What is laser cleaning and how does it work
Laser Cleaning is a technique that uses the laser beam, deflected by a scanning head, to remove a surface layer of material and thus to create a cleaning of the product surface at an easily adjustable depth and without direct contact. The ability to clean complex surfaces with a high degree of precision and the intuitiveness of the operation make laser cleaning one of the emerging industrial technologies. Furthermore, the possibility of setting a cleaning threshold makes it possible to selectively ablate by choosing which material to remove. The use of high-energy pulsed sources ensures rapid execution of the optimal processing for large surface products.
The total absence of consumables or chemicals to dispose of make it easy to manage and also cost-effective in the long run.
The sectors of greatest interest for Laser Cleaning applications are: mold cleaning (post process), post welding cleaning (pre and post process), contact cleaning in the electronic field (for example pre-process cleaning of the air pins of electric motor windings), post-printing cleaning of inks on anilox of press printing machines in the packaging sector, removal of paints and coatings for treatments and rework, etc.
Laser cleaning applications
One of the main processes that use laser cleaning is linked to the pre-process surface treatment or before carrying out a second process. Some of the main reasons are:
- the removal of rust or other oxides from metallic materials,
- the preparation of surfaces for subsequent welding,
- the removal of oils or fats
Post processing cleaning
A second important use of laser cleaning is for post-processing of materials, i.e. cleaning after the piece has already been processed. Among these we can mention:
- Cleaning of the weld seam from oxides and residues
- Cleaning of chips and residues of parts that are particularly difficult to reach, such as molds
- Removal of oil and grease residues from processing
Removal of paints, inks, coatings, sheaths or films
A final use of laser cleaning technology is related to the removal of paints or other materials fixed on a substrate. We can cite as an example:
- The removal of paints or coatings from pieces to be reworked (spot repairing);
- The removal of insulating sheaths or films in the electric or electronic field;
- The removal of inks in the field of printing machines;
Laser Cleaning - Usable Materials
Laser cleaning is mainly used for metal parts but there are applications that use it for some types of plastics or for other materials that require pre or post treatment after manufacturing.
Sectors of use of laser cleaning
The sectors of greatest interest for Laser Cleaning applications are: mold cleaning (post process), post welding cleaning (pre process and post process), contact cleaning in the electronic field (for example pre-process cleaning of the air pins of electric motor windings), post-printing cleaning of inks on anilox of press printing machines in the packaging sector, removal of paints and coatings for treatments and reworking, etc.
Why prefer a laser cleaner to other technologies
Laser cleaning compared to other technologies offers important advantages that must be considered when choosing.
Laser processing makes it possible not to use parts in contact with the piece, making them ideal for materials or products that require careful processing. Furthermore, as there are no contact parts, there are no related wear and maintenance costs (no consumables).
Respect for nature (Green)The laser cleaning process is environmentally friendly and does not use chemical material that must then be disposed of.
Modern laser cleaning systems consume less than a household appliance and certainly much less than many competing technologies, thus emitting less CO2 into the environment and being more respectful of nature.
Processing quality and precision
Laser cleaning are characterized by the quality and precision of the workmanship. It can be used for high precision cleaning even for highly technological sectors or with high contamination requirements such as medical.
The possibility of processing any type of material, the easy integration on systems and lines and the digital nature of the Laser management process make it flexible to adapt to any process and suitable for highly customized products.
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