When cleaning products, the last thing you want is for the safety of your operator or your other employees to be compromised. But, the majority of cleaning methods — including dry ice blasting — come with risks. Laser cleaning provides a safer and quicker alternative. What are the differences, and how does laser cleaning work?
WHAT IS DRY ICE BLASTING?
Similar to other methods of media cleaning, dry ice uses a pressurized air stream directed at a surface. Dry ice blasting works by using reclaimed carbon dioxide to freeze and blast away contaminants. It’s most effective for soft, thick layers of contaminants such as aircraft sealants. Other advantages are that dry ice blasting doesn’t require secondary waste cleanup and is considered environmentally friendly.
DISADVANTAGES OF DRY ICE BLASTING
While using dry ice blasting has several pros, there are a few cons as well. One of the biggest disadvantages is that dry ice is incredibly expensive — not only to buy but also to store. Similar to sandblasting, the equipment used for dry ice blasting often damages itself, meaning you’ll have to continually replace the application as it breaks down. The recurring costs are steep, and it can also be difficult to find a reputable distributor. In terms of storage, dry ice requires temperatures less than –78.5 degrees Celsius, which means that it’s difficult to store for long periods. It usually requires special storage equipment that can cost anywhere between $13,000 – 30,000. Plus, transporting the dry ice in and out of its storage area is a hassle.
Dry ice blasting can be extremely dangerous, as it can cause a buildup of carbon dioxide within enclosed spaces. Because of this risk, dry ice requires a well-ventilated space, or else the operator and any employees within the space may experience asphyxiation. When using dry ice blasting, your operator and any employees in the space will need to wear multiple layers of protection — including gloves, jackets, and earmuffs — to keep them warm and safe, as dry ice blasting can be extremely cold and noisy.
WHAT IS LASER CLEANING?
Laser technology uses thousands of focused laser pulses per second to cut through contamination layers — making it an ideal way of blasting them away. But, not all layers are made of the same components. Different types of lasers can be used for different cleanings, and products can range between 20 and 1,000 watts. Laser cleaning provides a powerful clean without damaging or deteriorating the product. It’s typically used for:
- Welding and bonding treatments
- Coating preparation
- Mold tool cleaning
- Nuclear decontamination
- Surface prep for NDI
HOW IT WORKS
By sending nanosecond length pulses of laser light towards a surface, laser technology quickly and efficiently removes contaminants from surface areas. When it interacts with contaminants that absorb laser light, the contaminants or coating particles will either turn into a gas or the pressure of the interaction will cause particles to free from the surface.
By using the right laser settings and solutions, laser cleaning penetrates down to the foundation of your product — providing an effective clean on both soft and hard surfaces. Laser technology is ideal for cleaning metals and also removes:
- Other contaminants
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LASER CLEANING?
Laser cleaning provides a variety of solutions to fit different needs. From portable handheld solutions to larger, 1,000-watt automated products, laser cleaning provides a durable clean for a reasonable and low price. It doesn’t require a special environment to store equipment, and laser cleaning is about 15 times faster than abrasive hand cleaning and eight times faster than dry ice blasting. That means that you can clean your products in less than half the time.
Compared to dry ice blasting, laser cleaning is safer for operators and employees. It doesn’t use any harmful gases and can be used even in the smallest or unventilated places — so long as everyone in the immediate area is wearing protective eyewear. And, because it’s non-damaging, it provides a serious clean without harming or wearing down your operations — extending the lifespan of your product or tooling. Other added benefits include:
- Easy to operate
- Environmentally friendly
- Doesn’t require cleanup
- Low operating costs
- Low maintenance
WHATEVER YOUR NEEDS, ADAPT LASER HAS A SOLUTION FOR IT
Adapt Laser specializes in the know-how and application of laser cleaning solutions. We offer products with a range between 20 and 1,000 watts and provide training to ensure your employees can get the most from their laser cleaning solutions. We’ve equipped a variety of industries and companies with laser cleaning solutions — including military and defense for the US Airforce and Navy — and hundreds of organizations trust our state-of-the-art laser cleaning solutions.