Laser Cleaning – Frequently Asked Questions

Laser Cleaning is very application specific.
Laser Cleaning devices are not consumer products.
They are used in industry for industry and is suitable for automation.
If nothing else works and there is enough value in the components to be cleaned, then laser cleaning ought to be considered.

Note: When a market exists or specific need has been identified, which suits the offering of a laser cleaning service, then we will support you in this business development.

As a guide price (in euro), ex works, basic model

  • – Low Power (50W – 100W) : £53,500 – £83,500 (These are the portable LP Laser Cleaning Systems)
    – Mid Power (200W – 500W) : £127,500 – £233,000
    – High Power (1000W) – £347,000
Laser Cleaning devices are are aimed at Business to Business customers. Laser Cleaning devices are not consumer products. They are use in industry for industry. Laser Cleaning is very application specific. It is not a wonder tool that cleans everything and not suitable for large areas. If there are cheaper ways to clean something, you or your account/business advisor/partner, sibling will find it. Entry level machines start at roughly €50,000. Only if nothing else works and there is enough value in the components being cleaned laser cleaning should be considered. An exception is made where you have identified a market or a specific need, and want to offer a contract  laser cleaning service, such as rust removal, mold cleaning, classic car restoration, agricultural machinery cleaning, monuments restoration, etc.  A business plan is advised and in any case is required to the leasing agency or bank who will fund such a machine. This is why we request your company credentials, including business website and business address.
As a guide price, ex works, for mobile laser cleaning units:

  • Low Power Range (50W-100W): €61k to €95k
  • Mid Power Range (500W): €270K
  • High End (1000W): €390K
Laser cleaning is very application specific. The particular application must be identified in order to establish if laser cleaning is suitable (Proof of Process) and practical (cost effective). To choose the right system, can you please provide a photo of the items you want processed.
For companies looking to perform in-house anilox roll cleaning, LARC (Laser Anilox Roller Cleaning) from P-Laser UK offers a system that uses laser cleaning on most kinds of rolls.  LARC offers an advanced cleaning technology, which extends the life of the roll (because no abrasive consumables (or chemicals) are used.  It can greatly help companies achieve their sustainability initiatives and move away from the use of chemicals and other processes that produce waste during roll cleaning operations.

  • Waste Free
  • Low Operating Costs
  • Fully Automated
  • Deep Cleaning: Can handle ANY LPI pattern

Laser Cleaning – uses no consumables

Our standard cleaning time using a 20W system for a scheduled clean for anilox roller of area 0.42m2 (d x l ; 180 x 750 mm) takes 45 minutes. Our Off-the-Press LARC Systems is engineered to remove most types of inks, coatings, adhesives and glues. These easy-to-use systems only require electricity to work – no compressed air, water, or media are ever required. With LARC, you can expect complete restoration of your cell volume — the laser beam pulverizes whatever is left in your cell and uses a small vacuum to capture the pulverized particles. LARC has always strived to offer the best available technology for roll cleaning, and this technology truly represents next generation cleaning performance – contact us now to learn more about this offering and how it may fit into your existing operation.

For new distributors these criteria are required:

  • At least 5 persons staff with technical competences in surface technology
  • Office/settlement in the country
  • Service capability (technical and engineering staff)
  • Turnover >2 Million EURO
  • Existing company (Ltd.) must be established and trading for more than 6 years
  • Purchase at least one low power system and one medium system for hire and demo purposes
  • Liability Insurance value >3 MILLION EURO
  • Access to at least 10 potential customers in; Aeronautics, Automotive, Injection Moulding, Transportation, Marine, Pharmaceutical, Print & Flexographic, Manufacturing, Construction, Baking and Conservation & Restoration.

There is a range of lasers to choose from but for portability and mobility and for working on/off site, the 100W system is the most portable and mobile option.

You can put it in the back of your car/van.

The system is good enough for:

  • mould cleaning (removing release agents, flashing, overspill of monomers
  • pre-and post weld clean-up (that rainbow oxide later left behind after welding can easily be removed by laser cleaning)
  • thin paint removal
  • general weathering residues (from public monuments and statues) on metal and ceramic surfaces

The electrical power supply  is single phase.

There are no serviceable parts inside.

The unit is air cooled.

The whole system weighs 50kg (but the head only weights 1kg – this is the part you hold).

This is an off-the-shelf, plug n’ play, Ready2Go device that requires minimal training.

The system becomes affordable if a franchilse / laser cleaning service is offered, i.e.,  for example; mold cleaning, spot rust removal.

Here is a particular story why one chooses laser cleaning over the more traditional, non-laser, well established methods.

We did a laser cleaning trial for an aerospace company for removing release agent from very large steel tooling (for producing composites aircraft parts). The current cleaning method was an air-operated abrasive buffing wheel. This apparatus costs < 500 euro and spare disks were easily available in most local DIY hardware stores. However the molds that were being cleaned were expensive and the abrasive cleaning method was taking them out of tolerance after a certain number of cleaning cycles.
The result was the client bought the laser, costing over €235,000 euro! The cleaning times were comparable for each method but in the case of laser cleaning, not a single Angstrom of metal material was removed from the substrate’s surface. The abrasive method removed substrate material (and generated a huge amount of dust), thus reducing the life of the mold. When the cost of the mold was taken into consideration, the laser effectively became the cheaper option. In 2016, a replacement, more powerful machine, (500W) was delivered to the client.
Abrasive cleaning is now banned in most industrial environments as the dust generated becomes a serious health hazard.

The laser is a non-contact tool and will not remove any substrate material, thus extending the life of the component/mold/tool indefinitely.
Once the mold has reached its end-of-life, it won’t be due to the number of cleaning cycles that occurred.
So, in summary, for industrial cleaning of components, the whole-of-life picture, must be considered;
– cost of abrasive media and its disposal afterwards.
– dust and fume extraction systems and maintenance
– The cost of replacement molds/tools/components over a period of time, etc..
– logistics of transportation of large components to an outside cleaning contractor if an in-house solution does not exist.

People buy houses all the time, and don’t balk at spending 300,000 euro, yet it is quite acceptable to draw down the biggest pot of money ever imagined and spend the next 15 – 20 years paying it back, with few regrets.

These funds are huge when taken out of context but quite agreeable when ones considers the alternatives.
The same is true for investing in laser technology – it’s a cost-saving investment tool and like purchasing any piece of capital equipment, and once the fundamentals of the laser cleaning process are confirmed and validated, then it is a matter of which power level suits (in order to calculate your Return on Investment.

No, the laser will not remove several mm of rubber layers or paper stuck to steel rolls.  Can you imagine the smell from all that burning rubber !

What has been tried in the past is to use an induction coil to soften the glue holding the rubber to the steel roll. When the roll is hot, the rubber can be manually peeled back much easier compared to when it’s cold. back.

What remains behind is a glue residue, which the laser can easily remove.

For companies looking to perform their own anilox roll cleaning, LARC (Laser Anilox Roller Cleaning) offers a system that uses a laser beam that can clean most types residues on most kinds of rolls. However LARC offers an advanced cleaning technology, and can greatly help companies achieve their sustainability initiatives and move away from the use of chemicals and other processes that produce waste during roll cleaning operations.  This has been described in a previous FAQ above.

Yes, we believe this product will save time in cleaning engine parts, especially on large diesel engines where some of the parts are very dirty/rusty.  Laser cleaning breaks down hydrocarbons, which makes it an excellent method of cleaning engines and engine parts, or other areas where oil and grease are present.  Make sure to cover any rubber or plastic coated pipes with silver foil or paper beforehand.

Please also make sure your engine is switched off !  you would be surprised !!