Laser cutting is one of the state-of-the-art technologies which is made available to accommodate the turnaround requirements and production volumes for any business. The process is suitable to cut various materials like metal, plastic, wood, glass, gemstone, silicon and paper, into custom shapes and designs with precise accuracy. The custom-designed tooling can help create intricate and complex parts.
Different Type of Laser Cutting:
The laser cutting can be divided broadly into two types, the ablative laser cutting, and the laser fusion cutting. While the ablative laser cutting works like a chisel and removes the material layer by layer with the help of a pulsed laser, Laser fusion using a high-pressure stream of gas to melt and shear the molten material. The ablative lasers make partial cuts while laser fusion cuts all the way through the material.
There are other kinds of laser cutting available, like oxidation cutting, fusion cutting, and scribing. Those lasers demonstrate the power to work with precision and deliver high-quality finishes. The kind of laser cutting to be used depends on the materials, energy consumption, and finishing requirement. There are pros and cons of each method of cutting.
Mechanics and Process of Laser Cutting:
Laser cutting is a thermal-based process which is non-contact and suitable for both metal and non-metals. The configuration and settings of the machine involve many components, tools, and setting, and these machines can differ based on the model. The laser cutting machine makes cuts, engravings, and markings and a typical setup include a laser cutting head, a pressurized gas assembly, a nozzle, mirrors, and laser resonator assembly.
Certain stages are involved in the basic laser cutting process, and these are generation and focusing of the beam, localized heating, and melting plus material ejection followed by a movement of the beam. Each and every phase is important in the laser cutting process and should be carried out perfectly to get the precise results.
What to Choose, Fibre Lasers or Other Procedures?
Fibre laser and CO2 are the two most common laser cutting machines. The CO2 lasers use a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and hydrogen to create the laser medium. On the other hand, fibre lasers use an optical fibre fixed with rare-earth elements. While both are popularly used, there are always speculations in the market that fibre lasers will dominate the market. However, whether they will replace CO2 lasers completely remains a controversial subject even among the experts.
Plasma cutting is another process of cutting material that makes use of an electrically heated channel of ionized gas. Although plasma cutting carries an edge over laser cutting in terms of speed and costs, laser cutters score better on flexibility and edge quality.
When you compare mechanical punching with laser cutting, although the punch press makes for a more economical choice, the laser cutting has a major advantage over punching when it comes to flexibility and quality of the parts. The key benefit of mechanical cutting is volume, but it carries a higher capital cost.
Waterjet is another method of cutting material and makes use of a high-pressure stream of water to cut thicker materials. However, where it lags behind is the precision, edge quality, and the cutting speed. Thus, one can see that laser cutting definitely scores better than other methods of cutting and carries an advantage.
laser cutting is advancing and getting sophisticated with the advancement of technology. However, certain factors need to be considered to make optimal use of the cutting power of the laser and avoid any mistakes. Keep in mind that accelerating the cutting speed may not necessarily translate to higher volumes and a reduction in cycle time, as a lot relies on the geometry and material to be cut.