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Blog on laser marking & traceability, laser cleaning and safety standards

THE BASICS OF LASER SAFETY

Nobody expects that the intensity required to tear speckles of metal from a part to be harmless to humans. But you might not expect that the reflections of the laser beam might be harmful to humans over distances as large as 80 m (263 ft). That’s the equivalent of an office building with 17 floors! And since high-power lasers used in most industrial applications are invisible, safety precautions must be taken.

Different Ways to Safely Use Industrial Lasers

Sealed Laser Safety Enclosures

Sealed Safety Enclosure - Laser System Class 1

Enclosure for conveyor, free standing enclosure with rotary feeding system and with sliding doors

High-power lasers can be embedded in laser safety enclosures. A properly designed enclosure will prevent lasers from operating when access panels or doors are open or if no parts are present. Passersby and operators of lasers embedded in such enclosures don’t need individual protective equipment. In addition, no special procedures need to be carried out. you can refer to our blog for more information on sealed laser safety enclosure or to our website for more information on our products.

Open-air Safety Enclosures

2 types of open-air enclosure-1

2 examples of open-air enclosure

When parts are too big to fit in a sealed enclosure, it's possible to use open-air enclosures and still be in compliance with international safety standards. Although the design guideline of open-air enclosures are more complex than those of Sealed Laser Safety Enclosures, they can still be easy to use. The side of the enclosure that is open is brought in contact with the part to be marked. The laser will shoot only when the seal is tight enough and that there is confirmation, by the proximity safety sensors, that a part is present in front of the enclosure. For more information read our blog on laser safety for open-air enclosure.

High-power Laser Used without Enclosures

Laserax mobile laser cleaner used without enclosure

Laserax mobile laser cleaner used without enclosure

It is possible to use industrial lasers without enclosures. However, in order to make them  safe to use, personal protective equipment must be used (laser safety glasses) and access to the surrounding area needs to be controlled by interlocks or other means. Special signage is required and other procedures must be implemented to enforce the laser-controlled area. You will find more information about our mobile laser cleaning system in our website.

Other Laser Safety Ressources

Industrial lasers used in material processing (laser cleaning or marking) radiates high power in a very small surfaces. Such high intensity laser beams can be dangerous to human eyes and skin unless used in accordance with laser safety standards and some common sense. Our laser technology experts have come up with a compilation of resources that you will find useful when considering the purchase of a laser system.

In our blog post titled laser safety resources and reference, you will find links to international standards for laser safety, government regulations for selected countries, books and websites about laser safety.

 

You will also find more information on laser safety class in that blog post.

 

Contact a Laser Expert

 

 


Sources: 
1- Rockwell, Benjamin. (Ed.). (2015). Laser Safety Guide (12th ed.). Orlando, FL: Laser Institute of America, 50 p.
3- Photo Credit: Title photo by Andrew Hamel https://www.flickr.com/photos/11126293@N02/ modified
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