Solving Laser Oxide Issues in Liquid Coatings
Tests show flaking is reflective of the amount of laser oxide on parts.
Addressing laser oxide issues is an ongoing fight in the metal manufacturing industry and the challenge that falls to the finishing industry is to stop coatings from flaking at spots where laser oxide is present.
During the fabrication process, some OEMs use oxygen as an assist gas during laser cutting of mild steel, causing an exothermic reaction that creates heat. This helps the laser cut through the metal, but the process can sometimes result in an oxidized edge that makes it difficult for liquid and powder coatings to adhere to the exposed area.
Vermeer, an industrial and agricultural manufacturer in Pella, Iowa, has been coating its own production parts for the last 67 years, and recently developed a test to measure laser oxide on its parts that were to be coated.
Like other finishers, Vermeer uses carbide dioxide lasers for cutting hot and cold rolled steel with laser oxide. The industry has suggested that it can be removed in many ways—mechanically, chemically or by switching cutting gases. There is no simple way to determine these methods’ effectiveness, nor is there a good way to measure and adjust operations.