Laser beam cleaning is a method that, for quite some time now, is no longer solely implemented for mold cleaning, but that can also be implemented to clean a wide range of different components during processing. The success of laser cleaning as an alternative to conventional cleaning methods can be attributed to the numerous advantages of the process. For one, the method only incurs very low operating costs, since no cleaning agents are used and no waste disposal is required. Secondly, the process is very precise and gentle on surfaces. Finally, the excellent cleaning results that can be achieved with the laser beam are ultimately the decisive factor. The laser evaporates oxides, dirt particles of all kinds and above all impurities from polymer-based lubricants, which are particularly difficult to remove, in a matter of seconds. The remaining surface is perfectly prepared for subsequent machining, e.g. laser welding.
With the fast development of laser cleaning technology it has been popularized in various industries in industrial applications:
Microelectronics field: semiconductor components, microelectronics devices, memory templates, etc.;
Cultural relics protection: stone carvings, bronzes, glass and murals, etc.;
Abrasive cleaning: rubber abrasives, composite abrasives, metal molds, etc.;
Surface treatment: hydrophilic treatment, surface roughening, pre-welding treatment, etc.;
Paint and rust removal: aircraft, ships, weaponry, bridges, etc.; aircraft parts, electrical product parts, etc.;
A clean, even surface – this is the basic requirement for successful and durable welding and adhesive connections.
Others: urban graffiti, printing rollers, building exterior walls, nuclear industry, etc.
It has been problematic over the years to environment and health especially in noise, dust and effluent that the sandblast or the chemical are utilized to remove the paint from the steel of the construct.
The laser provides a remedy for this: the non-contact tool frees components of dirt and oxidation/functional layers within seconds. The newly developed removal method is to evaporate the surface material by irradiating non-contact laser toward the target, thus being able to propose optimized ways to surface processing works on all metalls, cement, etc. And it does this only in areas where joining is meant to take place, for example, or where the functional layer is no longer needed.
Here's how it works: pulses with high peak pulse power evaporate the wafer-thin layers, without affecting the component. Subsequent processes such as joining can then be carried out faster, more homogenously, and are entirely reproducible. The connections are clean and last longer. Joining preparation work using light as a tool can also integrate seamlessly into industrial series production, due to the fact that data can easily be transferred via interfaces.
Using a Laser for cleaning is a process that removes debris, contaminants, dirt, or impurities (e.g. silicon cleaning, rubber cleaning, coating cleaning, carbon cleaning, etc) from material surfaces by using laser irradiation. With the development of science and technology, a new type of cleaning method appeared: laser cleaning, gradually replacing the traditional cleaning process. Laser cleaning uses a high-energy laser beam to irradiate the working surface, so that the dirt on the surface evaporates or peels off instantly, and effectively removes the surface adhesion or surface coating of the cleaning object at a high speed, so as to achieve the purpose of cleaning.
The benefits of using a laser cleaner are that it is extremely environmentally-friendly, has low maintenance and implementation costs, and has a widespread application use throughout almost any global industry.
Our laser cleaning technology provides a non-contact, cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional techniques, which require the use of chemical or abrasive elements. Because they are fast, flexible, and robust, our laser cleaning systems can be effectively integrated into industrial machines to remove surface contaminants, such as rust, oxide or paint, and to pretreat the surface before subsequent manufacturing steps and texturing.Industrial cleaning is applicable in nearly every industry and can be applied to glass, ceramics, metals, concrete, plastics and much more. Laser cleaning is a non-contact, environmentally friendly process for removal of surface coating from metals, concrete and delicate substrates such as composites – with minimal impact on the base material. Lasermach portable system expands the cleaning from the floor to the field. Industrial Laser cleaning and surface removal can be applied to surfaces of bridges, aircraft, large vehicles, trains, cleaning tire remolds, laser mold cleaning, etc – in addition to small parts and sensitive materials.
Laser Cleaning Applications:
- High Power Laser Surface Cleaning
- High Power Laser Surface Treatment
- Induced Surface Improvement
- Uniform Surface with Low HAZ
- High Power Laser Paint Removal
- Subtractive Surface Treatment
- Surface Texturing
- Cosmetic Surface Conditioning (Replaces Bead Blasting)
- Tire Mold Cleaning
- Mold Cleaning
- Selective Paint Removal
- Metal Parts Cleaning
- Anodizing Removal
- 3D Surface Cleaning and Conditioning
- Laser Cleaning
- “On-The-Fly” Laser Cleaning
- Laser Ablation (Anodized, Painted or Coated)
- Laser Paint Stripping and Removal
- Laser Rust and Corrosion Removal
- Laser Degreasing
The high energy efficiency and instant high temperature of the laser are used to produce an explosion-like effect on the surface of the product, and the impurities and materials that need to be removed from the surface are stripped and evaporated to obtain a satisfactory high-quality surface treatment effect.
As global environmental issues become more severe, the demand for industrially clean products and equipment in the global market is increasing year by year. The quality and cleanliness of cleaning/washing machine equipment and its impact on the environment are becoming increasingly important. As product quality continues to improve, its assessment of environmental impact is normal, and many industries are investigating how to optimize the cleanliness of automated linear production.
Laser cleaning has been proven to fully achieve this goal and highlight its excellence. The infrared light emitted by the laser can be used to clean residual residues on the metal surface, produce residues and oxide residues on steel, aluminum, stone, copper and other substrates. In the case of the original temperature, the surface deposits can quickly absorb the laser energy and peel off from the surface of the object, while the surface remains intact, the cleaning process can be done by hand-held laser or using a robotic arm.
Laser technology, and more specific Fiber Laser Technology is just emerging as a new technology. Laser cleaning technology has gradually replaced traditional chemical cleaning and contact physical cleaning technology. It is slowly developing into the mainstream technology of industrial cleaning. Compared with traditional cleaning methods, laser cleaning is not used. Any chemical, dry ice and other cleaning media to avoid secondary pollution, which means that our cleaning method is green and environmentally friendly. In addition, laser technology is one of the few cleaning technologies for automated industrial cleaning, reducing operating costs, improving cleaning quality, and meeting market demands.
Get Rid of Consumables & Go Green
As a green technology, laser cleaning replaces methods that remove rust with consumables or chemicals.
It’s the only solution that meets environmental protection regulations.
Plus, pulsed fiber lasers have low power consumption.
Laser cleaning does generate a small amount of dust in the air.
It can be vacuumed instantly with a dust extraction system, which we provide and preconfigure for you if needed.
Laser cleaning technology works by sending nanosecond-length pulses of laser light towards a surface. When it interacts with contaminants like rust, coating, paint,.. that absorb the pulses of laser light, the contaminants or coating particles will either turn into a gas or the pressure of the interaction will cause particles to free from the surface.
Laser cleaning - or ablation - is the process of clearing away undesired material from a solid surface by irradiating it with a laser beam. By absorbing the energy of the laser beam, the targeted material is heated very quickly, making it evaporate or sublimate. As the surface below does not absorb any energy, it stays untouched.
By manipulating the laser flux, its wavelength and its pulse length, the amount of material that is being removed by a single laser pulse can be controlled with extreme precision. Making laser cleaning equally suitable for rapid and deep rust removal as for removing only one thin layer of paint, without damaging the base coat.
What is laser cleaning and how does it work?
Laser cleaning system distributes thousands of focused laser pulses per second onto the target surface. These powerful beam pulses are linearly deflected & placed adjacent to each other. Most laser energy is absorbed by the target surface, creating micro-bursts of plasma that decompose the target layer/coating/contaminant through sublimation. Thermal energy is rapidly dispersed as laser vaporized residues are removed from the substrate. Process speed relates to the laser energy absorption properties of the target material & laser power as measured in watts.
Does laser cleaning damage the underling surface?
The substrate material, unlike the target contaminant or coating, normally does not absorb, but rather reflects laser beam energy. Once a reflective substrate material has been reached, the laser ablation process automatically stops. Due to typically high reflection factors, metallic surfaces are especially suitable for laser cleaning. Precise laser beam adjustments enable treatment for many applications without undesirable mechanical or thermal effects to the substrate.
Where does the stuff removed by the laser cleaning go?
An integrated suction system provides continuous vacuum at the laser target interface. This immediately captures ablated contaminants, vaporized coating fumes & particles, which are pulled through a hose to a modular fume extractor with high efficiency particle & carbon filters. Laser cleaning … a dust-free process with nothing to clean-up!
Laser systems are highly efficient, economical and ecological alternative compared to conventional technologies available. Require no chemicals or abrasives, that could have to be stored and environmentally disposed, they are environmentally friendly. This is a device with a large service interval, which can be easily and immediately used or integrated in a production line.
The initial higher investment in laser treatment system, which became very affordable recently, the company can count on a quick return on investment. For example, when comparing the costs of “dry ice” vs. “Laser”, using laser technologies reduce operating costs by 84% compared to dry ice and the initial investment returns within a year when working on two shift.
Laser Swipe-II cleaning technology is:
- very efficient and “green”, won several significant environmental awards;
- contactless and gentle to the material to be cleaned;
- Inexpensive with a quick return – it is repeatedly proven that the technology will pay back per year for operating costs related to cleaning;
- breakthrough – cleans perfectly to one transition those surfaces, which until now had to be purified by several long cycles;
- unique – the possibility of selective cleaning variability of performance only confirms
- Stable – high-quality Belgium industrial design ensures long life and reliability
It’s a non-contact, non-abrasive process.
Home remedies are messy and unhealthy. Scrubbing off rusted surfaces exposes you to impurities which could lead to respiratory complications. Laser cleaning, on the other hand, relies on the laser beam to ablate the surface. There is no physical contact between you and the rust.
No use of chemicals.
Rust remover chemicals can get the job done, but the health implications on their use outweigh their benefit. Such chemicals are not only harsh and abrasive but also emit intense fumes. You will need to wear protective gear such as a respirator, goggles and rubber gloves before using them. However, laser cleaning does not rely on any chemical application. It is the better choice as it does not put your health at risk.
No secondary waste is produced.
Scrubbing off rust from surfaces only disintegrates the rusty particles from the substrate, leaving you with a toxic lump of rust dust at the end of the process. Electrolysis leaves the rust particles floating in the water, which you later have to dispose of. In comparison, laser cleaning is a cleaner process as the rust particles are either vaporized or turned into plasma, leaving no evidence of waste.
The focused laser beams have an extremely precise focal edge, allowing you to ablate rust from tough spots that would otherwise be harder to clean with other apparatus. Such include the rust that develops around bolts and rails. Additionally, the high precision allows you to focus the laser beam repeatedly over a specific area to achieve the required depth and result.
It’s effective on all surfaces.
Unlike other rust removal procedures, laser cleaning works on all surfaces that are prone to rusting, including stones, concrete, iron, aluminum (bauxite) or copper.
It does not degrade the substrate.
Scrubbing rusted surfaces significantly degrades the substrate due to friction. Rust removing chemicals, on the other hand, are harsh and corrosive, causing wear and tear that could spoil delicate metals or even weaken their robustness. Laser cleaning in comparison ablates the surface while leaving the substrate untouched.
It is a long-term solution.
A laser cleaning machine will serve you longer than any scrubber or rust removing chemical will. The laser does not suffer any wear or tear, and thus can be used and reused over its lifetime.
|Laser Cleaning||Chemical Products||Sand Blasting||Hand Cleaning||Laser Cleaning|
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|No need to dismantle tools/moulds||X||X||✓||✓|
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Industrial laser cleaning systems are most known for their rust removal capabilities. Application can be found in multiple industries as for example process & production or the heavy industry. Our laser systems can be used to derust or deoxidize small machinery or materials which leave the warehouse rusted after being left there for several weeks or months. Some of the main advantages of using laser cleaning as a rust removal method are the lack of chemicals that have to be used, the substrate is not damaged, very little pollution, etc.
A lot of customers use the laser's coating removal capabilities prior to any welding, brazing, bonding or new coating process. In the heavy industry for example, laser cleaning is used to prepare train bodywork for a new coating. Our systems are also capable of removing the paint layer by layer, if you don't want to remove everything all at once. The laser technique is a non-contact/non-abrasive process, no use of chemicals or blasting media are necessary , we see a reduction in waste, automation is easy and it's very safe.
Degreasing is mostly applied in the process & production industry. It can be initiated at the end of a process line as a final cleaning solution to remove any dirt, moist or other contaminants. In the end, you're left with a clean product, ready to be sold to the customer. Another application is the preparation of a product for a subsequent process: glueing, welding, coating, etc.
Often not the complete surface has to be cleaned, but only certain spots on that surface. Imagine you only have to remove rust on certain spots on a weld or that you only want to clean the rivets on the body of an airplane. That's where spot repair comes in and because of the 2D-scanners in the optic of our laser systems, circles can be created at once, which speeds up the complete process drastically. Or you need a clean area to apply glue or insert a spot weld? A laser cleaner might be a very good solution for your problem!
In the restoration process, laser cleaning has been used with satisfying results in for example stone conservation to remove encrustation. Alongside the aesthetically pleasing results, it is relevant to determine that laser cleaning does not have any adverse effects. Compared to the more traditional techniques, laser cleaning has many additional advantages. The dimension of the laser beam can be regulated so that areas of different dimensions can be treated. There is no physical contact between the object to be cleaned and the laser equipment. This aspect can be really relevant in treating fragile materials.
For the food industry hygiene is very important. Food has to be processed in a very clean environment following very strict regulations. To meet these regulations, it is necessary to clean the moulds in an environmentally friendly way. Sand-blasting or the use of chemical solvents is a no-go. Laser cleaning is an excellent solution because it is clean and very easy to integrate in-line.
Speed is the decisive factor when it comes to rubber mould cleaning. For example, cleaning a tire mould (for a passenger car) takes eight hours of machine down-time and the same amount of manual labour time if done in the traditional way (blasting or chemical cleaning). Laser cleaning systems can clean till 2m² per hour, a drastical improvement. A lot of aluminium moulds are used in the rubber industry. Laser cleaning makes sure the base material is not affected by the technology, surpassing sand-blasting. On top of that, laser cleaning technology is able to clean thicker and sturdier contamination, which is very difficult using the traditional methods.
Just like with rubber moulds, speed is a crucial factor when it comes to cleaning. Laser cleaning succeeds in reaching this speed without damaging the base material. A lot of plastic moulds have a specific structure that may not be damaged when cleaning. Traditional cleaning methods like sand-blasting cannot guarantee this preservation, laser cleaning can. On top of that, a lot of moulds are designed with a high gloss finish to transfer to the final product. Laser cleaning makes sure this high gloss is not affected by the cleaning.
Glass moulds have very specific needs when it comes to cleaning. Some of the most important difficulties when it comes to glass cleaning are:
- There shouldn't be any increase in volume (1 liter bottle is and must stay 1 liter bottle) . Because of this strict volume policy the base material of the mould cannot be affected.
- Closing edges have to be preserved to make sure no burrs are introduced.
- A lot of small holes can be found in glass moulds to make sure air can get out. Laser cleaning ensures good cleaning of these holes and of course no residues are left behind.
In Aeronautics and automotive, laser cleaning is used to clean the wing moulds of airplanes and the form moulds of high-tech carbon fiber car parts. The structure of the moulds has to be preserved, so sand-blasting is not a good option if you want to clean these giants. Using chemicals can be very dangerous because the base material might be harmed by the toxic chemicals. Apart from that, the chemical waste would be outrageous. Because of the large surfaces that have to be cleaned, high speeds are demanded.
Weld preparation and weld cleaning are vital in the steel processing industry. A laser system can effortlessly be built into an existing process or production line, speeding up the complete process. Weld preparation is a crucial step before actually placing a weld and can be done with surface cleaning. Laser cleaning on mild steel welds is challenging, when we have a the thick, black 'slack' that is formed during the welding process, but on small surfaces it works without any problems.
The effects of good weld preparation is determined by porosity. Comparing good and bad weld preparation, meaning all oxides were eliminated via surface cleaning on one part, and no cleaning was performed on another one results in: After good surface cleaning by laser you can see a lower porosity as a result of good surface cleaning. The less porosity in a weld, the less chance it will break over time. High speeds can be reached when preparing and cleaning the welds on aluminium, which makes laser cleaning a very effective solution.
Stainless steel is as suitable for weld preparation and cleaning as aluminium. You can reach cleaning speeds varying from 1m to 1.5m per second. These speeds match up to common welding speeds, so it is easy to include a new laser cleaning system in an existing line. Needless to say is the fact that it is a very clean method, in comparison to traditional techniques as for example the use of chemical solvents.