During the development of their new product, this manufacturer used grit blasting to prepare metal surfaces for a coating process. After they changed their part design, grit blasting caused defects and was no longer suitable.
After reviewing their options, they replaced grit blasting with laser texturing and ordered a laser machine from Laserax.
Their development leader had planned to receive the laser machine in time to transition to the new part. Unfortunately, supply chain disruptions caused production delays for the laser machine.
Without the possibility to receive the machine in time, they sent a significant number of parts to be laser textured at Laserax. Our texturing service allowed the manufacturer to continue its operations without interruption.
Keep reading to hear directly from the manufacturer.
Problems Fixed by Replacing Grit Blasting with Laser Texturing
Grit Blasting Caused Defects
As part of the development of our new product, we used grit blasting to prepare metal surfaces for a coating. At some point, we made major changes to the part’s design which led grit blasting to cause unacceptable part deformation.
We needed a solution to prepare surfaces for the coating without damaging them, so we worked with Laserax to develop a laser texturing process.
Abrasiveness Demanded Constant Maintenance of Equipment
Grit blasting media is highly abrasive. The equipment we used was always in need of maintenance. There was always something: a hole somewhere, the metal’s wearing out, a valve breaking down. There’s a lot of maintenance and the uptime is low. That’s a problem. Lasers are less demanding in terms of maintenance.
Oxides Contaminated Surfaces to Be Coated
We used aluminum oxide for grit blasting. If you eliminate aluminum oxide, that’s one less contaminant, and less waste to deal with. In our case, some of the oxide ended up inside the parts, which isn't desirable either. Using laser texturing eliminates this problem.
Areas Needed to Be Masked to Avoid Blasting
One added advantage is that we had to mask areas of our part to avoid grit blasting damage where it was not needed. Because the laser is much more precise, we don't need to mask the part anymore, which leads to time saving and lower maintenance as well as more consistent quality.
Prototypes Produced in Time with Laserax’s Laser Texturing Service
Critical to Keep the Team Going
Following our design change, everyone on the team had to make changes to accommodate the new part’s geometry. When the day came to make the transition to the new part, we had to be ready for the new geometry, otherwise, this would have led to a major disruption of our operations. We were a bit stressed about it.
Laserax’s texturing service allowed us to transition from the previous geometry to the new geometry in time. This was critical for us. The entire team was waiting after this transition. Laserax responded well.
Problems No One Could Have Planned For
We ordered a laser texturing machine from Laserax well in advance to make sure we could transition to the new design in time, but supply chain disruptions caused production delays which meant we weren’t getting the machine in time.
I don’t think this is Laserax’s fault. They had delivery problems with their suppliers. Their response was quick and everyone was there for us. The solution they found was to temporarily process our parts at their headquarter.
Laserax’s Flexibility Was Essential
Flexibility was key to us. The people at Laserax were asking me how many parts I was going to send them, and oftentimes I didn’t know the answer until we were ready to ship them. Yet, the parts we shipped were processed in a timely manner.
I know it’s not easy to manage a lab, but that’s the kind of support we needed.