For an average consumer, the only things that they can associate with parts washers are their clothes washing machines and their dishwashers. These two residential machines, which are also used in commercial settings such as restaurants and laundry mats as well as on industrial scales, are actually fair models for the more large and intense systems. The variations in motion and variations in immersion levels amongst parts washers can pretty easily be compared to the most common cleaning machines on the market.
Clothes washing machines are similar to tumbling parts washers because of the type of motion that occurs to clean the clothes or small parts. Of course, there are some major distinctions between the two, but all in all they are similar enough to discuss. Within a designated space in the machine, clothes are completely immersed in water and then spun so that they tumble one over another and are cleaned by way of tumbling contact with each other as well as the soap and water. Tumbling parts washers function in much the same way, with the parts needing cleaning collected into baskets are left in the large water compartment. Often these machines have a variety of settings, all of which involve tumbling the basket so that the parts are in constant motion while they are being cleaned.
Dishwashers are more like spray washers, which cycle parts through a machine by way of a conveyor belt, which means the parts, like dishes, do not move from the spot they are in when they enter the system. Instead intense amounts of water are sprayed at them, which cleans them just as well as immersion and tumbling can. Sometimes the type of parts washer being used is based on the parts and their dimensions, and sometimes on the energy or cost limitations of the company who buys the washer. Regardless of how much as system costs, having any parts washer model is better then none at all.