What Are the Laser Cleaning Methods Used in Industrial Applications?

by Josefa Reed

Indeed, technology evolution has changed a lot of things in the recent past. For instance, over the years, the equipment and techniques for surface cleaning have dominated the industry, but now it looks like the pendulum has slowly but surely shifted to new technology.

Laser technology is slowly replacing the conventional as well as chemical processes in a plethora of applications, such as depainting, rust removal, degreasing, surface preparation, rejuvenation, and decontamination.

What makes lasers more appealing is the fact that they are controllable, precise, efficient, and low waste is generated in the process. Nowadays, you can get laser rust remover for sale online. Therefore, they’re the ideal method for cleaning surfaces.

However, to achieve a successful finish, the laser cleaning technique must consider the properties of the material quality that’s being cleaned as well as the properties of a contaminant to be removed from the surface.

Here are some of the most common laser cleaning techniques;

Restoration and Renovation

Arguably one of the most common laser cleaning applications, restoration, and renovation, is used to remove rust. The fact that rust has a high absorptivity means that a laser can be a powerful tool to remove a thin layer easily.

For instance, in the automotive industry, anodized finishes or removing dirt as well as renovating stainless steel parts is a common practice, and hence laser machines are an integral part. In such cases, Q-switch fiber lasers are used, and they include both portable and stationary cleaning machines.

Those industries that deal with heavy manufacturing, such as shipbuilding, removing thick layers of rust, can sometimes be a daunting task. Usually, on such occasions, with significant material being removed, a plume of plasma and dust is produced. They’re produced in the laser beam direction that may partially result in beam shading that can result in secondary contaminants (hard to remove).

Therefore, those scenarios are best tackled down with high-power laser machines.

Surface Pre-/Post-Treatment

For metal surfaces prepared for durable as well as premium glued, soldered, or brazed connection, laser cleaning can be applied effectively to replace chemical treatments. When it comes to cleaning metals, with the correct powers as well as performance modes, surface profiles are modified exactly to requirements and can be prepared for almost any joining process.

Laser pretreatment can be applied to achieve adhesion on coated or untreated parts. Usually, it eliminates the top layer of a coating and all contaminants, leaving the underlying coating intact.

Furthermore, it offers a micro-roughness on a top layer that improves sealant or glue adhesion. For post-treatment after soldering, a joint is easily cleaned to get rid of thermal stains, residues, or discoloration.

Coating Removal

Most industries use metal parts and require the removal of metal layers that usually cover base metals, such as removing zinc from the zinc-plated steel. Depending on the thickness of the layers, it’s always recommended to perform a full removal of the layer.

Therefore, laser cleaning machines, especially those with high power, are the best option in such scenarios as they remove everything resulting in cleaner and controllable outcomes.

Nevertheless, several laser cleaning techniques are all effective than traditional mechanical or chemical methods.

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