results without worrying about fires or damage to the products being cleaned.

This is a breakthrough that enables the quick and efficient cleaning of countless hard-to-clean items. In general, these cleaners operate in temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.


Industries Where These Cleaners Are Used Most

Now that you know the basics about explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners, it’s time to get an idea of their wide-ranging applicability.

These tools are some of the most versatile cleaning machines on the market, and their many uses might surprise you.

In general, ultrasonic cleaners may be used to:

  • Safely clean medical supplies
  • Gently clean antiques
  • Clean digital equipment
  • Clean nozzles
  • Clean car parts
  • Deep clean and polish jewelry
  • Clean small parts too small for human hands

As you can see, explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners are not confined to one field. Though they are widely employed in the medical industry to provide Grade A clean to medical supplies, they can also be important tools in more local settings, as well.

For example, ultrasonic cleaners provide a safer alternative to cleaning antiques like coins and other fragile materials.

Ultrasonic cleaners can also be used by businesses to polish and refine jewelry and other fine gems before selling or reselling them.

The applicability of ultrasonic cleaners, and of explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners, in general, looks to increase in the coming years as more and more businesses seek a safer, alternative route to industrial-grade cleaning.


How to Safely Use Flammable Solvents in an Ultrasonic Cleaner?

By now, you already know not to use flammable solvents like IPA and Acetone in a standard ultrasonic cleaner.

This is because the generator that is used to power standard cleaners can directly ignite these liquids and cause a fire or an explosion.

Tips, Steps, and Precautions You Need to Follow

In short, you know not to add flammable solvents to a standard ultrasonic cleaner, but are there any special precautions or steps you must take when adding a flammable solvent to one that is explosion-proof?

Below are the right steps you will need to follow while operating an ultrasonic cleaner with flammable liquids:

Step – 1

In general, you want to place and operate your cleaner in a well-ventilated area to help fight against the fumes that will be released during the cleaning process.

Step – 2

After filling the ultrasonic cleaning tank with surfactant-filled water, you should engage the degas function on your machine or operate until all trapped air is released from the cleaner.

Step – 3

Once this is done, you need to place the materials you wish to clean into flasks or beakers and cover them in the solvent you wish to use.

In this case, you will be using a flammable solvent, so be careful not to drop or spill the liquid as you place the materials into the machine. You will need to put a cap over the solvent.

Remember: Do NOT place the cap down firmly. This can lead to pressure build-up that causes the cap to explode.

Step – 4

Place a lid over the tank, making sure the lid has spaces for your containers. Lower your containers into the tank, making sure that they are covered at least two to three inches.

Step – 5

Make sure that your containers are floating in the tank and are not touching the bottom. Once this is done, switch on the cleaner and wait for the cleaning process to finish.

Following these general steps can help you and those around you remain safe.

Be sure not to operate any other machinery near your cleaner, as it could cause the gases in the air around you to ignite.

To put it simply, you don’t want your lab or cleaning area to go up in flames because of a careless mistake.

Before you or anyone on your team operates an explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaner, make sure everyone is aware of the guidelines.

Having everyone on board is a great way to ensure efficient cleaning and team safety.

It’s a good idea to make sure that all group members are aware of any compliance issues or safety protocols before operating the machinery.

That being said, explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners, when treated with care, are safe and reliable machines for industries.


How to Select the Best Ultrasonic Cleaner for Flammable Solvents?

Knowing this, let’s take a look at another important aspect of explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners.

How to choose the best?

Which ultrasonic cleaner you need for using flammable fluids and solutions depends on a few important factors.

Let’s examine each of these factors in turn so that you can make the most informed decision when it comes to purchasing your ultrasonic cleaner.

1- Size:

First, you need to consider the scope of your project. If you are cleaning large items or many items at once, you will need a more heavy-duty cleaner that is equipped to deal with large-scale cleaning tasks.

If you don’t require this level of cleaning, however, smaller portable sized machines will work for you.

2- Solvents:

What type of flammable solvents do you intend on using? Obviously, if you are using flammable solvents, you will need to invest in an explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaner.

Ordering the wrong cleaner in this regard can have disastrous effects.

3- Code and Zoning Requirements:

Before ordering your cleaner, you should check up on all relevant code and zoning requirements to ensure that the machine you buy is compliant.

4- Evaporation:

Gases evaporate, and since flammable liquids give off gas, it’s important to understand that your workplace could become hazardous if you operate an explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaner.

For this reason, it is required that you not operate any external sources of power around your cleaner so that you avoid the possibility of potentially igniting gas fumes lingering in the air.