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Laser cleaning is the process by which contaminants, debris or impurities (e.g. carbon, silicon and rubber) are removed from the surface of a material by using laser irradiation. This is a low-cost and environmentally-friendly laser application technique, which is in widespread use throughout global industry.
There are two types of laser cleaning process, which are typically used:
Laser cleaning typically uses high repetition rates and short pulses with high peak powers. All of this is done without damaging the substrate materials and without making contact with the material surface, which makes them especially ideal for cleaning intricate and textured surfaces, even including precious artwork(s).
Laser cleaning is popular in a range of industries but especially in manufacturing where it is very often used to prepare surfaces for subsequent industrial processes such as painting and welding (particularly with paint and coating removal). In addition, laser cleaning is very commonly used to remove contaminant layers such as rust, oil and other oxides. Other industrial applications include mould cleaning, tool cleaning and removing coatings from battery foils.
It’s also a valuable for processes where working with materials such as glass, ceramics, metals, concrete and plastics, etc. are involved. The process can also be applied to the cleaning of larger objects, e.g. rust removal on bridges or debris/contaminants removal on the surface of aircraft and trains, etc. Additionally, lasers can be used to clean traffic grime from transport vehicles and static items such as statues and monuments, etc.
Laser cleaning is popular in a range of industries but especially in manufacturing where it is very often used to prepare surfaces for subsequent industrial processes such as painting and welding. It’s also a valuable for processes where working with materials such as glass, ceramics, metals, concrete and plastics, etc. are involved. The process can also be applied to the cleaning of larger objects, e.g. rust removal on bridges or debris/contaminants removal on the surface of aircraft and trains, etc.
Laser cleaning applications use no solvents or chemicals so are a much safer and less hazardous approach (e.g. no chemical vapours) compared to many traditional approaches to cleaning (e.g. media blasting and dry ice blasting). In addition, laser cleaning only removed materials need to be disposed of, which means there is an environmental benefit of reduced waste. The process works very effectively at a micro-level, which has been particularly needed with the growing number of small components in recent years.
Laser cleaning is also both a non-contact and non-abrasive process, which has massive benefits in terms of reducing contamination risks, which is essential when cleaning. The process also offers additional benefits such as increased precision, where ablation can be continued until the exact depth required is achieved. There are also improvements in process speed (in areas such as installation, setup and integration with other tasks), so there are many benefits and advantages to be considered.
Laser cleaning applications use no solvents or chemicals so are a much more environmentally friendly approach compared to many traditional approaches to cleaning. In addition, only removed materials need to be disposed of. Cleaning also offers additional benefits such as increased precision and improvements in process speed, so there are many benefits and advantages to be considered.
SPI Laser’s reliable and robust Pulsed Fiber Lasers combine a wide range frequency pulsing output with high peak power to deliver highly precise, efficient, and durable marks that will last.
SPI Lasers Fiber Laser range can be used for a variety of industrial cleaning with laser applications, such as paint removal, preparation treatment, oil and oxides (e.g. rust) removal, mould cleaning, tool cleaning in addition to labelling and marking. Laser cleaning typically uses high repetition rates and short pulses with high peak powers. All of this is done without damaging the substrate materials and without making contact with the material surface.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that SPI lasers can additionally be used for a wide variety of other applications, these can be seamlessly integrated with the cleaning tasks and include applications such as drilling, engraving, marking, etc.
Watch the SPI Lasers video – fiber laser cleaning thick mild steel with a pulsed laser
To read SPI Lasers – Cleaning FAQs click this link. Below you will find two types of documents to help increase your knowledge on the capabilities and applications of laser cleaning:
‘Applications Insights’ are detailed articles on specific applications.
‘Application Postcards’ are bite sized insights on specific applications, designed to be easily digested in a matter of minutes.
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