A machine can often be cleaned either in-situ as an integral part of the operation cycle or done in the maintenance tool room in a cleaning cell . Cleaning Downtime can be dramatically reduced or even eliminated when Laser Cleaning is employed.
No Waste & No CleanUp
Unlike traditional abrasive cleaning techniques there is no need to dispose of the removed material. There is very little residue and any residue that is created can be collected using a low suction extraction system, setup near the interaction zone of where the beam is doing the cleaning.
Very often the Laser Cleaning activity can be automated as part of your process and not only will this remove costly cleaning cycles with associated cycle time improvements , but an automated or motorised cleaning system has little or no labour costs.
Many traditional abrasive processes either require a large amount of costly consumables or special chambers to carry out the cleaning process. Laser Cleaning is completely self-contained and the only utility service required is electricity and maybe a supply of compressed air.
Completely Non Abrasive
Laser Cleaning is completely non-abrasive and is a powerful solution for applications where the maintenance of tight tolerances is required after the cleaning process has been completed. In general Laser Cleaning will remove only the contaminants on the substrate and once removed, the process self-terminates as no damage or surface imperfections on the metal surface will occur.
Limited PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)
Laser Cleaning requires little training to operate safely and the only PPE required is a standard laser safety glasses to protect the eyes. No ear protection or gloves are required while in operation.
The Laser source pulses down to the substrate to completely remove surface materials without damaging the intrinsic properties or leaving behind a layer of conductive materials. That means that you won’t need a second cleaning solution to remove dangerous and damaging contaminants completely. And, because it produces no additional waste, laser cleaning is environmentally-friendly.
Laser cleaning only requires training, a designated optical safety area, and safety glasses to operate. No cumbersome suit restricting your ability to see or work, just you and a handheld or automated laser solution. Not only is it safer for your operators, but it’s also less dangerous for your product. Laser ablation doesn’t damage your substrate — which means it extends the lifespan of your equipment rather than degrading it.
Laser cleaning does have its own restrictions. Laser ablation/cleaning is not suitable for all jobs. Some products — such as wood, glass, and plastic — are difficult to clean. When using the wrong laser solution on wood, your product is likely to become singed or damaged.
The size of the product can also impact the effectiveness of laser technology solutions. Laser cleaning is best for targeted areas, and large surface areas can take longer to clean due to the process of removing each layer of contaminants. On the other end of the spectrum, laser cleaning also isn’t suitable for products with hard-to-see crevices — such as the inside of a tube or pipe.