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Laser Cleaning: A Cost-Effective and Eco-Friendly Solution For Industrial Surface Cleaning Applications

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The increased popularity of environmental responsibility is challenging traditional business/industrial processes across the globe to come up with newer and eco-friendlier business models. More and more businesses are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and engender a green, cleaner, and healthier environment for all.

Currently, environmental responsibility is a major factor driving how companies’ structure and execute manufacturing operations. Parts and surfaces must be free from all contaminants before coating, welding, or adhesive bonding is performed. The process of removing such contaminants is an essential part of the manufacturing process and has largely been carried out using traditional means that are harmful to the environment. This is one of the most important eco-friendly business practices to consider this year.

Enters Laser Cleaning

Fortunately, the emergence of more eco-friendly cleaning technologies such as laser cleaning is revolutionizing how industries execute this process. Essentially, laser cleaning uses high-energy laser beams to irradiate surfaces and instantaneously peel or evaporate rust, dirt and other unwanted substances.

Quite unlike ultrasonic, chemical, or traditional mechanical cleaning processes, laser cleaning doesn’t require the use of CFC-based organic solvents…most of which cause significant damage to the environment and the ozone layer. This is one thing that you need to reflect on if you are trying to make your business more environmentally friendly.

Laser cleaning tops the list of green cleaning processes. It requires no consumables, produces no pollutants, and is harmless to the environment and human operators. The latter benefit is very important to industries that use traditional, aggressive cleaning processes to remove paint, oxide, and rust. Such processes are unsustainable and may damage the quality of materials, especially in the automotive and aerospace industries where final products must meet extremely high standards of quality and durability.

Essentially, laser cleaning offers industries a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to treat a wide range of surfaces with the lowest possible impact on the environment. With more and more organizations joining the Go-Green movement and revolutionizing industrial processes to become more eco-friendly, it’s only a matter of time before laser cleaning goes mainstream.

Currently, laser cleaning technology is seeing massive adoption by top players in shipbuilding, power generation, military and defense, aerospace, and automotive industries. However, many companies are worried about the possible ramifications of implementing new technologies, complex processes and redesigning production lines to achieve new levels of eco-friendliness.

For such companies, it’s pertinent to ascertain potential bottlenecks in the production line and prove the efficiency and effectiveness of new technologies before deployment. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some major reasons why lasers are a viable economic and ecological alternative to traditional cleaning methods.

How Laser Cleaning Technology Can Help Reduce Cost?

Reduces energy consumption

It’s a no-brainer! Laser technology is the most energy-efficient way to get rid of surface contaminants in industrial applications. As such, companies that implement laser cleaning technology find that they use less energy (which translates to lower utility bills).

Laser machines consume significantly less energy than other alternative industrial cleaning solutions such as sandblast machines. Operators can control the duration and intensity of energy output. As such, companies can reduce their carbon footprint, minimize the adverse impact of industrial activities on the environment, and save on operating costs.

Less consumables

Unlike conventional cleaning methods, laser cleaning doesn’t require abrasives, chemicals, or other (hazardous) consumables. For one, this reduces the total cost of ownership. Also, it’s one of the only industrial cleaning methods which doesn’t generate or require the use of hazardous materials. This makes it much easier for manufacturers to meet increasingly stringent OSHA and EPA regulations.

Furthermore, laser cleaning generates significantly less waste material than other cleaning processes. This reduces the amount spent on waste disposal…thus reducing operating cost, increasing profit margins, and engendering a more eco-friendly cleaning process.

Long product life

Although the purchase and installation cost of laser cleaning systems may seem high at first, the absence of ongoing costs (like repair and maintenance) makes it a smart investment in the long run. Laser systems are designed to be extremely durable and last much longer than conventional cleaning systems.

Most laser cleaning devices can deliver up to 100,000 hours of operation time (continuously) before anything goes wrong. With laser cleaning, companies enjoy lower total cost of ownership (when compared with other cleaning systems), a much safer process for operators (instant vaporization of contaminants), and a more eco-friendly operating model.

Waste reduction

Laser cleaning generates zero toxic waste — all contaminants and undesirables are vaporized instantly on contact. Using chemical solutions for certain use cases (such as paint removal from metal surfaces) generates a lot of contaminants and wastewater.

Disposal of such chemical waste must be done in accordance with best practices and government regulatory requirements. This drives up operational costs and complicates production workflows. Companies can avoid this hassle (and the generation of hazardous chemical waste) by deploying laser cleaning technology.

Supporting business economy without compromising the environment with laser technology

Whether it’s preparing surfaces for a subsequent process (such as coating, brazing, or welding), removing corrosion, decontaminating hazardous materials, preventing damage to an underlying metallic substrate, laser cleaning delivers excellent results every time.

It provides industries with flexible deployment options — integrated within production lines, stand-alone automation for dedicated, high-volume applications, or handheld (mobile) for intermittent, less frequent use cases.

What’s more, it’s a more economic, efficient, and ecologically friendly alternative to conventional cleaning technologies. It’s a no-brainer for companies looking to minimize abrasive and chemical use in industrial cleaning applications.

Laser Cleaning is a Great Way to Run a More Sustainable Business

There are a lot of ways your company can become more sustainable. You may want to start by looking into laser cleaning. This can help you be more environmentally friendly in the coming year.