Laser graining has enabled greater cost-effectiveness as well as optimized production times and amplified innovation in HVAC technical parts. We take a look at how laser texture is achieved and the main benefits of this precise procedure to generate HVAC technical parts.
What is laser graining?
Laser graining is a production technique that uses ultrashort pulse layers to generate small-scale surface textures.
Through this procedure, it’s possible to obtain surface micro-patterns (down to 10 µm) in a wide range of materials in an attempt to provide textures that help reduce friction, improve contact area or provide an upgraded aesthetic value.
This technique thus facilitates the creation of different types of textures, from free-form textures to dimple or cross-hatch patterns, among others. Obtaining a laser texture allows for a precise, efficient and sustainable process that can be applied to the production of HVAC technical parts.
How does laser surface texturing work?
Laser graining relies on the following technologies and processes:
- Before any surface modification happens, product engineers planning to incorporate laser graining use computerized images and CAD data, as well as computer numerical control (CNC) technology. These are the key technologies that later allow for repeatable results.
- Workstation software that incorporates virtual textures into prototypes
- An optical focus point shifter, which helps preserve machine performance. It’s essential to place the laser’s focal point at an adequate distance
- Frequency and power settings are determined in laser graining equipment in order to obtain a suitable material ablation
Applications and uses of laser graining
Beyond the use of HVAC technical parts, laser graining is employed for the following purposes:
- Obtaining decorative textures with an aesthetic aim. This means adding micro-textures as well as color effects to HVAC technical parts, in order to guarantee they match consumer expectations. Technical developments on laser graining have allowed reproducing surface looks that mimic wood, leather, and other materials.
- Transforming an object’s tribology, so that friction is removed or a soft-touch surface is produced. Pillar textures are used to generate a soft feel, while dimple textures reduce friction.
- Changing a product’s optical properties, including light absorption and glare.
In the case of HVAC technical parts, laser texture is particularly efficient when applied to injection molding manufacturing.
This represents a production process that is oriented towards the mass production of uniform technical parts at a low cost.
In order to obtain micro-textures, laser graining can be applied to molds, which replicate the negative of the texture and thus obtain textured technical parts. This allows for a more efficient, low-cost process that is completely digitized and which, at the same time, eliminates the need for using corrosive, unsustainable materials.
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Which are the benefits of using laser graining in technical parts?
Digital tools such as 3D rendering allow for the creation of digital prototypes, which in turn help align products precisely with a client’s vision and needs before production starts.
A completely digitized process also eliminates the risk of human error associated with traditional texture-producing processes.
Laser graining is also accurate in order to guarantee that textures are applied only in the desired areas, leaving the rest of the product unaffected, in case it’s needed (as opposed to chemical etching methods). At the same time, a single component can be subjected to multiple textures.
Easy to replicate technical parts
As a laser texture is guided by digital models, it’s easy and cost-effective to replicate. This is true even when HVAC technical parts are produced by different suppliers, thus adding flexibility to a company’s production processes.
Quick production times
Laser graining speeds up production time even in customized or personalized HVAC technical parts. This is an outstanding benefit for companies to reduce production line times and make a difference in today’s competitive HVAC market.
As opposed to chemical etching, laser graining stands out as an environmentally-friendly process, mainly because of its potential to cut down energy spending. Ascertain textures allow for a reduction in friction, energy is saved.
At the same time, replacing painting or exterior coatings with a laser texture helps obtain mono-material HVAC parts. In the case of materials such as EPP and EPS, this means the parts are 100% recyclable.
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Added aesthetic value
Modern laser graining processes, such as the laser textures we’ve developed at Knauf Appliances, allow companies to generate accurate, grained patterns that generate an improved aesthetic appearance. In fact, at Knauf, we’ve developed an original palette of 36 textures in 4 lines corresponding to the latest trends in industrial design.
By combining our rich experience and digital technologies, attractive alternative HVAC technical parts can be obtained and replace traditional foam parts, which typically require additional finishing processes in order to improve their aesthetics.
Thus, our EPP and EPS technical parts produced by laser graining represent a wide range of solutions that optimize production times and generate efficient, economical HVAC components.
With decades-long experience in providing injection molding technical parts, at Knauf, we represent a world-class and reliable plastic supplier specialized in HVAC technical parts.
Get in touch to speak to our team of experts and learn more about how our HVAC technical parts can help optimize production time and costs for your company.