Now more than ever, the impact of human activity on the environment around us is a great concern for organisations and businesses. With the introduction of the Climate Change Act in 2008, there is now a need for all the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 80% by 2050.
The UK is already halfway to meeting this target, according to the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). There has been a huge effort to 'clean up' industry, with the development of more efficient industrial processes and a structural shift away from carbon-intensive manufacturing.
There is still much work to be done, and innovations in technology are providing new solutions to age-old problems. Laser technology stands out as one of these modern technological advancements, and it's application has the potential to minimize the escalation of the effects of climate change even further.
Here, we look at some of the reasons why lasers are great for the environment:
1. Less waste...happy environment
When it comes to laser engraving, for example, traditonal methods would typically produce significant amounts of wastage. Such methods of affixing visuals like serial and barcodes, logos, and safety information generally involve additional labels. By contrast, laser marking can engrave directly on a variety of materials. During the marking process, the beam laser melts or vaporises the area where it is focused on, which means less waste is generated. The environmental benefits of lasers are twofold when you consider that you're able to precisely and efficiently engrave onto products made from recyclable materials.
2. Lasers save on energy consumption
Fiber marking laser systems typically use 70% less power than other machines in the industry. Traditionally, electricity and natural gas have been the primary sources of energy used in the manufacturing sector, and reliance upon them has a detrimental impact on the environment. Laser systems are also incredibly quick and efficient at what they do, meaning they use up much lower amounts of energy by comparison.
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3. Laser cleaning...is much cleaner!
Laser cleaning, while not as widely used as some other laser applications, is a perfect example of how laser technology can help protect the environment. Laser cleaning involves the removal of impurities from the surface of a material, which would usually be achieved by using abrasive tools and chemical solvents, producing sometimes hazardous waste and fumes. Laser cleaning is non-contact, non-abrasive with no chemicals in use.
4. Lasers are helping us to better understand climate change
Perhaps the coolest reason on this list, laser technology itself is being utilised in research on climate change! The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) here in the UK are using a Laser Heterodyne Radiometer to monitor the atmosphere. Lasers are also being used to study rainforests - environments which can otherwise be very hard for humans to access. Scientists are even using lasers to examine the impact of oil spills.
These are just some of the many reasons why lasers are a great alternative to many traditional methods of marking and engraving, especially for the environment. Beyond that, laser technology is helping us in some really great ways to better understand our wider impact on the world we live in and how we can reduce our carbon footprint.
Want to find out more about our N-Lase laser systems and how they can help your business to be more environmentally friendly? Get in touch with us.