Ultrasonic Bath Cleaner
Cost Reductions and Improved Performance Enabled by Microcontroller
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    28 Metal Processing
    29 Machinery, Specialist Machinery/Tools
    332 Appliances for Checking, Testing etc
Ultrawave Ltd is a manufacturer of Ultrasonic Cleaning Bath and Tank Systems. The smaller bath range, from 1 up to 25 litre capacity, are of pressed stainless steel construction, bonded with an appropriate number of transducers to produce high frequency sound waves in a cleaning medium of water and suitable detergent. A small electronic drive module of up to 500 watts of HF power generates the HF pulses to excite the transducers and provide the ultrasonic cavitation energy.

The larger tank systems are used for Industrial cleaning applications and the tanks are of welded fabricated rugged construction. The electronic drive modules are in multiples of the 500 watt versions used in the smaller bath systems, and there are no controlling facilities other than switching on/off the supply.

The object of the experiment was to use microcontroller technology to improve these products by the addition of the following features:

1. Increased and controllable power output with display
2. Variable frequencies to suit a wider range of applications
3. Shorter assembly and testing times
4. Substantial improvement in function and performance
5. Economic benefits in larger sales to new and wider markets

The microcontroller provided digital pulses whose shape, duration and amplitude could be accurately set to reduce the operational cleaning times and improve the cleaning quality. Additional features were to include power control, visual indication of actual frequency and self-diagnostic tests for finding faults and automatic shutdown. The inclusion of data logging would allow the user to record the process.

Parallel with the development of the microcontroller system was the power output stage to increase the available power from 500 Watts on a single module to 2.5 KVA. This being achieved with the use of the modern IGBT technology.

The total cost of the FUSE application was 36.8 KECU and the project was completed within the 8 month time scale and budget from a start date of 15 October 1997.

Payback will be within 21 months of the commencement of volume production and the return on investment (ROI) is predicted to be 413%.

The company's experience in improving its power amplifier outputs and adding increased functionality to its products will be of interest to companies with analogue design skills considering the adoption of digital and microcontroller technology for the first time. The demonstrator document will be of interest to the Technical Managers of small to medium sized companies operating in the metal processing and machinery industry sectors (Prodcom Code 28 and 29).
1 Oxford Street

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided ULTRAWAVE LIMITED with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
United Kingdom