the VORTEX Automated Centrifugal Small Parts Washer
The VORTEX Centrifugal Ultrasonic Cleaning System is perhaps the most
advanced, automated multi-stage ultrasonic cleaning system available. Its unique
design includes both
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
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:
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
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.
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.
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 contents.
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.
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
System Construction: Steel or stainless steel support frame, acrylic or
stainless access panels, all 316L stainless steel processing tanks and wetted
Ultrasonic System: Zenith
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.
VIDEO CD AVAILABLE. CONTACT ZENITH FOR DETAILS
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
Automation System for the Ultimate in Automation Reliability.
For a downloadable PDF Brochure,
85 Oak St.
Norwood, NJ 07648-0412