With the increasing focus on green and environmentally friendly industrial practices, laser cleaning technology has emerged as a viable alternative to traditional cleaning methods. As industries seek cleaner and more sustainable manufacturing processes, laser cleaning presents a promising solution, particularly for companies with significant fixed assets and extended capital turnover periods.
In the pursuit of a green, low-carbon, and circular economic system by 2025, laser cleaning stands out as a pollution-free and zero-consumable industrial cleaning process. Its micrometer-level precision and capability for unmanned automation integration make it highly desirable for various auto parts production processes, including power battery systems, transmission bearings, car axles, wheels, and tires.
In locomotive friction sealing applications, laser-directed friction material cleaning equipment is proving to be a game-changer. This advanced technology efficiently cleans various types of drum-type and disc-type brake pads, clutch assemblies, train composite brake pads, and other major friction materials. Additionally, it excels in cleaning specific sealing materials, such as ceramic tiles and metal gaskets. With a cleaning width of one meter and the ability to clean multiple samples simultaneously, this technology seamlessly integrates into production lines, reducing working hours and enhancing overall production efficiency. Furthermore, its sole reliance on electricity during the production process eliminates the need for additional consumables, making it a cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice.
The transition to laser cleaning has been particularly successful in the brake pad production process. In comparison to traditional steel brush and sandblasting methods, laser cleaning showcases numerous advantages:
- Cleaning Efficiency: While steel brush equipment struggles to remove residual glue from the surface after flat grinding, resulting in subpar results during spray painting, both sandblasting and laser cleaning effectively clean the surface residue. Although sandblasting exhibits faster cleaning speed, it becomes redundant when considering the production time of the entire process. Laser cleaning, while slightly slower, can still adapt to the production line speed.
- Energy Consumption: Steel brush machines rank second in energy consumption among the three methods, requiring about 8KW/H. Sandblasting, on the other hand, presents the highest energy consumption, reaching up to 70KW/H. The primary contributor to sandblasting’s high energy consumption is the air compressor, which supplies air at a rate of up to 55KW per hour. In contrast, laser cleaning equipment stands as the most energy-efficient choice, consuming only 7KW/H—merely one-tenth of the energy consumed by sandblasting.
- Economic and Environmental Benefits: Sandblasting equipment relies on consumables, requiring approximately 5KG of quartz sand per hour, with consumption increasing over time. The use of consumables, coupled with national environmental protection requirements, has led some local governments to restrict the use of sandblasting machines. In contrast, both steel brush equipment and laser cleaning only rely on electricity. Moreover, laser cleaning’s automation capabilities reduce the need for manual labor, saving costs compared to sandblasting and steel brush methods. In terms of low-carbon environmental protection, laser cleaning emerges as the most suitable option, producing no consumables or emissions, minimal noise, and low energy consumption.
Laser cleaning technology, a new frontier in 21st-century industrial practices, has rapidly gained momentum and widespread adoption. While lasers have been utilized in various fields such as welding, cutting, and cladding, laser cleaning only entered the consciousness of Chinese industries about a decade ago. Since then, China’s laser cleaning industry has made remarkable strides, keeping pace with international standards and finding extensive applications in traditional manufacturing and new energy sectors.
In the friction sealing industry, which faces the challenge of transitioning to low-carbon emissions, environmentally friendly practices, and automated integration, laser technology offers a crucial role. As the industry moves towards a more sustainable future, laser cleaning is poised to play a pivotal role, contributing to the industry’s development and facilitating its evolution into a greener and more efficient sector.