Good vibrations: Alphasonics introduces its new ultrasonic technology to the industry
Since the inception of their ‘Dual Frequency’ Alphasound and ‘Supersweep’ technologies in 2000, Alphasonics have been at the forefront of pressroom cleaning technology, notably for Anilox cleaning. A common sight in pressrooms around the world, units produced by the Liverpool based manufacturer have excelled in ensuring cleaning of anilox rolls in a manner which is not only effective, but with guaranteed safety. Their unique use of two Supersweeping frequencies has meant that rolls of even the highest screen counts are immune to the potential problems of ultrasonic cleaning while maintaining high levels of performance. This has lead to relationships with many of the world’s largest press and roll manufacturers, along with their glowing recommendations.
This year marks the introduction of what they’re dubbing ‘Betasound’, a unique, simultaneous application of both high and low ultrasonic frequency pairings, combined with extremely wide frequency sweeps and multiple sweep rates to, in the words of MD David Jones, ‘Deliver a quantum leap in anilox cleaning technology as we move into the High Definition era.’
Through continuous Research and Development, new products have been added to their range including non-contact plate cleaning, parts washing systems and water recycling systems as well as developments in their products suited to Engineering and Medical industries respectively. However, the latest Alphasonics development is set to change how ultrasonics is applied to their entire product range, being born out of their R&D in the Medical Industry in particular, where complete and even cleanliness is a pre-requisite and absolutely essential.
The application of two frequencies into the tank at the same time is nothing new. However, Alphasonics have taken this one step further by enabling the operator to select two of four separate frequencies in high and low formats. This means the cleaning action is even more searching and increasingly consistent than previously with Alphasound, but is gentle enough to cause zero damage to rolls, which is guaranteed by the company.
“In academic circles, there is debate as to which delivers the more even ultrasonic distribution when applied to fluid – a frequency sweep, or two separate frequencies without sweep,” says Jones. “Alphasonics’ expertise is in the development and application of ultrasound and not with the theory per say. Whilst we are not academically qualified to say which method is most fruitful, with our technology, we are capable of delivering both options at the same time.”
The core of Alphasonics’ technology over the last twelve years has been a dual frequency generator that, in this case, has been tuned to be able to deliver either 55 or 98 khz individually. However, by changing the frequencies in half of the generators in any tank to say frequency A and frequency B in the first half of the generators and frequencies C and D in the second half, it is possible when Low frequency is selected; frequency A and frequency C will be applied together. Likewise, when high frequency is selected, B and D will be applied simultaneously. All of these frequencies are individually ‘Supersweeping’, meaning that the even distribution of this new and improved ultrasonics is assured. There is no ‘hiding place’, which means totally unmatched cleaning capabilities.
The effect of the application of the frequency pairings is to render the ultrasonics in the fluid, extremely even (more ‘even’ than the current Alphasound technology). Subsequently, the presence of the notorious ‘hot and cold spots’ which can be found in many single, low frequency systems that cause damage to aniloxes is completely eradicated.
“This is as good as it gets,” says Jones. “It’s a game changer. There is only one more step for us to take and this is subject to a patent application for use within the medical and surgical industries. Bringing medical grade ultrasonics to this industry means that high definition flexography is nothing to be scared of. Rolls of a screen count that previously were unthinkable or seemed light-years away are now here. The good news is they can be safely cleaned to the very highest standards available, whenever required regardless of the roll’s delicacy using Betasound. We’re delighted to have the technology that can keep up with the industry.”
Betasound will be offered at the quotation stage to new customers as an additional upgrade and also to existing customers as a refurbishment option. The aim is to eventually roll the technology out as standard across all systems.