US 3901726 A
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United States Patent 1191 Snearly 1 1 Aug. 26, 1975 1 1 ULTRASONIC WATCH CLEANING METHOD  Inventor: Grady K. Snearly, 1607 E. Main, El
Dorado, Ark. 71730 [221 Filed: Apr. 9, 1974  App1.No,:459,310
 U.S. Cl. 134/1; 134/40; 252/158;
252/162; 252/171; 252/545  Int. Cl. B08b 7/02; 1308b 7/04;C11d 3/02 2,910,390 10/1959 Gruettncr et a1. 134/1 X 2 911,372 11/1959 Mizell et a1. ,1 252/158 X 3,113.761 12/1963 P1atzman 134/1 X 3,182,668 5/1965 Hansel] 134/1 X 3.375.133 3/1968 Scott 134/40 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,288,245 12/1962 France 252/162 548,960 10/1942 United Kingdom.... 134/1 238,707 7/1969 U.S.S.R 252/171 Primary Examiner-Barry S. Richman Attorney, Agent, or FirmGipp1e & Hale 5 7 1 ABSTRACT A process for the removal of foreign matter from a watch mechanism, comprising the steps of immersing the watch mechanism in a receptacle containing a solvent of clear petroleum hydrocarbon distillate, an anionic, cationic or non-ionic detergent and anhydrous ammonia, and subjecting the solution and watch mechanism to ultrasonic waves.
4 Claims, No Drawings ULTRASONIC WATCH CLEANING METHOD BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention generally relates to an improved process for cleaning watch mechanisms by immersing the watch mechanism in a room temperature cleaning bath which is subjected to ultrasonic waves in a conventional manner, and specifically to compositions used in the process which are efficient cleaning agents at ambient temperature.
The types of soils which may be present on the watch mechanism to be cleaned fall into three categories, namely, water-soluble, non-aqueous or solvent-soluble and insoluble. The removal of solvent-soluble soils presents little difficulty, and the quantity of watersoluble soils generally present in soiled watch mechanisms is so small that large quantities of water need not be present. The removal of insoluble soils, however, presents a problem, since their removal is by a method which is basically mechanical. Mechanical descaling methods in which insoluble oxide scale is removed from ferrous articles by bending, stretching, or tumbling can obviously not be applied to delicate watch mechanisms, nor can chemical descaling treatments using boiling solutions of, for example, neutral aqueous ammonia salts of strong acids, which are effective for removing from the surfaces of ferrous articles, scale resulting from prior heat treatment.
Previously, watches were dissembled part by part before they were cleaned. ln the present invention, one needs to only remove the movement from the case and clean it completely assembled. Furthermore, under the old cleaning method, dial finishes would be removed, while under the inventive cleaning method the dial finishes are not harmed.
When the inventive solution and rinse is used, the need to disassemble the watch movement to oil it is eliminated. The cleaning solution has lubrication mixed into it so that when the watch movement is rinsed and dried it is properly lubricated resulting in a better cleaned watch. The cleaning operation takes onetwelfth the time that it takes to clean a watch by previous methods.
DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART It is known that soiled articles may be cleaned by immersing such articles in a cleaning bath and applying ultrasonic waves to the bath. One such system as disclosed by US. Pat. No. 3,405,075 shows a cleaning system holding a suitable amount of cleaning solution in a tank in the botton of which a transducer is positioned so that the transducer face on the tank bottom is at the point of maximum pressure. When the tank is filled with solution to a depth which is an odd multiple of a quarter wave length, a standing wave can be established. Once a standing wave has been established in the wash tank, conditions for maximum resonance have been met. Under conditions of maximum resonance, the energy supplied through the ultrasolic transducer is effective under some conditions to dislodge particles of soil from the article to be cleaned.
When ultrasonic waves act parallel to the surface of a metal article. it has been observed that under proper conditions insoluble scale or soiled particles are swept away. This usage is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,529,998. In the practical use of Ultrasonics, where the ultrasolic waves are acting vertically or radially to the surface of the articles, their particular effect consists of smoothly removing soiled particles adhering to recesses in the metal surface. in the present invention, the novel composition plays an essential role in that maximum utilization of the ultrasonic energy applied to watch mechanisms in the solution results in efficient and quick cleaning.
A further advantage of this invention is that washing in ultrasonic equipment can be carried out under conditions which are relatively insensitive to the washing temperature. Previous cleaning compositions such as those set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 3,529,998 have often involved aqueous cleaning baths containing either harsh ammonium salt solutions or water soluble detergents which require very high temperatures for efficient cleaning often at or near that of boiling water. Such drastic conditions frequently cause corrosion staining of metal objects being cleaned, precluding use of such methods for cleaning delicate watch mechanisms. As is taught by US. Pat. No. 3,367,798 available transducers cannot be used at operating temperatures that exceed 150 to 160F. Even cleaning agents of lesser aggressiveness require temperatures of to C. for proper operation, although US. Pat. No 3,529,998 discloses use of such agents with ultrasonic cleaning equipment where an ammonium salt solution is used as coupling fluid.
in spite of this previously mentioned prior art, watches are still cleaned by dissembling the movement, part by part, cleaning and rinsing the parts and then reassembling and oiling the mechanism. As is apparent, this is a time consuming operation as parts are usually lost requiring the watch maker to spend a significant portion of his time looking for small parts that he has dropped. It was to overcome these problems that the present invention was developed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a method of washing watches in ultrasonic cleaning equipment with maximum utilization of the energy supplied by the ultrasonic waves for the removal of both solvent-soluble and solvent-insoluble soils on soiled watch mechanisms at ambient or low temperatures in an efficient and economical manner.
This cleaning is accomplished by immersing the watch mechanism to be cleaned in a solution consisting essentially of petroleum hydrocarbon solvent, a nonionic, cationic or anionic emulsifying agent and anhydrous ammonia.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODlMENT The present invention, a watch cleaning solution composition, has been found effective when used with ultrasonic waves of a desired frequency. The solution comprises a combination of one gallon ofa water-white petroleum liquid hydrocarbon solvent prepared by straight-run distillation of crude oil and deodorized under a depolarization process disclosed in US. Pat. No. 2,553,624 and additives. A commercial solvent suitable for use in the invention is "Deodorized Apco l25,"a petroleum solvent manufactured by the Anderson-Prichard Oil Corporation. To this solvent an additive is added ranging in amount from one to two ounces of an emulsifying agent of the non-ionic, cationic or anionic classes such as high-molecular weight alkyl sulfates, alkyl sulfonates and alkyl aryl sulfonates, ethylene oxide addition products of high molecular weight, fatty alcohols and fatty acids, high molecular weight acids, amides, amines or mercaptans of which the following are examples: lsooctylphenyl ployethylene glycols where the number of ethylene clycol units is from two to l2, tetrakis-4-hydroxipropyl-ethylene diamene ester oleic acids quaternized with dimethyl sulfate, and amine salts of dodecyl benzene sulfonic acid. Another additive of anhydrous ammonia of one ounce or less is added to complete the solution.
In the first example of the invention, 2 ounces of commercial Reetone-C dry cleaning detergent (sold by American Riverside, Incorporated) and onesixteenth ounce of anhydrous ammonia is added to one gallon of the water-white petroleum solvent.
A second example of the cleaning composition uses one gallon of water-white petroleum solvent to which is added a detergent ranging from 1 to 2 ounces weight of commercial lCl 6-71 I" (sold by Atlas Chemical Division, lCl America, Inc.) comprising 96% isopropyl amine dodecyl benzene sulfonate and approximately 4% water and anhydrous ammonia having a weight less than 1 ounce. In both examples of the invention the solution was maintained at a temperature ranging from ambient to 150F.
The watch mechanisms were immersed in the aforementioned solutions and then energized with ultrasonic energy from a standard source, preferably having a wave frequency between 15 and 40 kilohertz, for a suitable time period after which the watch mechanisms were cleaned.
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description of the embodiments of the invention as shown in the accompanying drawings.
What is claimed is:
l. A process for the removal of foreign matter from a watch mechanism, comprising the steps of immersing a watch mechanism in a receptacle containing a liquid cleaning solution consisting essentially of a clear hydrocarbon distillate solvent anhydrous ammonia and a member selected from the group consisting of anionic, cationic and non-ionic detergents and subjecting said solution to ultrasonic waves.
2. A process according to claim I wherein the detergent is isopropyl amine dodecyl benzene sulfonate present in an amount between 1 and 2 ounces per gallon of solvent.
3. A process according to claim 1 wherein the ultrasonic waves have a frequency between 15 and 40 kilohertz.
4. A process according to claim 3 wherein said clear hydrocarbon distillate is a water-white liquid petroleum hydrocarbon distillate.