The metal handling and processing industry is familiar with the use of different types of lasers for different applications. The two most common types of laser are the Pulsed Laser and the Continuous Wave Laser and each has its own specific uses. AM.CO.ZA has now expanded its range of RustOff Laser Cleaners to include the Continuous Wave or CW Laser.
What are the differences between these two types of laser?
The first and most important difference is how the laser works. The Pulsed laser works by effectively turning the laser on and off in a constantly ‘flashing’ process. The Continuous Wave laser, as the name suggests, is constantly on giving an uninterrupted beam of laser. You might think that this makes it more desirable as it works harder and therefore, can achieve the desired result a lot quicker. However, speed is not the only factor which must be considered.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the type of material which is being cleaned. Pulsed laser works best on materials which could be damaged by the power of the laser or the heat which is generated. Due to the fact that the laser is constantly switching on and off, if does not generate any heat and leaves the surface of the material cool to the touch. Not only is this important for the safety of the operator but, also for the condition of the material. It is for this reason that pulsed laser is most suitable for thinner materials and those where it is important to avoid any damage to the surface.
As mentioned, Continuous Wave (CW) laser is either on or off and as a result it is far more powerful and is therefore, used in situations and on materials where the build-up of heat is less of a factor. With CW the material becomes hot. This requires greater care on the part of the operator but, also means that the material could be damaged due to the heat generated. Thinner materials will warp. In addition, given the fact that the laser is always on, the ablative effect of the laser is greater and there is more potential for the surface of the material to be lightly pitted or scoured.
It is clear from this that both laser types have their own benefits and disadvantages but when used correctly and with the right materials they are extremely powerful tools in their own channels. When reading the benefits you must bear in mind that these are respective to the materials and process being used.
Pulsed laser benefits
Pulsed laser is generally used for lighter cleaning requirements, or on surfaces which cannot afford to be damaged in any way – primarily on aluminium, stainless steel, and thinner materials. This means that the laser head is designed in such a way as to achieve maximum ablation without damaging the surface. In its particular channel it is therefore, a lot faster, more energy efficient, easier to control and safer to use as it does not generate any heat. This system uses less power and as such is more cost-efficient. The unit is small and easy to handle and does not require any cooling other than air flow.
Pulsed laser disadvantages
Due to the fact that the laser pulses, it is less powerful and as a result does not remove any of the surface of the material, this can result is the surface having to be covered multiple times to achieve a full cleaning.
Continuous Wave laser benefits
Again based on the fact that CW is used on thicker and therefore, more heat-resistant materials, it ablates more of the surface which makes it suitable for a deeper clean. It is also considerably faster due to the constant beam of the laser.
Continuous Wave disadvantages
Due to the heat generated by the constant beam of the laser, the laser unit has to be water cooled. This reduces the portability of the machine itself and makes it less manoeuvrable. However, you must remember that the laser head is fully portable and easy to move around. The constant beam also means that this unit consumes a great deal of power making it more expensive to operate.
AM.CO.ZA will be supplying both the Pulsed Laser in 50W, 100W and 200W and Continuous Wave Laser RustOff cleaners in 1000W, 1500W and 2000W models and will be more than happy to assist customers to determine which type of laser and output strength will meet their requirements. Both types of laser work off standard 220V single phase electricity making them suitable for any environment. Both the Pulsed Laser and Continuous Wave Laser units are similar in price even have vast difference in wattage.
To place your order, to have a demonstration of the capabilities of the RustOff laser rust cleaners or to find out which one is better suited to your specific needs and requirements, contact AM.CO.ZA.