Laser cleaning machines
Laser cleaning is a method of removing contaminants from different types of material. The main scope of application of this technology is the cleaning of metals from corrosion.
What is laser cleaning?
Laser cleaning refers to surface cleaning using a fiber optic laser. The same fiber optic laser is used in metal cutters, laser markers and engravers. Thus, a laser-cleaning machine is suitable for removing rust from metal items and workpieces.
The Virmer experts suggest using the Wattsan laser cleaning machines, which technical parameters guarantee excellent results. When choosing equipment, you should consider your tasks and the available budget.
A galvanometric scanner is an important component of laser cleaning equipment. It can be in the form of a gun that an operator holds with one or two hands pointing it to the surface to be cleaned. The scanner helps to focus laser radiation on the material surface, widen the laser beam, and give the light spot the desired shape.
A system of mirrors inside the scanner collects the rays of light and then distributes them over the surface of the treated product. This allows you to clean relief surfaces, for example metal bars.
The laser-cleaning machine should be completed with a cooling system, or a water chiller. It is necessary to prevent a laser source and a scanner (if it is a water-cooled type) from overheating during operation.
Principle of laser cleaning operation
Operation of laser cleaning is based on exposing a light beam to the surface. If there are no contaminations (for example rust), the laser beam is reflected. If there is corrosion, it absorbs the beam. Because of thermal energy of the laser, the strength of metal oxide molecules that form the rust decreases. They collapse, detach from the metal, melt, and evaporate.
What materials can be cleaned with a laser?
Laser cleaning equipment is mainly used to remove contaminants from metal surfaces. This method is suitable for removing rust, varnish, paint, organic substances, oils, soot, and other contaminants.
The technology is also successfully used to clean plastic, stone, ceramic, and concrete.
With a laser-cleaning machine, you can process:
- small items: terminal, connectors, boards, wires, anilox. The laser is capable of removing insulative layer up to 1 mm;
- precious items: jewelry, precious stones, coins, archaeological artifacts;
- automobile parts: engines, bidy, etc.;
- large parts of various equipment, for example planes, rockets, military equipment, oil production and refinery equipment, and so on.
Advantages of laser cleaning
The main advantage of laser cleaning is that it is noncontact. The nozzle does not touch the surface to be machined. Thus, the processed material is not damaged. The laser beam evaporates contaminants only.
This makes laser cleaning different from the mechanical one, which can damage the product itself. When sandblasting, the contaminated material is “bombarded” with small sand particles. Falling at high speed, they chip contaminants off the surface. But such impact can damage the product and disrupt its structure.
Non-contact treatment is also an advantage over chemical cleaning methods. In the second case, contaminants are dissolved by special solutions, which can disrupt surface and material structure.
Let us specify the advantages of laser cleaning:
- No contact with the processed material;
- No waste products whereas sandblasting creates a lot of dust, which should be collected together with abrasive - sand particles;
- Low operating costs. A sandblaster needs to be replenished with abrasive while a laser cleaning machines does not have any consumables;
- Safe for humans and the environment. During laser cleaning, no toxins or dangerous substances are produced;
- No noise. The laser does not create noise;
- Ability to clean surfaces made of combinations of different materials, for example steel products with leather trim.
- Easy use. The laser-cleaning parameters are set up automatically.
- High productivity and high quality of cleaning.
How to use laser-cleaning equipment for surfaces
To start working, you need to study the user manual and connect the equipment to the electricity supply. No special training is required.
Service and maintenance
For a laser-cleaning machine to work properly for a long period, it is necessary to regularly clean mirrors and lenses from dust. The water in the chiller must be changed. It should be distilled in order to prevent solids or microorganisms from entering the equipment hydraulic system.
No special qualifications or skills are required to maintain this equipment.
What can be cleaned with a laser-cleaning machine?
The technology is suitable for cleaning metal, plastic, ceramic, stone, and concrete. These can be car parts, electronic devices, jewelry, and so on.
Does laser cleaning remove rust?
Yes, this method is very effective when removing rust from metal surfaces. The metal oxide molecules that cause corrosion are evaporated by the laser beam.
How much does a laser-cleaning machine cost?
The price for a laser-cleaning machine is determined according to the material and the surface area to be cleaned.