Laser cleaning of molds
Manufacturers of rubber, plastic and glass products must clean their molds. Accumulated carbon deposits, grease buildup, and mold damage from mechanical cleaning or sandblasting result in defective finished products.
The laser equipment will help you to solve these problems and increase the service life of the molds. In this article you will learn:
Laser cleaning and conventional methods
Mold after laser cleaning
There are three types of cleaning most commonly used to clean molds: mechanical, sandblasting and chemical cleaning. The technological processes of these methods are different, but they have common disadvantages.
They are time consuming
With any cleaning method, the mold must cool down, be disassembled, and taken to a separate room for cleaning. After cleaning, the mold must be returned to the machine and heated. This all adds up to more equipment downtime.
Laser radiation can clean the mold at the workplace. It is enough to treat the surface with the laser and you can continue to use it.
The entire process takes no more than half an hour for large forms or no more than 15 minutes for small forms.
They can damage the mold
Mechanical and sandblasting can deform the mold, and chemical blasting can cause surface cratering.
They increase the likelihood of manufacturing defects. The damage causes even more carbon deposits and fatty clots to accumulate.
As a result, the form becomes unusable and you have to spend money on repairing it or buying a new one.
Laser radiation does not affect the surface itself. Therefore, its geometry is preserved and its service life increases.
They require a separate room for cleaning
Dirt from sandblasting or caustic chemical solutions requires a separate room to clean the molds.
Cleaning is carried out directly at the workplace. No need to stop the conveyor, because the mold can not be removed from the machine.
They leave by-products
Dirt remains after sandblasting and must be removed. The chemicals need to be disposed of. As a result, you have to spend additional resources: hire employees to clean and maintain the premises, pay for chemical waste disposal services.
No by-products. All cleanable contaminants evaporate. You do not even need to wipe the mold after laser cleaning.
Laser cleaning requires just one person — a laser operator.
Cleaning the mold for plastic lids with laser beam
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F-Clean laser cleaning systems are designed so that only the layers of dirt evaporate during cleaning. The surface to be cleaned is not damaged at all. This effect is achieved through a wide range of laser parameter settings. You can read more about the laser cleaning process in a dedicated article.
We help customize the equipment for each customer. The device comes with a user manual, recommendations, and video tutorials. It takes your employees a couple of hours to learn how to operate it.
One of the main advantages of laser equipment is that it cleans molds of any morphology, roughness and size. The laser beam does not flatten corners or damage surface texture. Therefore, the surface retains its original appearance after cleaning, taking into account natural wear and tear.
Laser cleaning can be automated. Such a solution is especially relevant for large production facilities. The laser equipment is customized to the specific mold, so you can set a specific time interval when the mold is automatically cleaned. For example, to clean the mold after the production of every tenth product. There are no restrictions on size, performance or location.
This way, the machine can run for 24 hours without stopping, and you can save human resources. Your employees can perform other tasks in production while the laser cleans the molds.
Pokkels is ready to develop an automatic laser cleaning system and integrate it into your equipment.
Laser equipment costs more than other cleaners. But it does not require consumables. You only pay once for the equipment. The only additional cost is electricity. The laser consumes 1 kW per m2 of surface to be cleaned.
To recoup your investment in laser equipment, you need to use it regularly. If your company doesn’t clean molds on a regular basis, you can offer mold cleaning services for other companies. In this way, you have the opportunity to open a new line of business.
Pokkels also offers the service of buying laser equipment on lease.
Cleaning the mold from rubber deposits
Advantages of laser cleaning
- Cleaning of all types of molds — the laser can be moved between machines and clean any molds.
- No consumables — only electricity at the rate of 1 kW per 1m².
- Cleaning of reliefs of any complexity — the laser beam cleans the smallest details of the mold.
- High cleaning speed — large mold within half an hour.
- Increased life of the mold — the laser does not damage the surface of the mold, it only affects contaminants.
- Cleaning the mold without removing it from the machine — the mold can be cleaned while it is hot.
- One person to clean — you only need an operator to operate the laser.