Laser ablation is one of the best cleaning solutions for metal molds. It effectively removes sticky and thick contaminants for uniform results, time and time again. Not only can laser systems be automated to promote mass production, but they’re also quicker than some abrasive alternatives. But, are laser cleaning solutions the most practical and effective method for other types of molds? Particularly, can they be used to clean fiberglass molds?
HOW DOES LASER CLEANING WORK FOR MOLDS?
Laser cleaning uses thousands of laser pulses per second to absorb contaminants and remove them from the foundation of your product(s) without damaging the substrate. Using an integrated vacuum, the laser light penetrates the contaminants located on the surface, removes and absorbs them. This makes it one of the safest cleaning methods to operate.
Unlike abrasive methods and other forms of mold cleaning, laser cleaning doesn’t degrade itself or your product — making it a cost-effective solution for cleaning metals and non-metals alike. But, it’s not suitable for every type of material. Laser cleaning is best for molds made from:
- Cast iron
CAN LASER CLEANING BE USED FOR FIBERGLASS MOLDS?
While our laser cleaning solutions can absorb into and remove contaminants from metal molds without damaging the substrate, the same cannot be said for fiberglass. At its core, the problem becomes absorbency. Instead of traveling along the substrate — removing contaminants as it goes — the laser passes through the layer and damages the surface. This can result in melting, burning, or other forms of degradation. The contaminants will be removed, but the damage done in the process negates any benefits. As such, laser cleaning is not the most effective or ideal solution for fiberglass molds.
BEST SOLUTIONS FOR FIBERGLASS MOLDS
Since laser ablation is not currently suitable for laser cleaning fiberglass molds, the best alternatives will either be dry ice blasting or a hand cleaning method. Typically, both processes are considered slow and may damage your molds over time. But, the processes won’t be immediately damaging, and both cleaning solutions offer portability to make cleaning your molds easier. When compared to other forms of cleaning, these two methods offer the most benefit based on operating costs, damage to your substrate, and other technical considerations.
DEVELOPING NEW LASER CLEANING PROCESSES
While our laser cleaning solutions aren’t currently suitable for maintaining fiberglass molds, we’re constantly — in conjunction with our partner cleanLASER — looking for new ways to extend the capabilities of our systems. In recent years, we’ve created a new cleaning process for the Corvette, experienced the release of the highest power laser on the market, and refined our existing products. There is a possibility that, in the future, we can figure out a way to make our laser cleaning solutions safe and effective for fiberglass molds, but until then, they’ll remain solely the ideal solution for metal and some non-metal molds.
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 2,000 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 Air Force and Navy — and hundreds of organizations trust our state-of-the-art laser cleaning solutions.