We are always expanding our frequently asked questions so if your question is not answered here feel free to send us your question using the form below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What other equipment will I need with my laser cleaning system?
This question hinges on the power of your system and the application.
For high powered systems you will need proper power. Our systems are manufactured in Europe and do not run on North American standards. A transformer to convert proper voltage and amperage is needed. Furthermore, compressed air is needed to cool and divert fumes from the optics. In order to have clean air an oil separator and air dryer are required. The good news is that NIR can supply, train and install all complimentary equipment needed.
Low powered systems can plug directly in to a 110 outlet and do not required air. simply a plug and play operation.
A constant is always safety. Properly rated laser safety glasses are a must. A direct or reflected beam from an NIR emission is readily absorbed by the retina. If this occurs it creates a burnt spot on the retina itself. By calculating the Nominal Hazard Zone, anyone in that area should wear appropriate laser safety glasses.
Fume extraction is also an essential. When cleaning metals, masonry or even wood, very fine particulate can be released. If not properly aspirated, the user can breathe in some of the removed material. At NIR we can recommend a wide variety of fume extractions systems to suit your needs.
What is laser cleaning?
Laser cleaning, to be simply explained, is a process that uses concentrated and focused energy (NIR light) to vaporize a given contaminate off of a surface. The laser cleaning system pulses extremely fast to deliver short bursts of energy to a given target. The energy excites the surface contaminate and transforming it to a very fine particulate. Often times it is a smoke or vapor that is released and easily aspirated. The process is dry, non abrasive and has unrivaled control and precision.
How much do Laser Cleaning Systems cost?
Laser cleaning systems can be categorized by power. Low power from 20W to 100W, mid power from 200W to 300W and high power from 500W to 2000W. The entry level Laser cleaning systems start between $60 to $160,000 Canadian dollars including our standard onsite training package. High powered systems can reach up to 1 million dollars depending on configuration.
Will laser cleaning damage my substrate?
Generally speaking, when tuned correctly, the laser will not damage the substrate. It leaves no chemical, thermal or mechanical damage to the underlying material. There are of course exceptions. For example, older clay bricks that obtain their red color from oxidation of the iron content in the clay, is a tough application. While trying to clean a stain, the user will inevitably remove that oxidation from the brick as well! bringing it back to a greyish color.
What are lead times on systems?
Depending on the power of the system, a low powered unit can take one month and a high powered system typically takes four to five months. The high powered systems are built to order.
What are my operational costs?
To operate a machine, you need electricity: 0.4 kW (50W) to 7 kW (1000W). Furthermore, some machines use compressed air. Lastly, there is a yearly fee for the P-Laser software, Cleansweep.
What are the consumables?
There are cooling liquids that need to be changed depending on usage. In constant use a systems cooling liquids will need to be changed every six months. Filters for the cooling system should also be changed in the same interval.
Lenses for the Laser cleaning system also get damaged over time. Impurities deposit on the lens and inevitably stick to the surface. This reduces the efficiency of the beam delivery. Lens cleaning kits are supplied and if the user is careful lenses can last a very long time.
NIR does supply all consumables to better support our clients.
What is maintenance like?
Low Power Systems are air-cooled, and don’t require a lot of maintenance. However, it is important to keep the lens and filters clean at all time.
Mid and High Power Machines are water cooled, and require a bit more maintenance. Check the filters and chillers every month. Keep the lens clean at all time.
We recommend a yearly check-up of your system by P-Laser or authorized staff. We also offer a remote monitoring service, with which P-Laser checks alarms, temperatures, humidity etc. as a proactive tool.
How wide is your beam?
The laser beam can go up to 20cm wide. However, this is not the most important aspect of the laser beam. An essential element for our lasers is the Cleansweep software, which allows you to change the frequency, intensity, shape and size of the laser beam. The combination of these variables offers efficient configurations for different applications.