What is Laser Cutting?
Lasers are high powered beams used in cutting materials. These machines are controlled by computers. Laser beams burn, vaporize or melt anything in its path and are highly useful in ensuring best quality surface finishes. They are used in finishing works. The technology is broadly classified into galvanometer and gantry systems. Gantry systems are slow and used for prototype production. Galvanometer systems cut fast and used in production work.
The Process of Laser Cutting
Laser cutting involves the focusing of the laser beam through a lens. The spot size is small, in the range of 25 µm in diameter. The spot size can be increased for a thicker cutting. Coaxial gas surrounding the laser beam helps in improving the cutting process. Oxygen and air also promote cutting of cellulose materials, plastics, ferrous alloys, and fabrics. Fiber laser beams provide fine cutting of less than 20 µm thickness. The cutting speed is high in the range of 10m/min.
Amplification and simulation techniques are used by laser machines in converting electrical energy into a laser beam or light beam. Stimulation is often provided by an electrical arc or flash lamp which serves as the external source. It stimulates the electrons. The optical resonator amplifies the beam between the mirrors that are reflective and transmissive in nature. The lasing medium stimulates more emissions and causes more amplification of the beam. The photons are amplified here to create a coherent and focused beam.
Laser Cutting Set-Up
The set-up process is fast, efficient and simple. New laser cutting systems are designed to simulate a job, and this makes the work of the operator very easy with just storing configurations. There is minimal work for the operator and basic computer training alone is needed to operate the laser machines. The laser machines are mainly operated and controlled by computer interfaces. The operator needs to learn the computer interface to operate and set up the laser cutting systems. The computer interface manages the laser cutting process and most of the steps. The work of the operator is minimal here. The machines import the exchange format of DXF or .dwg files to achieve the results needed for configuration automation.
Benefits of Laser Cutting
The benefits of laser cutting are evident in increasing productivity, producing high-quality products and ensuring fine, smooth finishes. They also guarantee high speeds, reliability, flexibility, narrow widths, easy automation, programmability, thickness adjusting and tooling cost reduction. Other benefits include no breakage, set up time reduction, minimal material distortion, laser welding, 3D cutting, laser drilling, versatile nature and high capacity of beams.