When thinking about how to clean rust, oil, and other contaminants from the surface of your armored vehicles, aircraft, and other operations, you may find that traditional methods of cleaning aren’t quite what you need. There’s a social pressure to be environmentally-friendly, and methods like sandblasting or paint strippers can be quite damaging. Methods like plasma treatment and laser cleaning seem to be relatively safe for the environment, but how safe are they for the products you’re cleaning?
WHAT IS PLASMA CLEANING?
Plasma treatment uses ionized gas called plasma to remove organic matter from the surface of your appliances. It uses gas to theoretically clean the product followed by a secondary cleaning process. Plasma breaks down the surface material at the chemical level to allow for bonding to occur, but this chemical compound can leave contaminants on your operations.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?
In addition to being environmentally-friendly and less damaging than other alternatives, plasma can also be used for a wide range of non-metallic products with contaminants not easily removed — including plastic, glass, ceramics, and more. It works by changing the chemical compound of the contaminants which gives it the appearance of a clean foundation — but in reality, the products aren’t truly clean.
The new chemical compound changes the existing contaminants and adds to the layers. Because it’s always there, the contaminants will eventually impede your process over time. For metal, this includes oxidation, which breaks down metallic materials over time — leaving behind corrosion. This means your products could become damaged if the formation of oxide takes place.
Additionally, when this chemical bonding takes place, it leaves behind a conductive layer. That means that your operations now have a thin layer of hazardous material remaining on the surface. More plasma treatment won’t remove this layer, you would need a different media cleaner to do that — such as laser ablation.
Plasma treatment also requires extra tools to make it safe for use. It can’t be operated manually, and thus automated gun manipulators must be purchased along with the cleaning solution itself. However, the cleaning solution rapidly deteriorates its own automated gun — making replacements fairly frequent.
WHAT IS LASER CLEANING?
Laser technology distributes thousands of focused laser pulses per second onto contamination layers. The light is absorbed into the surface matter, and the chemical bond is broken down — turning the contaminants into gas or removing them through high-pressure pulses. That said, 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 is typically used for:
- Bonding preparation
- Coating preparation
- Nuclear decontamination
- Surface prep for NDI
- Welding/brazing preparation
- Welding post-treatment
LASER CLEANING — A PLASMA CLEANING ALTERNATIVE
Unlike plasma, laser cleaning doesn’t deteriorate your product — regardless of if the material is metal or non-metal — and it leaves behind no additional waste or conductive material, making cleanup nonexistent. You’ll never have a layer of contaminants left behind after use, meaning you get a true, clean product. It’s also safer and easier to use. Operators can use handheld or automated solutions, and the only protective covering required is protective eyewear and a designated optical hazard zone.
Laser technology options range from low- to high-powered lasers based on your specific needs — but a low-powered laser works just as effectively as a high-powered one. Plus, laser cleaning removes a myriad of contaminants including:
HOW IT WORKS
When using the proper settings and solutions, laser cleaning is unmatched in its ability to eliminate contaminants all the way to the bare foundation of your product. Once the specific settings and solutions for your needs have been identified, the process is the same: the laser works very efficiently without affecting the integrity of the surface you’re cleaning.
By using this plasma treatment alternative, you can expect:
- Energy savings — up to eight times lower than other methods
- No chemicals
- No damage
- No media
- Clean disposal of coatings and contaminants
- Reduced long-term injuries to workers — such as repetitive injuries
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.