the VORTEX Automated Centrifugal Small Parts Washer          Click To View

The VORTEX Centrifugal Ultrasonic Cleaning System is perhaps the most advanced, automated multi-stage ultrasonic cleaning system available. Its unique design includes both CROSSFIRE Multiple Frequency Ultrasonics to remove oils, coolants, particulate, and other contaminants, and the added benefit of centrifugal basket rotation, which accomplishes so many tasks, this entire brochure is required to describe its numerous benefits.

The cleaning of large batches of smaller components and metal stampings can be a difficult undertaking. These part loads tend to entrap liquids, which alone produces most of the problems encountered. Difficulties typically encountered when cleaning large batches of small parts include the following:VORTEX 1500 Centrifugal Ultrasonic Cleaner

1. Detergents Dragged into Rinsewater: Since parts entrap liquids, a good amount of detergent is moved into the rinse tank during each parts transfer. This will increase the consumption of expensive detergents, and eventually will lead to detergent spotting on parts.
2. Extended Drying Times: This is perhaps the largest hurdle to overcome. Large volumes of small parts are difficult to dry quickly. The outside of the batch can be dried, but the inside remains wet since the heat and air flow used in the drying tank can not reach the inside of the parts batch. As a result, drying times are excessive, and a bottleneck occurs, thereby slowing the entire process. It does not matter if your cleaning time is only a few minutes if drying requires several minutes. Plastic parts pose an even greater challence, since these parts can not be heated excessively.
3. Baskets Too Hot to Handle: Since excessive heat is used in the drying tanks on competitive system designs, baskets are ejected too hot to handle without protective gloves. Parts can not be packaged until a cool-down period is achieved.
4. Uneven Cleaning Results: The parts on the outside of the batch are cleaned, but the inside is more difficult to clean. Parts entrap contaminants, preventing its release into the processing fluids.

Most competitive cleaning systems attempt to overcome the above by slowly rotating the baskets during all processes. However, this is not the answer to the problem. Slow rotation of forces parts to continuously tumble onto one-another, which can produce scratches and other damage. Detergent drag-out still occurs, even if you tumble parts above the cleaning tank for several minutes. And, drying times are still extended, since slow rotation does not quickly remove excess liquids.

The VORTEX cleaning system includes centrifugal rotation to address the above listed difficulties. Centrifugal Rotation has the capability of drying parts over 90% in under 10 seconds, virtually eliminates detergent drag-out into the rinse, can provide zero-visible residues using tap water, and produces no parts damage, feats not possible using slow rotation tumbling-type parts washers.

VORTEX Operation:

Parts are first placed in cylindrical stainless steel baskets, which are then placed onto the included 3-position Load Conveyor. Operators then select one of several pre-programmed Operation Recipes for the particular parts being cleaned, using the Touchscreen Operator Interface. The start button is then depressed.

The first basket of parts is indexed to the Ultrasonic Cleaning Tank with the included Multiple Basket Transfer Automation System, which transfers multiple baskets in under 20-30 seconds, another benefit of the VORTEX design. Slow tumbling systems move only 1 basket at a time, with drastically extends the required cleaning time per basket. The MBT system included on the VORTEX moves all baskets simultaneously, for faster throughput.VORTEX 1000 Centrifugal Ultrasonic Cleaner

Once the basket is positioned over the cleaning tank, a variable-speed drive motor is coupled to the basket, and the basket is lowered into the heated ultrasonic cleaning tank.

Once submerged, the high-intensity, patented CROSSFIRE Multiple Frequency Ultrasonic System is activated, exposing the parts to 2 simultaneously operating frequencies of ultrasound, all operating at over 95% electrical efficiency. The ultrasonic action is capable of removing contaminants to microscopic levels, addressing blind holes and recessed part areas with ease.

Intermittently, the basket is also rotated, both clockwise, and counter-clockwise. This serves to flush loosened contaminants from within the layer of parts, and from within detailed part areas and holes. Folded metal areas are no longer a problem with the VORTEX design. While slow rotation systems fail to include the aggressive flushing action required to force fluid beneath these problem areas, the VORTEX centrifugal rotation cleans these areas with ease. Rotation speed, and ramping are user-adjustable. Should the parts be better processed using oscillation as well as rotation, the VORTEX includes the capability to add intermittent oscillation as well as rotation while baskets are submerged. In essence, parts are cleaned using 3 cleaning techniques; CROSSFIRE Dual Frequency Ultrasonics to loosen the contaminants, with rotation and oscillation to flush these loosened contaminants into the cleaning fluid and away from parts.

Upon completion of the submerged cleaning cycle, the basket is raised above the cleaning fluid, and rotated again, both clockwise and counterclockwise, and elevated speeds. Called the Extraction Cycle, this basket rotation sequence is the single most important detail which separates the VORTEX from competitive designs. By rotating parts above the cleaning tank, excess detergents are quickly extracted from the parts, preventing its transfer into the rinse fluid. This allows rinsewater to be used for extended periods, and can save thousands of dollars on deionized water costs if used as the rinse water. During the rotation, parts shuffle gently to the edge of the basket, and are held in place by centrifugal force. There is no damaging parts tumbling as used in competitive designs. Even the most sensitive components can be safety cleaned in the VORTEX.

The VORTEX now includes High Speed Oscillation during the extraction cycle for those parts which tend to trap liquids, such as cup shapes, metal folds, blind holes, and other details. This sequence jogs the basket up and down rapidly to toss parts gently in the baskets, thereby rotating them to spill their conteVORTEX Automated Load Conveyornts. Once this timed oscillation sequence is completed, the basket is again rotated to extract these liquids from the parts prior to transfer into the rinse tank. Oscillation speed is fully adjustable to prevent damage to sensitive components.

After completion of the extraction cycle, the first basket is raised into Transfer Position, and is transferred to 1 of 2 rinse tanks. If additional baskets reside on the load conveyor, a 2nd basket is transferred into the ultrasonic cleaning tank, while basket 1 enters the first rinse tank. Both baskets are locked to their respective drive motors, and submerged. Baskets are cleaned and rotated both clockwise and counterclockwise to clean and rinse as required. Since each tank includes completely separate programmable controls, operators can program racks in different tanks to perform different tasks. For example, the Ultrasonic Cleaning Tank will require periods of time where baskets are stationary to allow ultrasonic action to clean the parts. However, the rinse tank can be oscillated continuously, or extracted before the cleaning tank finishes its cleaning tasks to eliminate any bottlenecks. Once complete, both baskets raise above their liquids, and are rotated to extract liquids as previously described. Baskets are then raised, and transferred to the next tank.

This sequence continues in all tanks. Basket #1 eventually reaches the Drying Tank, where parts are continuously rotated at user-adjustable speeds while being exposed to warm air to dry parts quickly. A large batch of small parts can typically be dried in 3-5 minutes, thereby eliminating any bottleneck at the drying tank. Upon completion of the cycle, the basket is ejected onto the included 3-station Unload Conveyor, and can be handled immediately.

A perfectly cleaned and dried batch of parts is ejected every 2-5 minutes continuously. Our VORTEX 1800, with 18” basket diameter x 10” height, can typically clean over 6000 pounds of parts in a single 8-hour shift.
Cleanroom-grade VORTEX Cleaning System
Tap water can typically be used in the rinse, while still providing zero-residue performance. This is possible since water is REMOVED from the parts, and residues in the water never get a chance to dry on the parts. In fact NOT ONE VORTEX CUSTOMER USES DEIONIZED WATER IN THEIR RINSE TANKS TO PREVENT SPOTTING!

So, how fast is the VORTEX?? In applications where metal stampings are being cleaned, an 18" VORTEX with 10" basket height can process over 6000 pounds of parts in an 8 hour shift, all with a footprint of only 220" x 45" x 85" tall. No system anywhere in the world can accomplish what this system can.

Several options are available to enhance the VORTEX's design and operation. Filtered and non-filtered Process Area Enclosures, Cleanroon-grade components, Pump Fill and Drain Systems, Automatic Liquid Level Maintenance, detergent injection systems, additional processing tanks for rust preventative coatings or other processes, and other options are all available.

If you have a high-volume metal stamping or other parts cleaning application, contact Zenith Mfg. for additional details on the VORTEX, or another system style which may address your cleaning application.


Basket Size: 6", 10", 15", and 18" diameter, up to 10" basket height
Electrical Requirements: 208/220 volt 1 phase, 480 volt available.
Compressed Air Requirements: 10CFM intermittent use, 85-100PSI for a VORTEX 1800
Programmable Controller: Automation Direct (standard) GE Fanuc and Allen Bradley avaiable.
System Construction: Steel or stainless steel support frame, acrylic or stainless access panels, all 316L stainless steel processing tanks and wetted metals.
Ultrasonic System: Zenith CROSSFIRE Multiple Frequency (pat 5,865,199 and 6,019,852)
Fluid Compatibility: Solvent or Aqueous
Available Options: Pump drain, automatic fill and liquid maintenance, detergent injection, deionized water controller, spill sensor, HEPA filtration, cleanroom and industrial grade enclosures, actuated exit and entrance doors, fire suppression systems, fixtured baskets, and others.



VORTEX Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems:

  • Include Centrifugal Rotation to Improve Cleaning, Reduce Drag-out of Detergents, and Speed the Drying Process.
  • Fully-automated Operation.
  • Extract Liquids from Entrapment Areas of the Parts.
  • Typically Eject a Batch of Parts Every 5-7 Minutes.
  • Include Zenith's MBT Automation System for the Ultimate in Automation Reliability.

For a downloadable PDF Brochure, click here.


Zenith Ultrasonics
85 Oak St.
Norwood, NJ  07648-0412
800-432-SONIC (7664)
FAX: 201-768-6999


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