How Lasertronics Technology Works


Since lasers were invented, one of the promising applications has always been stripping coatings from surfaces.

Concentrated laser energy does a terrific job of “ablating” coatings cleanly by quickly heating the coating material to the point of chemical dissociation.  This happens so fast, there is negligible conduction of heat to the substrate.  And if the laser can “see” a coated surface, it can strip the coating, regardless of the complexity of the surface. The obstacle to laser ablation has always been that any laser powerful enough to strip coatings quickly is also powerful enough to damage substrates, once the coating has been removed.

Lasertronics has perfected a color-sensing workhead to selectively ablate only a particular color of coating.  This unique color-selective closed-loop control forms the core of Lasertronics’ product line.

The optical detector in our workhead interrogates the work surface before each laser pulse. It allows the pulse to proceed only if the color to be stripped is still present.  When that color is no longer detected, the laser is instantly suppressed. When the moving workhead once again finds that color, the laser is re-enabled.

This unique Lasertronics feature prevents laser energy from ever striking the substrate, and thus protects the substrate from damage. This feature allows use on delicate materials such as aircraft skins, composites, and metals where surface hardening is unacceptable, such as warship hulls.

In addition to paints, our system quickly strips sealants and anti-erosion coatings. Both can be particularly difficult to remove by conventional means.

The Lasertronic system also quickly strips surface corrosion.  The laser excites the oxygen in the corrosion layer, popping the oxide off the native metal. If the corrosion has not already damaged the surface, ablation returns it to its virgin condition. So, the same technology that strips coatings also removes rust.

In its simplest form, our system consists of a single color-selective hand-held workhead, designed to be used by a human operator. One of these systems was installed at the Navy’s Pax River base for use on the Presidential helicopter fleet.

More complex installations can involve multi-laser, robotically controlled systems that automatically strip complex surfaces such as helicopter rotor blades. One such is in use at the US Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center – East in Cherry Point, NC.

More information and photographs of both systems appear on our main Products page.

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