Coincidence does not exist. In 1905, Albert Einstein first published research on the potential of laser technology. And it was also in that very same year that a beautiful belle-époque house was built in Antwerp. Exactly 118 years later, the Needle® 100, an innovative laser cleaning machine from Netalux, is being used to restore the Euville Limestone sculptures of this historic building. How do you get started on something like this? You can read more about that below.
At Belgiëlei 91 lies one of Antwerp's most luxurious belle époque master homes. Better known as the former museum Smidt van Gelder. The building unfortunately fell into disrepair over the past decades and stood empty for a long time. But not for much longer. The city of Antwerp, along with partners Denys and IPARC, enlisted the help of our laser Needle® 100 to restore the Euville Limestone sculptures to their original grandeur and appearance.
Several methods were compared for the renovation and restoration of these striking facade sculptures. Laser cleaning proved to be the best solution. All atmospheric and biological deposits from more than a century of exposure to natural elements were removed in a flash. Like new, with no damage to the limestone. "Our laser technology is synonymous with quality and reliability. The result is that the historic patina and look are preserved, but 100% cleaned. Even the subtly applied shadow lines in the architecture now become visible again," explains CEO Emmanuel Flaam.
Laser cleaning of limestone
From the (petro)chemical and pharmaceutical sectors to the automotive, aviation and food sectors, Netalux's laser cleaning machines are used for numerous applications in most diverse sectors. Increasingly in the construction sector where it is the ideal way to renovate and restore limestone facades, for example. "After a short training and start-up phase, our partners were able to clean limestone sculptures in just 3 days," adds Steve Verhelst, operations manager and sales technician at Netalux.
Durable and flexible
The benefits of laser cleaning speak for themselves Especially when compared to traditional cleaning methods. "Traditional cleaning methods, such as sand or water jets, blow dirt and sometimes harmful substances around. Regularly, they even involve chemicals. This is not desirable in a dense residential environment such as Antwerp's city center. Laser cleaning, on the other hand, is people- and environment-friendly,” Steve says. "Moreover, traditional cleaning machines have difficulty getting to such a high altitude. With the lightweight and flexible Needle® 100, this is no problem at all."
Choosing the right laser machine
Very important when choosing laser cleaning is to select the right laser machine. Depending on the application, the pulse frequency and energy of the laser must be accurately determined. Netalux has in its product range for every application a machine with the appropriate power (100 Watts to 1000 Watts). "During a preliminary study, we are happy to help to deploy this groundbreaking technology in the best way. We are already looking forward to when this wonderful piece of heritage reopens its doors in 2024," Emmanuel and Steve conclude.
>> See our laser cleaning machine in action in this movie: