Army National Guard’s Newest Recommended Cleaning Process: Laser Ablation

Adapt Laser

National Guard Purchases Seven CL1000 Laser Cleaning Systems

Right before the end of last year we received the largest order in company history from the Army National Guard who purchased seven high-power CL1000 laser cleaning systems. This comes after years of working with different branches of the DoD and military including the US Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force. Our laser cleaning systems are ideal for many of their rust and paint removal applications on aircrafts, vehicles, and ground equipment, specifically those where hexavalent chromium is present.

The Army National Guard has used a variety of different processes in the past to strip their vehicles and equipment of paints, rusts, greases, and oils. For the ILARNG, (Illinois Army National Guard) concerns were brought up surrounding the hazardous exposures and operator fatigue created with their current processes of water & media blasting and using hand held tools.

Current Processes

  • Media And Water Blast Booths: In media and water blast booth systems, pressurized air or water is used to propel abrasive media against a surface to remove corrosion and coatings. Employees using these types of booths must often be in airline respirator systems to protect them from hazardous exposure.
  • Hand Held Tools: To remove corrosion and coatings for smaller areas, hand held tools such as orbital grinders or sanders may be used. Several studies have been conducted by the Region NE IH Office during this process/method which demonstrated a much greater airborne exposure risk to employees. These exposures contain various metals and may even contain lead and hexavalent chromium depending on the original coating.

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Laser Sales Man Presents To Army National Guard

DoD Sales Manager Leads Sales Presentation & Safety Overview

On-Site at an IL Army National Guard Facility

Last year in June, the IL National Guard reached out to us for an on-site demonstration to show off our CL1000 laser cleaning system’s abilities. While there, industrial hygienists ran air sample tests to evaluate risk assessment codes that are determined by the Department of Defense to help quantify risks to personnel. This industrial hygiene survey was requested by the ILARNG to evaluate the air contaminants potentially associated with laser corrosion and coating removal.


Air Sample Testing

industrial hygienists set up air sample testing for laser ablation at a national guard facility

Industrial Hygienists Set Up Air Sample Testing At An ILARNG Facility

For the testing, two air sampling pumps with media for metals and isocyanates were placed in the breathing zone (BZ) of the two alternating employees performing the paint removal and an additional three air sampling pumps were placed in the general area (GA) to assess potential exposures to nearby employees for metals exposure. Pumps were operated for the 78 minute duration of the process. The samples collected on the media were shipped to an accredited laboratory and analyzed.

solider holding a laser optic

Solider During Air Sample Testing

Conclusion & Recommendations

The report concluded with their findings that the occupational health risks associated with the use of our laser system were “well controlled” at the time. In the recommendations section they went on to say that laser ablation appears to be the “least hazardous of the methods described in this report,” which included water blasting and using hand tools.

During the demonstration the soldiers whose job is to operate the current cleaning equipment expressed sincere excitement over the laser technology. They specifically were happy about the lack of PPE that was needed for the laser—a pair of laser safety glasses. In the past they’ve had to gear up in full respirators while using media and water blasting booths and complained that by the end of their shift they would be covered in debris.

The soldiers also talked about the ease-of-use while using the laser compared to processes like hand sanding and media blasting. While hand held laser ablation applications do take some man power and effort, in comparison to more grueling physical tasks like hand sanding, the time and energy savings is extreme.

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Adapt Laser specializes in providing the highest-quality laser cleaning systems available. Our systems come in both handheld and automated options making them versatile for different coating removal applications and surface preparation. We offer formal laser operations and safety training to ensure both you and your employees get the most out of the laser cleaning system. Our headquarters is in Kansas City, MO but we have sales managers across the country who can travel to your facility for an on-site demo. Over the past 16 years we have equipped numerous companies across varying industries with our state-of-the-art laser cleaning systems.

If you’re looking for a faster, totally unique industrial cleaning and coating removal process, contact us today or call (816) 466-5855 to find the right laser cleaning system for your application.

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