Vehicles and equipment in the US Air Force face a grueling existence. They are placed in the most extreme conditions and expected to perform with both strength and reliability, time and time again. Maintaining and servicing these vital aircraft and equipment, therefore, is no small task. When the time comes to remove those layers of rust, coatings, or contaminants, the US Air Force turns to laser ablation technology. But how does this laser technology work and what is its potential for the USAF and other military and defense applications?
HOW CLEANING LASERS ARE BEING USED BY USAF
The airmen at Travis Air Force Base trust our cleaning lasers on all their Aircraft Ground Equipment (AGE) for paint removal and corrosion control. The CL300 mid-power laser and CL1000 high-power laser give them both the precision and power they need to clean support equipment — including hydraulic carts, AC units, power generators, and more.
Whereas traditional blasting and grinding techniques rely on abrasion to clean surfaces, our laser cleaning solutions send pulses of light onto the surface, effectively vaporizing the layers of rust or hazardous paint, without harming the substrate. Through carefully calibrated optics and fume extractors, our cleaning lasers provide an incredibly precise cleaning solution that produces minimal to no waste.
BENEFITS OF CLEANING LASERS FOR USAF CORROSION CONTROL
Before laser cleaning, the airmen relied on orbital sanders and sandblasting to remove paint and rust from their equipment. While effective, these traditional cleaning solutions have several drawbacks, such as:
- Creating lots of waste, resulting in a time-consuming cleanup
- A hazardous work environment, requiring extensive personal protective equipment (PPE) — a full Tyvek suit, face respirator, forced air respirator, and nitrile gloves
- Damages/removes the metal surface in addition to corrosion and paint
Laser cleaning, on the other hand, provides several advantages over conventional methods. With built-in fume extractors, laser cleaners not only produce less waste, they also clean it up. Results from the CL1000 laser showed a 90% reduction in waste when compared to sanding treatments. Laser cleaning also is able to remove the paint and rust layers without damaging the metal substrate, allowing for non-destructive investigation (NDI) and increasing the overall parts life cycle of the equipment.
For operators, laser cleaning is also much safer than sanding methods. Instead of extensive PPE, all that is required is specialized glasses, hearing protection, and gloves. This also allows for more efficient equipment maintenance since there is no substantial setup and teardown time required to operate the lasers.
WHATEVER YOUR NEEDS, ADAPT LASER HAS A SOLUTION FOR IT
Adapt Laser is the only laser cleaning provider trusted by the US Air Force and Navy.
We specialize in the know-how and application of laser cleaning solutions, which range between 20 and 2,000 watts. We also 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 our state-of-the-art laser cleaning solutions, and our team of laser cleaning experts is committed to finding the perfect solution for your needs.