Laser cleaning is considered one of the most promising growth points for laser applications in recent years. Although the current market size of laser cleaning is less than 1 billion yuan, laser cleaning technology, which focuses on green environmental protection concepts, is bound to become the mainstream choice for industrial cleaning and is expected to maintain a strong growth trend in the coming years with the continuous promotion of the dual carbon strategy.
Background and development status of laser cleaning
The research on laser cleaning technology started in the mid-1980s, but it was not until the early 1990s that it truly entered industrial production. It has been applied well in mold cleaning, material surface treatment, large-scale equipment, and precision machinery, such as paint and rust removal. In terms of the cleaning process itself, traditional sandblasting, acid alkali cleaning, and other processes have absolute advantages in efficiency and cost-effectiveness compared to laser cleaning. However, with the addition of environmental protection and governance costs, the comprehensive cost of traditional cleaning processes is not lower than that of laser cleaning.
Therefore, the development space of laser cleaning comes from replacing traditional cleaning processes. The key is to address the drawbacks of conventional processes, such as high pollution and high consumables, and to utilize the advantages of lasers to provide more efficient and cost-effective solutions. At present, the scale of China’s laser cleaning market is about 600 to 700 million yuan, which is less than 1% of the total market share of industrial cleaning. According to industry estimates, the laser cleaning market in China will reach the level of 30 billion yuan, and there is still enormous room for development.
In the author’s opinion, laser cleaning can achieve such enormous growth. On the one hand, it needs to be closely integrated with automation technology, focusing on manufacturing scenarios with high added value and high technological barriers. On the other hand, it is necessary to be more user-friendly and enter thousands of households with “tool level” portability, becoming a convenient daily tool in public life. The bulky size of the equipment has become one of the difficulties restricting the popularization of laser cleaning tools.
Minimum 200W laser cleaning equipment appeared at CIOE
Chinese manufacturers have made significant efforts and attempts to address the trend of miniaturization in laser cleaning. At present, there are many laser cleaning equipment at the level of trolley boxes, and even 100W cleaning equipment is close to the level of computer hosts. At the recently held CIOE MetLaser Intelligent Exhibition Stand, the author found that the 200W laser cleaning machine has reached the size of A3 paper, making it the smallest 200W laser cleaning machine in the world today!
Dr. Jiao Jiao, General Manager of MetLaser, said: “We have created the world’s smallest 200W laser cleaning machine, with a size of only 421×163×380 mm, weighing only 18.8 kg, is the lightest in the world, and can be transported directly in a trolley box. Even in a fully enclosed box, it can be transported directly by plane, solving the problem of inconvenient carrying and transportation in the past”.
Of course, to achieve miniaturization of the cleaning machine, the first step is to achieve miniaturization and lightweight of the laser itself. Dr. Jiao Jiao said, “Reducing the size of the laser cleaning machine is the core, but when the volume of the laser decreases, it will face many heat dissipation problems. Failure of heat dissipation issues will lead to frequent machine downtime and cannot guarantee stability, let alone becoming a tool. We have also made many research and development improvements to address this issue, ultimately ensuring both the appearance of the chassis and good heat dissipation – whether it is the core light source or some major external heating devices, including the heat dissipation performance of the laser head that can be guaranteed. On this basis, we have achieved a reduction in the volume of the cleaning machine. By the way, we tested this small-sized 200W laser cleaning machine for prolonged continuous operation. After 48 hours of continuous light output, the entire equipment still operates normally, and the highest temperature in the laser head cavity only reaches 60 degrees, which can be fully capable of meeting the conditions for instrumentalized use.”
As mentioned earlier, reducing the volume of the laser and solving heat dissipation issues can ensure the overall size of the laser cleaning machine. But to ensure that the equipment can operate for a long time and achieve good cleaning results, it is necessary to upgrade the technology of other accessories. To enable the laser cleaning machine operating in high quality, MetLaser has also independently developed control software that is compatible with various terminal operations, making it more flexible and convenient. In addition, the cleaning head researched by MetLaser also has distance-measurement and temperature-measurement functions, which will stop working and alarm when the temperature is too high to prevent damage to the galvanometer motor. There are temperatures and distances displayed real-time on the small screen of the laser head.
Due to the embryonic stage of the laser cleaning industry, many applications are still unclear, and manufacturers must guide downstream customers. In this context, MetLaser has also conducted extensive research on cleaning processes, solving the problem of overlap rate in aluminum alloy surface treatment, making the surface more uniform, and improving the coating performance of processed materials through hydrophilic and hydrophobic research. In addition, the overall cleaning efficiency has been promoted significantly without changing the power through some splicing processes.
It shows that the release of this minimum size 200W laser cleaning machine has solved the transportation problem of cleaning machines in the 200W power range in the past and pushed forward the toolization process of laser cleaning. Meanwhile, the research and development layout of MetLaser in software, cleaning heads, cleaning processes, and other aspects has improved the performance advantages of laser cleaning in practice, providing users with better choices when facing cleaning needs.
Source from ofweek.com