We have covered the basics of diesel particulate filter (DPF) cleaning and maintenance and how the DPF affects your overall exhaust system in previous blog posts. With the expansion of our DPF services in collaboration with the proprietary solutions and techniques developed by DPF Alternatives, now is the perfect time to take a deeper dive into the unique aspects of top-level DPF cleaning and why not all DPF service methods are the same.
Understanding ultrasonic DPF cleaning
A diesel particulate filter is an exhaust after treatment device that filters out particulates like soot, ash and unburned hydrocarbons from your engine and is usually made of ceramic material. The DPF works in harmony with an oxidation catalyst and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve. Keeping all of these components clean not only helps them perform their intended function, it ensures your diesel engine runs smoothly and in compliance with EPA emission standards. It makes perfect sense that for the part of your system whose job it is to clean out particulates to perform efficiently, you need to keep the part itself clean.
There are different ways to clean a DPF, but a method called ultrasonic DPF cleaning is the best way to ensure a thorough restoration. Why? Because ultrasonic is the only method that has been proven to clean every individual cell of the DPF to the point of like-new condition. The goal of a typical cleaning is to restore components to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications. Doing so on a regular basis can dramatically increase the life of your equipment, thereby avoiding the need for costly replacements. It also directly affects your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
Ultrasonic DPF cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves blasted at the dirty components at millions of impulses per second. This generates microscopic bubbles that break down accumulated soot, ash and other contaminants. The second step is removing the contaminants from the filter, which is done with a specially-formulated cleaning solution. The solution prevents dirt from reattaching to the cells of the DPF. Once this two-step process is completed, the result is a DPF with OEM-like performance capability at a fraction of the cost of a replacement part.
Ultrasonic DPF cleaning compared to other methods
Although the ultrasonic cleaning method is a superior process that we recommend for most DPF service situations, there are other services that are useful to know about and can be performed in combination with ultrasonic cleaning. If you service your DPF regularly (as you should), it may be acceptable to utilize a lower-level cleaning method in cases where there is minimal buildup of harmful contaminants.
Air-knife cleaning is a base-level service that removes loose debris using air blasting. It is an environmentally safe process and comes with the lowest cost and fastest turnaround. One step up is an advanced regen “bake” service that helps remove particulates using a high-temperature baking process to effectively regenerate the components. Finally, a solution flush washes away particulates with a special cleaning solution, as we’ve already described.
All of these DPF methods can be combined as part of the highest-level ultrasonic service. Again, different maintenance plans and DPF conditions may dictate a selective service method, but in general we recommend that you aim for the most thorough DPF cleaning possible to ensure your emissions system stays safe and efficient. With such advanced techniques available, there’s really no reason to risk the shock of a five-figure equipment replacement! Contact Industrial Radiator Service if you’re ready for more information about ultrasonic DPF cleaning.