When it comes to cleaning products, years of corrosion, paint, and other contaminants require more than merely warm, soapy water and a rag to deep clean. Sandblasting has long since been considered an effective way to clean surface areas, but did you know that using this method can damage the substrate you’re trying to clean? Fortunately, laser technology provides a safer and less damaging alternative.
WHAT IS SANDBLASTING?
Sandblasting — a version of media blasting — forcibly propels a stream of media against a surface under high pressure to remove surface contaminants. It’s mostly used for:
ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES OF SANDBLASTING
Sandblasting has been used for years, and that’s not likely to go away anytime soon. That’s because it’s incredibly useful for large and thick contaminants that can’t be quickly removed by other options. Sandblasting is especially effective at removing large areas of rust in a short amount of time.
While this type of cleaning is considered to be fast and effective, the process in itself damages products and is harmful to use. Not only that, but the equipment destroys itself over time, meaning you’ll need to continually replace it. Through a media method, you’ll get the results you desire, but you won’t be able to use the product for as long as you could with other methods like laser cleaning — which begs the question, does the benefit outweigh the cost?
By using sand, anyone operating or in the same room as someone operating a sandblaster is at risk of developing lung disease and even choking. Sandblasting should only be used in a room that is well ventilated, and all parts of the skin should be covered, as the high pressure can cause particles — such as tiny steel balls and glass powder — to penetrate the naked skin, taking off fingers or cutting biceps. In addition, it’s incredibly difficult to clean up after — making sandblasting not only dangerous to operators and employees, but also to the environment.
WHAT IS LASER CLEANING?
Laser technology distributes thousands of focused laser pulses per second onto contamination layers, which makes it an ideal way of removing contaminants without damaging the substrate. 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
HOW IT WORKS
Laser technology works by sending nanosecond length pulses of laser light towards a surface. 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 — safely and effectively removing the foreign surface matter.
With the right laser settings and solutions, laser cleaning is unmatched in its ability to clean all the way to the bare metal of your product without damaging the operation. Once the right combination for your specific needs has been identified, the process is the same: the laser works very efficiently without affecting the integrity of the surface you’re cleaning.
BENEFITS OF LASER CLEANING
Unlike sandblasting, laser cleaning is much safer for operators and employees. It produces no additional waste and is greener than other alternatives, making it an environmentally-friendly option. Because it’s non-damaging, it provides a serious clean to your products without wearing down the surface materials — extending the lifespan instead of devaluing it.
When it comes to laser cleaning, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Ground components, armored vehicles, and aircraft are all made of different materials that require different levels of care. With laser cleaning, you can customize the products to fit your specific needs — ensuring you get the best cleaning for your application. Along with the foundational benefits of laser cleaning, other added benefits include:
- Easy to operate
- 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.