The removal of any impurities, oxides, dust, oil or other materials from a surface is the process known as fiber laser cleaning. This cleaning method is performed using a laser. In order to accomplish this, a laser with high repetition rates and high peak powers, but with brief pulses, is utilized. This ensures that the substrate that is being treated is not damaged in any way.
The objective here is to simply eliminate any contaminated layers and clean the surface beneath them as rapidly and with as little more heat as possible. Irradiation with a laser is used to accomplish this, so the process is analogous to laser ablation in that respect. Lasers can be used to clean a surface in a variety of different ways, and this topic, along with the many different cleaning applications, will be discussed in more detail below.
The Method of Cleaning Utilizing Fiber Lasers
There are two very distinct approaches to carrying out the cleaning, and the method that you select will be determined by the outcomes that you are looking for to be accomplished.
The first step, known as coating removal, involves stripping away a layer from the surface of the item that you are working on. This action is performed in its simplest form (e.g. rust). Because the layer that you are removing will be different to that of the object underneath, both physically and chemically, the laser will not have any thermal, chemical, or mechanical effect on the substrate itself. This is because the layer that you are removing will be different to that of the object that is underneath. Paint and rubbing coatings are two examples of such materials.
Laser surface decontamination is the second process, and it involves the removal of layers that are significantly more deeply embedded within the thing that you are working with. As a consequence of this, you will be required to peel away layers of the substrate itself. One example of this would be getting rid of layers of radioactive concrete.
This particular approach to cleaning does not involve any physical contact or abrasion, and it does not involve the use of any chemicals or solvents. It is also possible to automate the process by making use of robots, and it can be carried out on either a large or a small scale. Because of its little impact on the environment and relatively low cost, laser cleaning is a highly helpful cleaning method that also improves safety and productivity while simultaneously cutting down on waste.
How Fiber Lasers Can Be Used In Cleaning Applications
This method of cleaning, which can be utilized and applied to a wide variety of industries for usage with materials including metal, ceramics, plastics, concrete, glass, and more, is able to provide a wide number of benefits, which were outlined earlier in this paragraph. The following are some of the applications that will be covered in the next section:
Paint removal & de-Coating
Whether the surface has been finished with an organic, chemically oxidized, or anodized surface, this cleaning process can be utilized to remove the paint coating from a surface, either partially, fully, or on a selective area. This is the case regardless of whether the surface was anodized, chemically oxidized, or finished with an organic surface. This might be utilized for things like de-coating solar panels or removing paint in the aerospace or automobile industries while preserving the integrity of the priming substance. Other potential applications include de-coating solar panels and sheet metal fabrication.
Treatment of the surface in preparation for adhesive bonding and coating
In addition, fiber lasers can be used to prepare surfaces for adhesive bonding or coating, which can be useful in processes such as welding and brazing. This application will remove any lubricants, contaminants, grease, traffic film, oils, or other substance from the surface, making the objects ready to be worked with. This is helpful for a variety of industries, including automobile manufacturing, shipbuilding, and the production of precision tools.
Labeling and marking
Cleaning can also be used to abrade surfaces made of metal or plastic, leaving a label or mark beneath the surface. When using this method, a surface can be cleaned and labeled in a single process, as opposed to the need for a multi-step approach that is required when using other conventional methods. This results in a significant increase in efficiency. The generation of barcodes on an item is an example of an application where this is helpful.
Restoring works of art and ancient stonework
The non-contact nature of the laser cleaning process is one of the most advantageous aspects of using a laser in the art world for the purpose of precise cleaning of priceless works of art. In a similar manner, the method is also perfect for cleaning statues and monuments, which become dirty over time, especially when they are displayed in public areas.
Cleaning of mold and degreasing of oil
Mold removal and deoiling are two additional cleaning applications that can be performed. This has applications in a variety of different fields, including the food manufacturing industry, where a fiber laser can be used to clean baking trays.
Cleaning using chemicals versus cleaning with fiber lasers
Although chemical cleaning is effective at removing surface pollution from an entire part, it is difficult to apply to a specific portion of the part. Because of regulatory constraints, getting rid of the chemicals is becoming an increasingly challenging and expensive task.
Selective applications of fiber lasers are possible. Because there is no chemicals present, there is no variation in the product's quality, and there are no difficulties associated with the disposal of chemical solvents. Because there is no need for curing time, the parts can be used right away.