Using the latest high power solid state laser technology from Laser resources , paint and metallic surface coatings can be ablated either extensively or highly selectively with ever reducing cycle times. Today, more and more surfaces are finished with functional coatings, either to protect the surface, add functionality or enhance its aesthetic features.
Coatings and applications range from anodized aluminium surfaces, transparent electrical conductive coatings used to generate power, high resolution pixels in solar cells and displays, selective colour application in the printing process or surface coating of steels to prevent the corrosion. Growing alongside the increasing use of surface coatings is the need to achieve either a highly selective coating, or following a full laminar surface coating, the selective ablation of the coating. Using Laser Technology it has been possible for sometime now to ablate a variety of surface coatings, with precise ablation widths-ranging from 20µm to 50µm-being typical of laser processing. Now, however, the new DQ-Series lasers from Rofin make ablation rates up to 100cm²/s possible across a wide range of applications, therefore opening up new possibilities.
The ablation of coatings or paints from a surface is usually required because the base material underneath the coating or paint is to be inspected and therefore needs to be exposed. One well known example his requirement is on aircraft which undergo regular airframe and structural safety checks. Historically, paint or protective coatings have been removed from these surfaces using chemicals, as lasers were not able to achieve satisfactory material removal rates. However, with the introduction of Rofin’s new high performance DQ-Lasers, excellent ablation rates are now possible. Today Rofin lasers are used to remove sealants and paint from surfaces on the inside of aircraft wing tanks to expose the rivets and bolts which require inspection.
The DQ-Laser is also well suited to linear ablation of lacquer or paint on sheet metal surfaces. One such example is the ablation of paint from the surface of automotive panels.