Laser cleaning solutions are designed to safely and effectively absorb into and remove contaminants using thousands of laser pulses per second. From rust and oxides to hazardous coatings, laser systems are ideal for removing surface material from targeted areas without impacting the substrate. But, what about thick, dangerous, and hard-to-remove chemical resistant coatings?
HOW DOES LASER CLEANING WORK?
Our laser solutions — in a simplified sense — use mirrors and a focusing optic to direct pulsing laser light onto your product. Included next to the output for the light is a vacuum that absorbs the contaminants as it’s removed. The most common contaminants include:
- And more
But, what about chemical-resistant and other hazardous coatings? The answer isn’t quite that simple. Whether laser cleaning is suitable for certain hazardous or chemical- resistant coatings is dependent on a variety of factors — including the type of product needing cleaned, the type of coatings involved, and the desired result.
COMMON HAZARDOUS COATINGS
LEAD-BASED PAINT COATINGS
One of the most common scenarios we’ve experienced when removing thick or resistant chemical coatings is within the energy and military and defense sectors. These customers typically work with products coated in lead-based contaminants that are dangerous to remove due to their chemical properties.
Unlike media blasting options — which can create airborne hazards in the process of cleaning and requires a separate environment for the cleaning to occur — laser solutions not only absorb into and remove these thick coatings, but they do so without impacting the base material. The laser solution provides a pristine clean that’s ideal for welding, bonding, and brazing. And, the lead-based paint is safely captured when removed so there is no secondary cleaning process.
This practice has been seen time and time again with the US Navy. They leverage our laser solutions to remove lead-based paints from old navy warships and other equipment. And, our laser systems are up to 15 times faster than traditional media methods — helping the navy get back up and running quickly.
CHROME-BASED PAINT COATINGS
Many aircraft within the aerospace and military and defense industries are painted with chrome paints that are more resistant to corrosion. But, these hazardous paints can be a hassle to remove when controlling corrosion, modifying the aircraft, or preparing for bonding. When using media blasting alternatives, a secondary cleaning process is required, and the waste must be safely and appropriately disposed of. That’s because the hazardous coatings used by the military can often cause lung cancer and are extremely dangerous for cleaning operators.
With laser cleaning solutions, hazardous coatings are absorbed and removed — creating little to no additional waste and requiring no secondary cleanup. Not only is this quicker for the cleaning process, but it’s safer for operators and the environment.
CHEMICAL AGENT RESISTANT COATINGS
Chemical agent resistant coatings (CARC) are typically used on military and defense equipment — such as ground vehicles — in active theaters. This includes military vehicles and other support equipment. This type of paint is used to prevent chemical and biological warfare agents. Due to the durability and hazardous properties of the coating, it can be extremely difficult to remove.
Our laser solutions safely and effectively absorb into and remove the CARC — leaving behind a pristine surface for new paint or other purposes. Unlike other methods, which can destroy the equipment and put operators in harm’s way, laser cleaning doesn’t impact the integrity and is one of the safest cleaning methods available. Plus, cleaning can be done up to 15 times faster than other methods and it captures the hazardous coatings safely to eliminate the need for secondary cleaning processes.
BENEFITS OF LASER CLEANING
Laser solutions are considered one of the safest forms of contaminant removal. That’s because it doesn’t require a full hazmat suit like media blasting options do, and operators only need protective eyewear, training, and an optical hazard zone to keep other employees safe from the laser light. Plus, laser solutions have a variety of uses, including:
- Bonding preparation
- Coating preparation
- Surface prep for NDI
- Welding/brazing preparation
- Welding post-treatment
While laser solutions work for metal and non-metal materials alike, they aren’t the perfect solution for every application. Products made from glass, wood, or other combustible materials can be difficult to clean. Laser solutions have limitations with larger surfaces and hard-to-see areas and, therefore, don’t clean as efficiently or effectively. If you’re unsure if laser cleaning will be able to remove chemical agent resistant coatings — such as chemical treatments or paint — from your products, you can send it to our on-site lab where we’ll test to find which solution is best for your needs.
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 1,600 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.