Application - Laser Cleaning

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:

  • One which is the removal of a layer on the surface of a material,
  • While the second is the removal of the entire upper layer of a material.

Industrial Uses

 

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.

Benefits

 

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.

Laser Cleaning using SPI Lasers

 

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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Fiber laser cleaning can be used to clean baking trays

What is Laser Cleaning?

Application Insight
Posted on 15/06/2019

Here we examine the topic of laser cleaning. This is a popular fiber laser cleaning application, for which we provide a clear... read more >

Thick Rust Removal from Stainless Steel with a Pulsed Fiber Laser

Surface Preparation Treatment with Fiber Lasers

Application Insight
Posted on 15/02/2019

What is surface preparation treatment? Simply this is the preparation of a surface through a treatment (the name speaks for itself!). The reason for the surface to be prepared is virtually always to increase the adhesion capability of... read more >

Outdoor artworks are very prone to “wear and tear” caused by ageing especially due to environmental hazards and conditions. It can often be challenging, costly and impractical to clean these precious works of arts with traditional methods. ... read more >

Example of a traffic sign contaminated with traffic film

Traffic Film Removal with Fiber Lasers

Application Insight
Posted on 15/02/2019
Before and after a painting restoration

Artwork Restoration with Fiber Lasers

Application Insight
Posted on 15/02/2019

Fiber lasers can be used to remove a wide-variety of contaminants and particles from any material, this is especially applicable to the artwork. Using ablation and cleaning techniques, fiber lasers are an excellent tool for the restoration of... read more >

A plane showing an accumulation of traffic film and grime

How can Fiber Lasers Remove Traffic Film from a Plane?

Application Insight
Posted on 14/02/2019

Traditionally pressure washers have been used in the cleaning of planes, but a new and emerging opportunity is to clean planes with laser technology. We explore this topic in our latest question and answer... read more >

Foil Cleaning Focus Image

Removal of Coating Material from Battery Foils

Application Postcard
Posted on 14/12/2018

The manufacture of Lithium-ion batteries is a highly technical process in which cathodes and anodes are manufactured from thin metallic foils that are coated with active materials. Cathode materials are typically thin aluminum foil in the... read more >

Laser cleaning is used in silicon processing

Cleaning intricate/textured surfaces with fiber lasers

Application Insight
Posted on 22/09/2018

Fiber lasers can be used to remove most organic contaminants and inorganic particles from intricate and textured surfaces without damaging the substrate. Developed as a contactless non-abrasive system to replace standard chemical and abrasive... read more >

Here you can see clear rust damage

Rust Removal with Fiber Lasers

Application Insight
Posted on 12/01/2018

Laser cleaning is an important process in the removal of contaminants from the surface layer of materials. These contaminants can be substrates such as carbon, rubber or silicon.Other damage that materials can suffer is rust, and not only does... read more >

Metal is one of the most important materials in the world

Laser Cleaning of Metal Surfaces

Application Insight
Posted on 12/01/2018

Metal is perhaps the most important material in the world, used in dozens of industries and sectors. It is a core material in many manufacturing processes and finds itself featured in millions of items that we use each and every day.From the... read more >

Do you have a question about the laser cleaning process?

Laser Cleaning FAQs

Application Insight
Posted on 12/01/2018

Laser cleaning is one of the innumerable processes that an SPI Fiber Laser is capable of performing. Many of the processes bear similarities, and for that reason, it is important to detail the specifics of each, and why it offers its own unique set... read more >

Other abrasive cleaning processes can cause this kind of damage

The Non-Abrasive Qualities of Fiber Laser Cleaning

Application Insight
Posted on 11/01/2018

One of the biggest benefits of the laser cleaning process that you will often hear being discussed is the fact that it is a non-contact, non-abrasive process. Just what does this mean? And why is this so important? We explored this in great detail... read more >

Traditional processes may involve using chemical solvents

The Advantages of Laser Cleaning

Application Insight
Posted on 09/01/2018

Laser cleaning, which you may also see being referred to as laser surface cleaning, has become an important and crucial process for many industries around the world. This is by no means the only type of cleaning process, and there have been many... read more >

Laser cleaning is an environmentally-friendly process

Principles and Fundamentals of Fiber Laser Cleaning

Application Insight
Posted on 04/01/2018

Cleaning with lasers is an important process for many industries around the world, and while it has similarities to other laser processes, it has some unique attributes which set it apart. We have covered these... read more >

This process helps to achieve high-quality finishes

How Fiber Laser Cleaning Works

Application Insight
Posted on 02/01/2018

Laser cleaning is one of the more modern versions of the cleaning process and has rapidly replaced more traditional methods such as dry-ice blasting or media blasting due to the numerous benefits that it provides.It offers these benefits as it... read more >

Eco friendly fiber lasers

The Environmental Benefits of Fiber Laser Cleaning

Application Insight
Posted on 02/01/2018

Laser cleaning, while not as widely used as some other laser processes, is still an important and crucial function in its own right, helping users to create clean and pure surfaces on their materials.Aside from these benefits, one less... read more >

Paint Cleaning Laser Application

Paint Cleaning

Application Postcard
Posted on 17/01/2017

For applications that require delicate removal of surface coatings without affecting the base material, pulsed fibre lasers are the perfect tool. Laser cleaning can be applied to the surface preparation of various materials including metals ,... read more >

Fiber laser cleaning can be used to remove paint or coatings from a surface

Fiber Laser Cleaning Applications

Application Insight
Posted on 09/09/2016

Fiber laser cleaning is the process by which a surface is cleaned by having any impurities, oxides, dust, oil or other materials removed. This is done by using a laser with high repetition rates and high peak powers, but in short, pulses, so as to... read more >

Cleaning Steel Moulds

Cleaning Steel Moulds

Application Postcard
Posted on 14/10/2015

Our Lasers can be used for a range of cleaning applications. These applications typically use high repetition rates and short pulses with high peak powers. The intention is to remove surface debris and contaminated layers without damaging the... read more >