Cleaning — a necessary evil of this world. Within a few days after you’ve dusted off all the chairs, all the counters, all the knickknacks in the house, you put your finger on a chair to find another layer of dust.
What about cleaning grimy oil off engine parts? You take an old cloth, wiping and wiping, staining your fingers black as you try to get the interlocking metal parts clean. But the gears and other parts must be clean to mesh together and allow the engine to work smoothly.
Walk down the cleaning aisle of a grocery store, and you’ll see rows of cleaning materials, from bleach to floor cleaners. Cleaning is in itself a big industry, showing how important keeping their world clean is to people in our culture. But besides cleaning on a large, easily visible scale, so even tiny products must be clean and free from dust and grime. What about precise surgical instruments that must cut through minute sections of skin? A process called ultrasonic cleaning is often used to clean medical instruments.
The item is placed in a wire mesh basket and then dipped into a chemical tank. The chemical is a specially designed fluid, some sort of solvent. Ultrasound technology creates waves through the fluid, making tiny bubbles that form and break, removing dirt from the surface of the item being cleaned. Now the instrument is clean, even from tiny dust particles, and safe to use for surgery.
Three M Tool, a manufacturing company based in York, PA, designs custom wire baskets for this very purpose. Industries can buy baskets made to the exact size and shape they need for their products.
So this process of ultrasonic cleaning isn’t your typical spray-some-cleaner, scrub-it-up cleaning. It’s a high-tech process using electrical waves to clean off every single bit of dust or whatever particles are on an object. You put the medical instrument or whatever needs cleaning into the basket, put the basket into the tank and let the automated process go on by itself.
Another cleaning process, again often used for medical instruments, is called vapor degreasing. The instrument to be cleaned is placed in a custom stainless steel canister, which is placed above a tank containing a chemical solvent. The solvent is heated to a boiling temperature, and a vapor rises to surround the canister. The vapor removes dirt and oils from the instruments inside.
Did you know that there were so many unique kinds of cleaning? You don’t need to use just liquid chemicals to clean; some chemicals are so strong that the vapors alone can remove grease and oil and dirt from metals.
Custom wire baskets and canisters made by Three M Tool are designed to fit the needs of a specific company. Several manufacturers of medical instruments use Three M products to hold their parts as they go through the process of manufacturing and cleaning. Their website offers several suggestions and images of possible uses, but with CAD technology they can design new baskets to fit your company’s needs.