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Large area laser surface cleaning

The aim is to develop a new paint stripping process capable
of cleaning several dozen square metres per hour.

The ablation of large surfaces is a usual task, which is not as easy as often thought. Usually this job is performed using water jets or solvents. The amount of energy used is extremely high compared to other processes. An average water jet system has the following data: 2800 bar, 71 l/min, 400kW. Such a system is capable of cleaning up to 150 sq. m. per hour. Although quite a few dangers are associated with these cleaning processes, other methods, such as ultrasonic vibration processes that use environmentally-hazardous chemicals i.e. carbonfluorochloride (CFC) and trychlorethylene, should generally be banned, given the fact that they contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. Consequently, de-coating is rather expensive given the liquid residue and solvents to be disposed of. Due to these disadvantages, alternative de-coating techniques are required. Consequently, our aim is to develop of a High Tech Carried Laser Surface Processing Unit, capable of cleaning very large areas, up to several dozen square metres. However, the prior art of laser technology concerning cleaning, the ablation of colour layers and removal of oxides is limited to small-scale applications. Laser surface cleaning has already been applied in aerospace maintenance for de-coating, but the removed colour layer of aeroplanes is fairly thin compared to the colour layers of vessels or steel constructions. Consequently, we have to scale up the treatment rates. Keywords: paint stripping, laser, coatings.
Acronym: 
LARLASC
Project ID: 
2 732
Start date: 
31-10-2001
Project Duration: 
50months
Project costs: 
2 790 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Erosion, Removal (spark erosion, flame cutting, laser/plasma cutting, electrochemical erosion,waterjet cutting)
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.