Cleaning of demanding geometries

Demanding materials and geometries of small micromechanical parts: Swiss watch manufacturer uses complete system with automatic process control for ultrasonic cleaning including condensation drying.

Until recently, a watch manufacturer from Switzerland used several systems for cleaning and drying its production components that were no longer able to cope with the increased requirements for very small parts. For this reason, the company decided to upgrade its machinery with a fully automated overall solution from KKS Ultraschall AG. It enables ultrasonic cleaning and condensation drying of all components within a cycle time of only 6 minutes per basket carrier. The new plant consists of 13 process tanks in which the bulk materials used are cleaned and dried.


A big challenge in this project was the demanding geometries of the smallest parts in connection with the high cycle time of the production. The different materials and shapes of the micromechanical parts, made it challenging to implement reproducible and time-critical processes. "We have been involved in cleaning micromechanical parts for over 30 years and have already implemented numerous cleaning projects for the watchmaking industry and medical technology," reports Frank Balmer, Head of Sales & Processing at KKS Ultraschall AG. "Thanks to our combined experience as a process service provider and as a plant manufacturer of individualized solutions, we can successfully implement customer-specific solutions for highly productive, fully automatic ultrasonic cleaning.


Individualized carrier system for cleaning bulk materials

To meet the high cycle times of the production process, KKS developed a carrier system that was individually adapted to the complex work steps. Each system contains two autonomous small baskets for micromechanical parts, which is driven by rotating and oscillating motion during the process steps. This creates the three-dimensional movement pattern required.


Cycle time less than 6 minutes

Two fully automatic linear guiding systems guarantee the time-coordinated and efficient execution of all processes. Due to the very delicate materials of the parts, the drying temperature must not exceed 45°C. The drying time must be reduced to an absolute minimum. The cycle time is ensured by a highly efficient dehumidification module integrated into the hot air drying circuit. "With the new complete system, the watch manufacturer can now not only achieve excellent cleaning results but also increase the capacity of parts being cleaned by more than 125 percent," says Frank Balmer. "The intuitive menu guidance of the system control and the flexibility offer the customer additional advantages in terms of ease of operation. By consistently focusing on customer needs in project management at KKS, the company can always offer its customers added value in the implementation of such highly specific process systems.


Details in brief

  • Fully automatic complete system for ultrasonic cleaning and subsequent condensation drying
  • 13 process tanks and 2 automated linear systems
  • Application for small micromechanical parts made of different materials and demanding geometries
  • Individualized product carrier system with miniature rotating baskets
  • Cycle times of less than 6 minutes per rack (2 baskets)
  • Maximum drying temperature of 45 °C


Picture 1: A watch manufacturer from Switzerland now uses a complete system including condensation drying from KKS Ultraschall AG for the cleaning of small micromechanical parts with demanding geometries. The bulk materials can be cleaned and dried efficiently and thoroughly automatically in a total of 13 process troughs at high cycle rates.

Picture 2: To achieve the high cycle rate, KKS developed an individualized carrier system with two fully automatic linear transfer systems.

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