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What is laser cleaning?

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History of laser cleaning

The first applications of laser cleaning date from the 1970s, when the technology was mainly used as a technique to preserve (stone) artworks. However, the technology was still in its infancy and originated from lasermarkings.

During the 1980s the technology was further developed, but laser cleaning was still very expensive compared to other chemical and mechanical cleaning techniques. Furthermore, the speed with which could be cleaned was insufficient.

During the 1990s the technology soared, and since the early 2000s laser cleaning was also used in an industrial context, although mainly in automated setups. Because of the increasing search for sustainable cleaning techniques, the demand for (mobile) machines has been quickly increasing lately.

The technology

Laser cleaning works according to the principle of pulsed laser ablation: the laser puls is sent to the surface and penetrates the contaminant to then reflect on the substrate. Through a combination of different processes a layer of gas is formed between the substrate and the contaminant, which will cause the contaminant to break free. The combination of these processes is called ablation.

Netalux developed a methodology to control this process and to capture the released particles almost immediately. This immediate capture means that the contaminants are not being spread around. There are no large air movements being created, and the contamination of the environment is reduced to a minimum.

Because we use a pulsed laser beam, there is almost no heating up of the substrate: the light pulses are so short that the substrate does not heat up, or in case it heats up it's minimal (depending on the material of the substrate of course).


Laser cleaning has a wide variety of applications, and can be used in many different sectors, including the petrochemical, pharmaceutical, energy, advanced composites, automotive, aeronautic and infrastructure sector.

Netalux has built significant experience in these sectors as a contractor. We used this experience to make our own laser cleaning machines as efficient as possible. Netalux has got everything it takes to be your trustworthy partner in laser cleaning!

Learn how Netalux can help you implement laser cleaning on the pages 'Services' or 'Products'!

The advantages of laser cleaning

  • No damage to the substrate

  • No secondary waste

  • No air movement

  • Very clean result

  • No confinement needed

  • Minimal logistic preparation

  • Applicable in hard to reach places

  • Safe removal of toxic contaminants

  • Human and environmentally friendly technique


Do you have any questions? Click here for the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

More information?

Do you want to learn more about laser cleaning? Take a look at the 'Academy' page, we offer both theoretical and practical trainings in laser cleaning!