Financial Payback of Laser Coating Removal or Paint stripping Operations

Rolando Palacios

Financial Payback of Laser Coating Removal Operations


Coating removal is basically an ablative process applied on a variety of substrates including composites, glass, plastics, metal etc. Also, it involves several costs. There is research and several studies comparing the coating removal processes. This article highlights the financial payback of the coating removal operation to help you fully understand the finances related to it.

Components of Coating Removal Operations

 

The financial analysis of coating removal operations involves several components which are listed below.

1. It requires the capital cost for the necessary equipment, enclosures and structures required.

2. It also includes the labour cost along with operations, man-hours, training, clean-up, labour overhead and anticipated on-the-job injuries.

3. It also has a waste disposal cost having the collection, transportation, storage, tipping, taxes, related labour and charges related to dangerous elements.

4. It also includes the out-of-service cost of the serviced equipment.

5. The equipment also has the cost of damage.

6. Processing costs are also involved in the supplies, tools, materials and power.

There is research comparing the LaserBlast-200 to the standard means of surface preparation and coating removal. Stripping rate is one of the factors that has a significant effect on the operational readiness, production of flow and inventory availability. One of the comprehensive studies came up with the following comparative results.

 

Strip Rates

Technologies

0.03 to 0.22 sq. ft. per minute

Media Blast

0.05 to 0.07 sq. ft. per minute

Water Blast

0.002 to 0.005 sq. ft. per minute

Chemical Application

0.0017 to 0.07 sq. ft. per minute

Hand Grinding or Sanding

0.80 sq. ft. per minute

LaserBlast-500

The strip rates are fully burdened for media blast, hand grinding and sanding, water blast, chemical application, taken from the study Joint Group on Pollution Prevention Study, 2001. The strip rates of the strips are standardized to 1 mil coating thickness.

The strip rate of the LaserBlast-200 is the result of the laser system average pulsed power. The formula for calculating the strip rate of the LaserBlast-200 is given below.


Odoo CMS - a big picture

Note: One mil = 0.001inch

 

Therefore, the strip rate for LaserBlast-200 is 0.80 sq. ft. per minute having 500W strips kept as the average pulsed power.

The strip rate of the LaserBlast-200 benefits the huge part with the eradication. Furthermore, there are several more research studies from which the summary for the total effective cost of aircraft fuselage decoating is taken. Check out the table below to see the effective cost per sq. ft

 


Title of the Study

Title of the Aircraft

Method Applied

Effective Cost/Ft2

Pollution Prevention Opportunity Data Sheet[1]

F-4 Fighter

Plastic Media Blast

$5.00

Pollution Prevention Opportunity Data Sheet

F-4 Fighter

Chemical Solvent

$10.00

AMTIAC Newsletter, Winter 1001[2]

T-45 Trainer

Plastic Media Blast

$11.00

Joint Services Pollution Prevention Handbook[3]

T-38 Trainer

Hand Sanding

$13.00

Joint Services Pollution Prevention Handbook

T-38 Trainer

Chemical Solvent

$18.00

AMTIAC Newsletter, Winter 1001

T-45 Trainer

Chemical Solvent

$22.0

 

The effective costs (fully burdened) which included preparation time, labour, the power consumed, damage prevention precautions, consumable material costs, and amortized equipment costs. All these costs are standardised to the contemporary times in regards to the references and based on the published sources.

Allied Scientific Pro offers a fully burdened LaserBlast-200 which has an average effective cost of $2.00 to $3.00 per ft2 based on the variables for the specific site. There is a reduction in the effective cost, which is a result of current shipping methods ensuring about rapid payback. There are several other advantages of the LaserBlast-200 that can be equally significant such as reduction in toxics, reduction in operator harm, abilities to process surfaces, otherwise it will be unable to come up with a solution along with the improvement in operational readiness. However, examples of the abilities of process surfaces include the irregular, complex, fragile, inaccessible surfaces, which are difficult to do with any conventional methods.

Additionally, there is a difference in every situation. Should you have any inquiries, feel free to ask us.

Skilled Man-Hours

There is one operator per system for an hour, which is required in the manual for Allied Scientific Pro’s LaserBlast-200. The operator can do both, also operate the system and maintain it too. However, the maintenance of operating is primarily consisted of changing and checking the particular filter as required. Though, the system can efficiently be operated by the semi-skilled labourer. The length of the training is an hour. In addition to this, the total number of man-hours for the completion of a stripping job is based on the rate of stripping. That is later being used to evaluate the laser’s power output.

There are some more things that should require consideration, used for comparison with other methods, including the following.

Defensive Clothing

The majority of the conventional methods including media blast, scraping, sanding and solvent have the defensive clothing while sometimes in some cases it requires respirators and supplied air systems. However, toxic exposure still results even with the breathing precautions and protective clothing. The Allied Scientific Pro’s LaserBlast-200 does not require any protective layering or clothing except glasses or eyewear which ideally costs about $200 per operator.

Lesser Chances of Injury

The rough methods, i.e. sanding and scraping lead to severe injuries. However, with Allied Scientific Pro’s LaserBlast-200 these chances of injury are eradicated.

Reduced Waste Disposal Cost

One of the unique benefits of the Allied Scientific Pro’s LaserBlast-200 system is the ability to detect particulate material in the filtered paper. With this capability, the problem for the waste disposal is simplified. Additionally, Allied Scientific Pro only requires the monitor and change of paper HEPA filter as per requirement, capturing the ablated material, instead of controlling, capturing, shipping and disposing of the tons of contaminated liquid solvents. However, only some of the contaminated filter containing the captured particulate would come out as waste, requiring disposal

Odoo CMS - a big picture

 

Additionally, only 12% of the stripping, by weight, is generated from the LaserBlast-200 which is as much waste as the media blast while the 0.3% is the solvent stripping. So, this assures that LaserBlast-200 captures the waste in dry paper filters, simplifying and reducing the cost of the waste disposal in an easy-to-handle way.

 

Lower Out-of-the-Service Cost

The out-of-the-service cost is the cost of extra equipment, filling the out-of-service periods or the cost of loss of the service. Most of the times, the Allied Scientific Pro's LaserBlast-200 is a perfect fit from other perspectives. Additionally, it also ensures quickness as opposed to the rest of the other conventional approaches which results in a reduction in out-of-the-service costs. It is common to have a tenfold reduction in out-of-service costs, however, the specific time you save by using LaserBlast-200 can be known depending on your specific case.

No Potential Damages

The potential for damage is again a chief and beneficial feature of the Allied Scientific Pro. There is zero percent possibility your substrate will be damaged using the Allied Scientific Pro’s LaserBlast-200 technology. However, there are some other methods you can use that could be very problematic to the condition of your substrate.

Media Blast

This method is known for high risks of damage for the fragile substrates. These fragile substrates are composite fuselages and thin aluminum. Due to the high risk of damaging the fragile substrates using the Media Blast method, the aircraft can be blasted only once. On the other hand, the LaserBlast-200 technology has no limits with the amount of time you clean your substrate. However, the durable substrates like a ships’ hull should blasted at least twice. The first blast should be done to remove the coating while the second one should be done for restoring the profile needed for optimization acceptance of the new coating. While the LaserBlast-200 only removes the coating, it leaves the substrate surface in virgin condition, ready for all new coatings without further issues in the process.

Furthermore, the rest of the LaserBlast-200 methods and processes that do not have Allied Scientific Pro’s controls have resulted in surface reflows of high strength steels which have reduced the ductility, enhanced the rigidity and declined the overall strength.

Solvents and Scrapers

These are used in OEM manual maintenance of the fuselages. If they are not used properly, scrapers can badly affect the surface. However, the aluminum which solvent-softened can be vague to the previously existing cracks. This is why they are undetected during the testing method. Also, the use of highly concentrated solvents, when combined with the metal substrates, result in deterioration of the structure.

With Allied Scientific Pro's LaserBlast-200, you will be prevented from surface damage, using the sophisticated real-time and in-line sensing before every pulse, sensing the target coating. When the sensors are able to detect the desired condition (Shininess, color, roughness, or any other condition), the pulse is secured from firing.


References:

[1] http://www.p2pays.org/ref/01/00597.pdf

[2]  http://amtiac.alionscience.com/pdf/AMPQ5_4.pdf#ART02

[3] http://p2library.nfesc.navy.mil/P2-Opportunity_Handbook/8_1_7.html

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