Laser Rust Removal

No one likes rust—whether that be because it ruins colors, decreases magnetic attraction, weakens structures, or adds unwanted friction, manufacturers would do away with it entirely if they could. However, rust is a naturally occurring corrosion process from water and oxygen exposure on iron or steel. Because of this, it is almost impossible to avoid.

Since rusting can’t be prevented entirely, industries using iron and steel have turned to rust removal techniques to keep their components strong and rust-free. Methods like sandblasting, shot blasting, chemical removal, and laser rust removal are some ways technicians remove rust. However, using a laser rust remover is a standout method among these processes because of its efficiency, precision, and top-tier automation. A laser rust remover can be any laser system or laser marking system so long as it is set to the correct settings for rust removal.

Laser Rust Removal Process

The laser rust removal process is an ablative cleaning method that a laser rust removal machine conducts. The laser rust removal machine uses a focused laser beam with high peak power and short pulse to heat the external surface (the rust) to its evaporation point. Left behind is the clean original component. KEYENCE offers two laser machines that can remove rust—the hybrid laser marker and the fiber laser marker.

KEYENCE Laser Rust Remover Specialties

KEYENCE Laser Rust Remover Feature: XY and Z Tracking

Focused power is a necessity for rust removal. It aims to bring back the original form of the rusted part. Unfocused light is unproductive because it can be too dispersed to effectively remove all of the rust, and it can also have a more unpredictable effect on the surface of the material. To eliminate this as a concern, KEYENCE has Z tracking to keep the laser in focus to improve the laser rust removal process.

KEYENCE’s hybrid laser marker has a variable lensing system that can adjust the focal distance of the laser marker along with an internal camera to track the parts inside the laser's field of view. This variable lensing system, also known as 3-Axis control, and the internal camera work together to allow the KEYENCE hybrid laser to track the part in the X, Y, and Z direction. This ensures that the laser hits the target point regardless of the part’s positioning, height, and size.

Besides the XY and Z tracking avoiding unnecessary processing, it also assists in the efficiency aspect of laser rust removal for two reasons. First, there’s no need to spend time repositioning every part for the correct angle when removing rust with a laser. Secondly, this enables the assembly line to accommodate various types of components or arrange identical parts in different configurations. In either scenario, the use of XY and Z tracking technology eliminates the laborious tasks associated with rust removal.

KEYENCE Laser Rust Remover Feature: High Peak Power & Short Pulse Laser

Laser ablation, the laser rust removal process, is powered by high peak power and short pulse frequencies. KEYENCE takes laser ablation to the next level with peak powers higher and frequencies faster than other laser models.

3 Axis Hybrid Laser Marker MD-X Series
KEYENCE’s hybrid laser marker has a peak power of 200kW and a pulse of 4 ns. This high peak power is twice that of a conventional YVO4 laser and is ideal for rust removal.
3 Axis Fiber Laser Marker MD-F Series
KEYENCE’s fiber laser has multiple power settings: 30W or 50W. This high wattage competes with the 20W output that conventional fiber lasers have.

KEYENCE Laser Rust Remover Feature: 3-Axis Control

KEYENCE’s rust-removing laser machines are supplied with 3-axis control, ideal for the unique challenges of rust removal.

Rust occurs on iron or steel: two versatile metals used across industries for many parts. Cables, surgical instruments, semiconductors, and automobile components exemplify this diverse group. With the diversity of shapes, sizes, and uses, 3-axis control is handy for targeting everything.

3-axis control allows the beam spot to target any shape or size, even if it is non-geometric. Stepped, incline, cylindrical, and cone targets with rust around corners, edges, or inside small areas are quickly and precisely processed with KEYENCE’s laser rust remover.

KEYENCE Laser Rust Remover Feature: High Speed

The high speed of laser rust removal is a helpful asset for tackling large-scale projects that require efficient completion. Laser rust removal is a one-step process that only involves the shot of the laser beam onto the rust for it to evaporate off.

Removing rust with a laser competes with other solutions like chemical rust removal, which can require an overnight process for heavy rust removal.

Choosing KEYENCE for Laser Rust Removal

KEYENCE is an international provider of laser technology that can be tailored for rust removal. KEYENCE utilizes an in-house research and development team to produce the fastest, easiest, and most versatile laser machines that efficiently conduct laser ablation. Whether your rusted parts have tedious curves or sharp edges, KEYENCE’s laser rust removal machine will utilize features to seamlessly remove the rust for a cleaned part.

Where to start on your laser rust removal journey? Contact KEYENCE today! Our team will get back to you immediately with advice about a suitable machine for you and how to demo our products!

Related Downloads

MD-F Series 3-Axis Fiber Laser Marker Catalog

KEYENCE's MD-F Series offers unmatched functionality in a compact design.


Laser Processing Applications

This booklet covers a wide range of laser processing techniques - such as cutting, drilling, and deep engraving - as well as welding and soldering that are unique to lasers.