Development of a self confining laser process for the removal of temporary floor care products
IGF 16241 BG
The application of temporary polymer coatings on elastic floorings is an important prerequisite for increasing their durability and for assuring optimal performance characteristics. Polymer coatings lead to a better cleanability and a higher abrasion resistance of floorings. Such coatings have to be replaced after a certain time depending on the wear level by means of stripping and coating. For stripping currently water-based systems with a high chemical load are employed. The extended drying times required before the following coating steps cause delays in the operating schedule of the building operators.
To overcome these drawbacks an effective and economical self-limiting procedure to remove temporary floorcare products from elastic floorings by means of an infrared laser (Nd:YAG, 1064 nm) has been developed within an FRT-project. A damage of the top respectively wear layer of the flooring by the laser treatment is prevented by modifying the floorcare dispersion in such a way that it completely absorbs and reflects the incident laser beam. These physical processes lead to a targeted local evaporation of the polymer coating above the flooring. The modification of the floorcare dispersions occurs by addition of special infrared absorbers and infrared reflectors, which show maximum absorption respectively reflection in the wavelength range of the laser used. The self-limiting character of the decoating procedure developed is also supported by special (intumescent) materials. By the laser radiation these are converted into carbon dioxide and water and thus contribute to a “bursting” of the surrounding polymer layers. The new laser process is water and wastewater free and needs in contrast to conventional stripping no harsh chemicals. By eliminating the long drying times required currently in the aqueous stripping, the renewal of the floor coating may occur immediately after stripping. The working sequence of the building operator is therefore disturbed only slightly, so that the acceptance of the laser cleaning process by customers of cleaning service enterprises will increase and new market potentials can be opened up. At the same time, areas that are inaccessible by machine can economically be stripped because an effective stripping with much less manpower is possible compared to conventional aqueous processes. The research work was performed by the wfk – Cleaning Technology Institute in Krefeld in cooperation with the Department for Laser Technology at the RWTH Aachen University (LLT) and the Research Institute of Leather and Plastic Sheeting gGmbH (FILK) Freiberg.
The IGF-project 16241 BG of the research association Europäische Forschungsgemeinschaft Reinigungs- und Hygienetechnologie e.V., Campus Fichtenhain 11, D-47807 Krefeld, was supported via the AiF within the funding programme „Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung und –entwicklung (IGF)“ by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology (BMWi) due to a decision of the German Parliament.
The research report is available on request from FRT.