Fiber laser cleaning machines are used to clean a variety of materials including metals and ceramics. They use a highly focused beam of light to remove contaminants such as oil, dust, rust, paint, and electrolyte. Because they are precise, efficient, and eco-friendly, they are commonly used in the automotive, aerospace, and medical industries.
Fiber laser cleaners are becoming increasingly popular to clean metal surfaces due to their many advantages over traditional cleaning methods like sandblasting and chemical cleaning.
In this article, we present the different laser cleaning solutions, their industrial applications, and their benefits.
Table of Contents
- Fiber Laser Cleaning Machines
- Fiber Laser Cleaning Systems
- Industrial Applications
- Advantages of Fiber Laser Cleaning
Fiber laser cleaning machines range from cost-efficient solutions (manual loading) to top-performing industrial-grade models. Take a look at the following machines to understand the various types available.
The fiber laser cleaning head can be mounted on a robot arm to clean complex surfaces that have several cleaning areas, curved surfaces, or even to clean multiple types of parts. The laser is moved as needed over the cleaning areas. Examples of parts that benefit from the flexibility of robotic laser cleaning include EV battery trays, stator connectors, and housings.
Fiber lasers can be installed above conveyor lines to clean flat surfaces of parts moving on conveyors. For example, they are used in battery production lines to clean cylindrical battery cells and modules. They are also used to clean various types of castings.
Rotary tables are used to increase the throughput of a machine by making it possible to simultaneously clean and load parts. Depending on the level of automation required, robots or operators can be used for part loading.
For low production volumes, manually loaded machines are often preferred over automated solutions. Manual loading is the most cost-efficient solution and is completely safe for the operator.
Handheld laser cleaning machines are designed to be portable. The operator holds a “gun” that can be positioned to access any area on complex workpieces. These systems are well-suited for low-volume production environments where multiple parts of various shapes and sizes need to be cleaned. The laser machine is mounted on wheels so it can easily be moved around.
Fiber laser cleaning systems are the units that power the machines. They come at various power levels (higher power is needed when the speed of the cleaning process is important).
To better understand the different options, you can learn more about fiber laser cleaning technology here.
Fiber lasers are highly effective at removing rust and are mainly used in high-volume production lines. They are rarely cost-effective for small scale rust removal projects such as refurbishing old parts or cleaning stored parts affected by corrosion.
The laser cleaning speed is affected by the rust grade, but a higher power laser can speed up the process.
Fiber lasers can remove all types of oxides from metal surfaces. Laser oxide removal is widely used to prepare surfaces for laser welding, coatings, or adhesives. For coating and adhesive surface preparation, single-mode fiber lasers are ideal, as they can both remove oxides and texture the surface at the same time.
Laser coating removal, also known as laser paint stripping or laser paint removal, is a popular choice for removing coatings such as e-coating, powder coating, and phosphate coating.
Fiber lasers offer the precision needed to eliminate masking operations in production lines. Instead of masking and coating parts, parts are fully coated and the laser removes the coating from selected areas. This solution eliminates masking errors, improves precision and repeatability, and speeds up the coating process.
Fiber lasers offer several competitive advantages in manufacturing. They are especially useful in high-volume production lines to improve efficiency and part quality.
One major advantage of fiber laser cleaners is their precision and repeatability. Because the laser beam is focused on a very small area, it can effectively clean specific areas without touching the rest (selective paint stripping). This allows manufacturers to clean delicate components like EV batteries or fuel cells without the risk of damaging their surface, their structure, or other components.
Another advantage of fiber laser cleaners is the speed at which they can clean precise areas. Traditional cleaning methods like sandblasting and chemical cleaning require multiple steps and can be slow and labor-intensive. This leads to production bottlenecks and low efficiency.
Fiber laser cleaners, on the other hand, quickly and effectively clean surfaces in automated production lines. High-power multimode fiber lasers can even clean large surfaces in a single pass, allowing manufacturers to keep their production lines running smoothly.
Unlike sandblasting and chemical cleaning, fiber laser cleaners operate without consumables and waste products. This leads to lower operating costs as well as a more reliable process, as consumables deteriorate over time and affect quality.
Fiber lasers clean surfaces without physically touching them and without applying any force on the surface. The main advantage of this is that it is much more precise and selective than other cleaning methods. This allows for the removal of specific contaminants without damaging the substrate or the surrounding material, even if it is thin or delicate.
As a non-contact process, there are fewer mechanical movements involved. This means that laser cleaning requires lower maintenance than other cleaning methods.