I’m not looking to start the whole “why manufacturing is cool” soapbox sermon here, but checking stuff out like P-Laser’s handheld laser cleaner should be the type of thing our industry turns to when facing antiquated criticisms, and in getting the best and brightest to consider industrial engineering as a career path.
Granted, the use of lasers to cut and clean equipment is nothing new, but the level of precision is ridiculous, and I’ve never heard anything close to the description that P-Laser engineer Thijs Peeters offered to Digital Trends in describing the tool as “essentially a laser machine gun which shoots light bullets at an incredibly high pulse rate”.
I can’t top that description so I’ll just shut up for a couple seconds and let you enjoy.
In addition to the tool’s capabilities is the fact that it’s lighter and easier to handle than nearly anything else available – essentially emulating the footprint of a handheld barcode scanner, except that it’s a 1,000-watt laser.
Using the common principles of laser ablation, the layers of dirt and rust are basically pulverized and evaporate as it absorbs the energy from the laser. The composition of the metal underneath doesn’t allow it to absorb the laser so all that remains is a clean surface.
The width of the laser beam can also be tuned based on the surface of the object being cleaned.
The only real hindrance for the laser is the fact that it can only be used on metal, and, oh yeah, it costs about $53,000.
So although lower-cost laser cleaners can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than some chemicals, it might be a while before that’s the case with this particular tool.