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Dry ice blasting and laser cleaning

dry ice blasting vs laser cleaning

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Industrial cleaning is always a big matter as factories and plants operate continuously and they need to get things pristine clean to ensure a safe, hygienic working environment and for machines to work well for a long time. But what is a more sustainable and effective cleaning method, an alternative to the old conventional cleaning and abrasive sandblasting that can still be gentle enough in order not to damage any parts of your equipment? In this article below, let’s find out more about dry ice blasting and laser cleaning and make a small analysis and comparison to find out which cleaning method is the best choice for your industrial cleaning demand!

What is laser cleaning and how does it work?

Laser cleaning is a technology used for industrial cleaning by shooting out a laser beam, yes you heard us right, laser beam, to remove a layer of rust or dust that’s been adhering to the substrate’s surface. This work is done by blasting out nanosecond-length pulses of laser light, or in other words, powerful high-pulsed laser beam towards the surface that needs to be cleaned. When this happens, the oxide and dirt layer (contaminants in overall) will absorb the laser light and either turn into a gaseous state or the pressure of the interaction will dislodge the particles from the surface.

Unlike dry ice blasting which uses a nozzle and fires out dry ice at supersonic speed, laser cleaning uses power as it main source, utilizes optics and shoots out a laser beam transmitted by a scanner onto the targeted surface. Although theoretically, it is quite long to explain but the process happens really fast and the machine operates with 2 main steps: pulsing and scanning. 

With pulsing as the first step, the machine gathered power to create a targeted high-energy force in the form of short, controlled pulses and strike out the contaminants without damaging the substrate. Following shortly after that is scanning. This second step not only spreads the pulsing laser beam across an area of the part (be it a single-dimensional line or a two-dimensional shape) but also controls the speed at which the pulses are transferred onto the surface.

What is dry ice blasting and how does it work?

Dry ice blasting is an alternative option for conventional cleaning methods but a much better one. This superior cleaning device uses material such as dry ice made primarily from recycled carbon dioxide. Unlike sandblasting or glass bead blasting, dry ice blasting is an ecologically friendly cleaning method applied in many industries. It leaves no chemical residue, as dry ice sublimates at room temperature and the important part? It does not cause erosion, at all. 

Dry ice blasting machines have various types of nozzles that come in different sizes to serve the cleaning purpose of the users. The machine is operated by blasting dry ice at supersonic speed and colliding with the surface that needs cleaning. The combination of kinetic and thermodynamics will break the bond between the debris and the surface of the device, removing stains in just one use. At this time, the dry ice will sublimate immediately, turn from solid to gas then evaporate. There will be no secondary waste left behind. You will need a dry ice making machine to produce this material

This cleaning device is designed with cutting-edge technology that allows it to operate at optimum efficiency and deliver the best quality. Some of the advantages of the machine can be mentioned as:

  • Reduce significantly cleaning time and labor costs 
  • Restoring wooden structures to their original condition
  • Improve the appearance of wooden materials, even if there are scorch marks
  • No harmful chemicals are used, increasing the safety of employees and workers
  • Dry cleaning and moisture-free; eliminates the appearance of termites and molds
  • Non-abrasive which helps big time in maintaining the quality of the material; minimizes the possibility of scratches
  • Excellent cleaning as no secondary waste is left behind; super friendly to the environment.

dry ice blasting vs laser cleaning
Using dry ice blasting to clean equipment

Some of the dry ice blasting application included

Laser cleaning vs Dry ice blasting?

Now that we’ve got to know firsthand how these two cleaning methods work but let us dive deeper a little bit to figure out what are the differences and you’ll get to know what choice fits your business best.

The common points of these two methods are:

  • superior clean, damage-free and perfectly non-abrasive
  • environmentally friendly, no secondary waste left behind
  • chemical-free and moisture-free, enhance equipment’s longevity 
  • reduce (manual) labor cost and additional cost immensely
  • cleaning time reduced significantly with impressive results thanks to advanced technology

The differences between these two are:

Material used. A dry ice blasting machine uses dry ice particles that are cut into diamond-shaped particles (these are soft media according to The Mohs Hardness Scale) whist laser cleaning utilizes a laser beam by gathering a power source.

Blasting. Dry ice blasting has a consistent blast stream and is pulse-free while laser cleaning has short, controlled pulses.

Cleaning range and ability. Although the two methods can give you a superior clean on a lot of industrial applications, laser cleaning only works well on surfaces that are made from metal and areas that are small. They cannot be used to wipe out a thick layer of contaminants and are unavailable on small and hard-to-approach angles and crevices. Dry ice blasting, on the other hand, can be used on large geometry and every nook and cranny easily. There’s no need to disassemble and reassemble parts and you can use it directly on the equipment while it’s still operating and online.

Model of dry ice blastings that suits your need

The Aero 2 Series

Following the birth of the Aero series is the Aero2 series – this is the most efficient dry ice blaster available on the market; giving you full control, even when you’re not on site.

Aero2 PLT 60

Built on ground-breaking Aero2 technology, the PLT 60 is designed for applications that require more robustness, making it the most efficient dry ice machine available. This machine is enabled through SPECCo2’s 4.0 technology solution, SPECCo2 CONNECT which provides remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities.

With the SureFlow feeding system, it not only helps users to minimize air pressure loss but also maximizes air supply capacity and limits dry ice waste. In addition, the Aero2 PLT 60 features a 7” LCD display with digital controls, providing an intuitive display that allows the user to easily view, program or adjust the firing parameters. dry as well as install the machine. Such as setting and saving burst pressure and feed speed parameters.

Aero2 PLT 60
Aero2 PLT 60

Aero2 PCS 60

The Aero2 PCS 60 is designed to give users full control using SPECCo2’s patented Particle Control System (PCS), which allows users to customize dry ice firing parameters. Besides, the dry ice will also be cut into diamond-shaped particles to the exact size selected by the operator (from 0.3mm to 3mm).

Some advantages of the PCS 60 series:

  • Performance changes industry: The blast stream is consistent and pulse-free.
  • Intuitive screen: Easily view and control blasting parameters and machine settings on the 7” color LCD display.
  • Full control provides a level of precision and flexibility even at a distance..
  • Programmable applications: The user can set and save application formulations (burst pressure, particle size, feed rate), thereby ensuring the most efficient use of materials and preventing errors during operation.
  • Ergonomics: The machine is designed to optimize and combine materials, reducing weight and size with redesigned bellows for greater flexibility and durability.
  • Lower noise level and effective cleaning at lower blowing air pressure.
  • IoT capabilities for remote monitoring and diagnostics with the industry’s first SPECCo2 CONNECT.

PCS 60 is IoT enabled through SPECCo2’s 4.0 technology solution, SPECCo2 CONNECT. The system provides remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities.

Aero 2 PCS 60
Aero 2 PCS 60

You can have a look of our Icetech series dry ice blaster


We can clearly see that when it comes to the cleaning ability and advantages, the two cleaning methods are neck-to-neck. However, if your business needs cleaning on small and hard-to-reach crevices (such as medical molds, etc) or on big geometry surfaces, dry ice blasting is the ultimate solution for you!

For more details and consulting on dry ice blasting machines, you can contact us, the Specco2 team for support. Specco2 is proud to be the official distributor of SPECCo2 in Vietnam, specializing in distributing dry ice machines and producing dry ice.

Nga Dang Thi Thuy

Nga Dang Thi Thuy

Commercial Executive
+84 (0) 383370895

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