Products made from metal are meant to last longer and be more durable, but even the toughest ones have a breaking point. While it takes great force to bend metal — an amount of force that wouldn’t normally occur during operations — there are other circumstances that can impact your product. One such factor is oxidation. Oxidation, on its own, can begin to degrade your product — but, if your metal contains iron atoms, it’s also at risk of developing rust. Once the presence of rust exists, your product may decrease efficiency and break down at a molecular level. Fortunately, laser cleaning can effectively remove rust and extend the lifespan of your product.
HOW DOES LASER CLEANING WORK?
Using thousands of laser pulses per second, laser cleaning — also called laser ablation — absorbs contaminants and removes them from your products. Unlike media blasting options like sandblasting or dry ice blasting, laser cleaning provides a precision clean without creating additional waste or damaging the substrate. From oxides to mold and grease, laser ablation works efficiently to remove thick contaminants from small, targeted areas.
COMMON LASER CLEANING USES FOR METAL
One of the most common uses of laser solutions is removing rust. This is done to prepare for welding or bonding prep, improve efficiencies, or restore products like historic builds to their former glory. The most common metals that can rust, include:
- Cast Iron
- Wrought Iron
While laser cleaning is an effective means for removing rust, it also works on metals that don’t contain iron but still develop an oxide coating. Oxides can alter the integrity of your product and create a protective layer. While this sounds positive, what’s actually happening is that your product is breaking down, and removing that oxidation layer will expose it to further deterioration. Laser cleaning not only removes that protective layer, but it also removes the contaminant oxides altogether from your product — protecting it from further damage. The most common metals without iron include:
Contaminants such as oxides, grease, mold, and paint can prevent parts from welding or bonding together. This impacts the strength of your product in a big way. Laser cleaning removes even the thickest of contaminants from the surface of your product without impacting the integrity of the substrate — allowing you to secure parts with welding or bonding.
HAZARDOUS PAINT REMOVAL
Removing paint can be a long and dangerous process — especially when working with chrome- or lead-based paints. Because laser cleaning uses pulses to absorb and remove contaminants, you can safely remove hazardous paint from your metal applications without creating additional waste or risking the safety of your operators.
BENEFITS OF LASER CLEANING
In addition to effectively removing contaminants without affecting the substrate, laser cleaning produces no additional waste and requires no additional cleanup — making it an environmentally-friendly option. Plus, it’s one of the safest cleaning options available. Unlike media blasting options that require full protective suits and use abrasive — if not somewhat dangerous — materials to clean, laser solutions only require training, protective eyewear, and a designated hazard zone that prevents anyone unprotected from entering the area.
Laser solutions provide a variety of uses and work for metal and non-metal materials alike, but they aren’t the perfect solution for everything. Products made from glass, wood, or other combustible materials can be difficult to clean. Also, larger surfaces and hard-to-see areas are cleaned more efficiently or effectively with other alternatives. If you’re unsure if laser cleaning will be able to remove contaminants — such as oxides or rust— from your metal 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 1,000 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.