A laser cutting machine is great at cutting a huge variety of materials. This means that should the laser beam be reflected by the flat sheet it can be transmitted back through the beam delivery optics and into the laser itself, potentially causing significant damage. The laser essentially melts the material away that it is run over, so is more like melting than cutting. They have the same wavelength as above, 1.064 micrometres. Laser cutting is a fabrication process which employs a focused, high-powered laser beam to cut material into custom shapes and designs. With good, consistent cutting parameters the likelihood of a reflection can be reduced to almost zero, depending on the materials used. This means that it can easily cut light materials such as cloth up to tougher metals and gemstones such as diamonds.\n\nYou can use either a pulsed beam or a continuous wave beam, with the former being delivered in short bursts while the latter works continuously. This is the process of cutting a shape to create smaller sizes, pieces, or more complex shapes. Laser technology has the following advantages: High accuracy Most laser cutting machines use a laser beam aligned normal to a flat sheet of material. Nitrogen gas does not exothermically react with the molten material and thus does not contribute to the energy input. The laser cutting process is a non-contact, thermal-based type of process where a laser beam is focused directly on the material, exposing it to the combined heat and pressure, doing the cut. In flame cutting, oxygen is used as the assist gas. Cutting is the most basic and widely used process in metal fabrication. You can use either a pulsed beam or a continuous wave beam, with the former being delivered in short bursts while the latter works continuously. Listed below are just some of the many materials:\n\nWood\nGemstones such as diamonds\nTitanium\nSteel\nReflective metals\nGlass\nPlastic\nSilicon\nWhatever the material is that you need to work with and whatever the application, it’s highly likely that laser cutting will more than be up for the task. The laser cutting process uses a focused laser beam and assist gas to sever metallic plate with high accuracy and exceptional process reliability. Laser cutting is a highly accurate process, thanks to this high level of control that you are offered. It all begins from the moment we receive an inquiry and continues through to the shipment of the manufactured parts. The laser cutting process lends itself to automation with offline CAD/CAM systems controlling either three-axis flatbed systems or six-axis robots for three-dimensional laser cutting. Manufacturers have sought to make the manufacturing process easier and more efficient. The laser beam hits the surface of the material and heats it so strongly that it melts or completely vaporises. 1969: First industrial use in Boeing factories The American company Boeing is the first one to integrate laser-cutting on its production lines. In fact, it would be possible to optimise focal length for each material thickness, but this would involve additional set-up time when changing from one job to another, which would have to be balanced against the increased speed. By far the most popular use of lasers is for cutting. A continuous cut is produced by moving the laser beam or workpiece under CNC control. The laser cutting process involves focusing a laser beam, usually with a lens (sometimes with a concave mirror), to a small spot which has sufficient power density to produce a laser cut. Mirrors or fiber optics are typically used to direct the coherent lightto a lens, which focuses the light at the work zone. This can be for small & fine materials or materials with a much greater level of thickness (e.g. The former involves the creation of thru-holes in a material or dents, like an engraving used in the later process. There are many state of the art laser machines on the market for cutting purposes, which can be used to cut metals, woods and engineered woods. However, for the same reason, direct diode lasers are currently of lower beam quality compared to fibre lasers. For a constant raw laser beam diameter, decrease in the focal length lens of the focusing lens results in a smaller focal spot diameter and depth of focus. There are, however, a number of ways of achieving the X-Y movement: either moving the laser head, moving the workpiece or a combination of both. At the same time, it does have a few downsides as well. Initially, the laser is used to pierce the material with a hole at the edge, and then the beam is continued along from there. The advantages of lacer cutting is less cutting burrs, less deformation and faster cutting speed. For relatively light sheet weights, a fixed optic system can be a viable option, but as the sheet weight increases, accurately positioning the material at high speed can be a problem. C02 cutting is achieved using a gas laser. Thanks to this, slits with a width as small as 0.1mm can be achieved when using the process. A fiber laser is the most useful of the three types. Laser cutting is a highly accurate process, thanks to this high level of control that you are offered. This reflection does not come entirely from the sheet surface, but is caused by the formation of a molten pool which can be highly reflective. On mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum plate, the laser cutting process is highly accurate, yields excellent cut quality, has a very small kerf width and small heat affect zone, and makes it possible to cut very intricate shapes and small holes. Alongside the benefits listed above, they are often maintenance free, require much cheaper replacement parts, and have a much longer service life of around 25,000 usage hours. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and events from TWI: Coined from the words Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation lasers have been a byword for efficiency and quality in materials processing since their advent in the sixties. Simply call us on +44(0)1489 779696 or complete our contact form. The first step of the Laser cutting process begins with a request. Fusion cutting is another standard process used in metal cutting, and it can also be used to cut other fusible materials, such as ceramics.. Laser cutting is a process where a material is cut through the use of a laser beam. As the lasing material is stimulated, the beam is reflected internally by means of a partial mirror, until it achieves sufficient energy to escape as a stream of monochromatic coherent light. Laser cutting is a type of thermal separation process. Oxygen-assisted laser cutting permits high cutting speeds and processing of thick sheets and structural steel up to 30 mm. There are several laser machines now. "}},{"@type":"Question","name":"What advantages does cutting with lasers have over other more conventional cutting methods? For a constant focus length lens, increase in the raw beam diameter also reduces both the spot diameter and the depth of focus. pulsed or continuous wave) to cut a wide range of materials to a high level of accuracy, using a process, which is highly repeatable. Engraving is the process of removing a layer of a material to leave an engraving below. These are crystals which belong in the solid state group of lasers, and have the same wavelength as fiber lasers, around 1.064 micrometres. The most popular approach is known as a 'flying optics' system, where the workpiece remains stationary and mirrors are moved in both X and Y axes. In 1979, the Italian company Prima Industrie invented the first 3D laser-cutting process with a 5 axes rotation system. However, this type of laser machine is made up from expensive pump diodes, which can be costly when needed to be replaced; typically, after 8,000 – 15,000 hours of use. A beam is created using a ‘seed laser’, which is then amplified using glass fibers and pump diodes. The laser beam is then transmitted through an optical fibre where it gets amplified (similar to a conventional laser cavity in CO2 lasers). As the workpiece is not moved, this also means that there is no real limit to sheet weight. The gas in question is a carbon dioxide mixture which has been electrically stimulated. The process simply involves the use of a focused laser beam (e.g. ","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"There are a huge number of benefits over other more conventional forms of cutting:\n\nIt’s a non-contact process, and so there is minimal damage caused to the material you are working with and associated moving parts\nHas low maintenance costs and only needs inexpensive replacement parts\nThe process helps to dramatically reduce material wastage\nOne laser machine is capable of working with multiple materials and applications\nIt is much safer using than other processes as the beam is enclosed within a light box\nYou are offered total control with the beam intensity, heat output and duration when undertaking a laser cutting process, making this a highly reliable process"}},{"@type":"Question","name":"","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":""}}]}. For this reason simply spraying the sheet surface with a non-reflective coating will not entirely eliminate the problem. A CO2 laser can cut thicker materials (>5mm) faster than a fibre laser of the same power. They have the same wavelength as above, 1.064 micrometres. Advantages of laser technology. The laser beam penetrates into the material and heats it. This means that without controlling the divergence, there may be some variation in cutting performance between different parts of the table, due to a change in raw beam size. It also means that they can work with both metal and non-metal materials.\n\nA fiber laser is the most useful of the three types. The gas in question is a carbon dioxide mixture which has been electrically stimulated. This can be done to either trim down a material or to help cut it into complex shapes that more conventional drills would struggle with. C02 cutting is most often used on non-metal materials as they have a wavelength of 10.6 micrometres. These dents and holes are essentially cuts, and you’ll often see a laser machine also being used for drilling and engraving too.\n\nA vast range of materials and thickness sizes can be cut with lasers, making it a handy and adaptable process. The Laser Cutting Process: Analysis and Applications presents a comprehensive understanding of the laser cutting process and its practical applications. Able to heat, melt and even vaporise material, lasers are seen as the ideal medium for channelling intense but controllable energy. Melt Cutting. Generation of the laser beam involves stimulating a lasing material by electrical discharges or lamps within a closed container. Drilling is the process of creating dents or thru-holes on or in the surface of a material. Initially, the beam pierces the material with a hole at the edge, and then the beam is continued along from there.\n\nThe laser essentially melts the material away that it is run over, so is more like melting than cutting. There are three major varieties of laser cutting: fusion cutting, flame cutting and remote cutting. Laser Cutting is a non-contact process which utilizes a laser to cut materials, resulting in high quality, dimensionally accurate cuts. ","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"A laser machine is great at cutting a huge variety of materials. This is often an improvement over fixed optics, but still suffers from difficulties with heavier sheet weights. We focus solely on state-of-the-art fiber lasers at SPI Lasers. There are also several techniques involved with the laser cutting process, which we have touched on briefly above: The main use for a laser machine, explained extensively in this article. You can control the beam intensity, length and heat output depending on the material you are working with, and can also user a mirror or special lens to further focus the laser beam. ","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"As the name may suggest, this is the process of cutting a material using a laser beam. Laser cutting is a kind of non-contact machining with high energy and density control The laser beam is focused to form a light spot with high energy density. The lens is defined by its focal length, which is the distance from the lens to the focused spot. This system usually takes the form of a back reflection system that can detect if too much laser radiation is being reflected back through the optics. A laser cutter is an equipment or machine that is used to engrave and cut materials using laser technology. The laser cutting process may be simple on paper, but each step is important. It also means that they can work with both metal and non-metal materials. This means that the beam for a fiber laser is roughly 100 times greater than that of a C02 equivalent when it comes to intensity. Marking is similar to engraving in that a mark is made but the difference being that the mark is only surface level, while an engraving from laser engraving has much more depth. Initially, the beam pierces the material with a hole at the edge, and then the beam is continued along from there. Once the laser beam has completely penetrated the material at one point, the actual laser cutting process begins. This involves firing a laser which cuts by … One way they are used is for cutting metal plates. The amplified beam, on exiting the optical fibre, is collimated and then focused by a lens or a concave onto the material to be cut. Laser cutting is mainly a thermal process in which a focused laser beam is used to melt material in a localised area. "}},{"@type":"Question","name":"What materials can be machine cut? Laser cutting of sheet metals historically started with CO2 lasers. Read our Fiber laser cutting infographic to learn more about the laser cutting process, end to end. We use CO 2 machines. If you would like to receive further updates from us, click here. Established in the 1980’s as one of the first companies in the UK to offer a Laser Cutting service Laser Process Fabrication has grown up with Laser technology and today offers a wide array of services making us a genuine ‘one … FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for laser cutting, The various types and techniques of laser cutting, Wood – although care in the laser cutting process is needed to avoid scorch/burn marks, Reflective metals – notoriously difficult to work with, lasers can be used to, It’s a non-contact process, and so there is minimal damage caused to the material you are working with and associated moving parts, Has low maintenance costs and only needs inexpensive replacement parts, The process helps to dramatically reduce material wastage, One laser cutting machine is capable of working with multiple materials and, It is much safer using than other processes as the beam is enclosed within a light box, You are offered total control with the beam intensity, heat output and duration when undertaking a laser cutting process, making this a. Image credits: SD-Pictures, moritz320 and PeteLinforth. Lasers are used for many purposes. The CO2 laser (carbon dioxide laser) is generated in a gas mixture, which mostly consists of carbon dioxide (CO2), helium and nitrogen. Fibre lasers are a member of a family called ‘solid-state lasers’. This is based around a laser beam which is guided, formed, and bundled. Click on the infographic below to view the entire image, as only a thumbnail view is shown on this page. Such a laser is electrically pumped using an electric discharge. Where the laser cutting process needs to start anywhere other than the edge of the material, a piercing process is used, whereby a high power pulsed laser makes a hole in the material, for example taking 5-15 seconds to burn through a 0.5-inch-thick (13 mm) stainless steel sheet. These are crystals which belong in the solid state group of lasers, and have the same wavelength as fiber lasers, around 1.064 micrometres. In doing so, the oxygen is blown into the kerf at pressures of up to 6 bar. Laser cutting is a precise method of cutting a design from a given material using a CAD file to guide it. This means that the beam for a fiber laser is roughly 100 times greater than that of a C02 equivalent when it comes to intensity. Fibre lasers, disk lasers and Nd:YAG lasers are in the same category. Why lasers are used for cutting. The process works by having a focused and precise laser beam run through the material that you are looking to cut, delivering an accurate and smooth finish. This is often used for etching barcodes onto items or personalising items such as trophies. It has many features when applied in the cutting process. Without this system there are risks with processing aluminium as there is no way of detecting if potentially hazardous reflections are occurring. A fibre laser beam is generated by a series of laser diodes. Cutting • Laser cutting is able to cut faster and with a higher quality then competing processes: – Punch, plasma, abrasive waterjet, ultrasonic, oxyflame, sawing and milling • Can be automated • 80% industrial lasers in Japan are used for metal cutting 7 The only other consideration is that the shorter the focal length, the closer the lens is to the workpiece, and therefore more likely to get damaged by spatter from the cutting process. Other than cutting it, the laser beam can also be used to provide different types of services to a … A vast range of materials and thickness sizes can be cut with lasers, making it a handy and adaptable process. Laser cutting is the process that uses laser beams to cut out designs in specific material with the help of CAD file to guide it. This effect can be reduced by adding a re-collimating optic, or some systems even use adaptive mirror control. Aluminium is more reflective than carbon manganese steel or stainless steel and has the potential to cause damage to the laser itself. To make this a little easier, we have explored the process in greater detail below, looking at how the process works, the different types of laser cutting, its advantages, and where you’ll see it most commonly used. This can be done to either trim down a material or to help cut it into complex shapes that more conventional drills would struggle with.\n\nThis process also has many similarities to the drilling and engraving processes. We focus solely on state-of-the-art fiber lasers at SPI Lasers. The narrowest part of the focused beam is generally less than 0.0125 inches (0.32 m… The process works by directing the laser beam through a nozzle to the workpiece. The crystal used also has a much shorter service life than that of a fiber laser. Most CO2 laser cutting machines are three-axis systems (X-Y, two-dimensional positioning control with a Z-axis height control). Those used for material processing can generate beams of many kilowatts in power. Like the crystal method above, fiber lasers belong to the solid state group too. The laser cutting process involves focusing a laser beam, usually with a lens (sometimes with a concave mirror), to a small spot which has sufficient power density to produce a laser cut. "}},{"@type":"Question","name":"What are the three main types of laser cutting? This means that it can easily cut light materials such as cloth up to tougher metals and gemstones such as diamonds. This type of cutting is completed using a fiber laser, the type we manufacture here at SPI Lasers. This process also has many similarities to the drilling and engraving processes. To allow comparison between lasers with different beam diameters we therefore use a factor called the focus f-number, which is the focal length, F, divided by the incoming raw beam diameter, D. The requirements for cutting are as follows: a) high power density and therefore small focused spot size. The lens is defined by its focal length, which is the distance from the lens to the focused spot. In fusion cutting, an inert gas (typically nitrogen) is used to expel molten material out of the kerf. Because these two requirements are in conflict with each other, a compromise must be made. And laser cutting mainly has four different cutting methods to … The depth of focus is the effective distance over which satisfactory cutting can be achieved. Article by Ahmad Alshidiq. You can control the beam intensity, length and heat output depending on the material you are working with, and can also user a mirror or special lens to further focus the laser beam.\n\nLaser cutting is a highly accurate process, thanks to this high level of control that you are offered. This is the ideal situation optically, but the worse situation mechanically, especially for heavier sheets. All metal materials are reflective to CO2 laser beams, until a certain power density threshold value is reached. The former involves the creation of thru-holes in a material or dents, like an engraving used in the later process. The gas in question is a carbon dioxide mixture which has been electrically stimulated. In this technology, several laser beams emitted from laser-emitting diodes of different wavelengths are superimposed using so-called beam combining techniques. In … When it hits the workpiece, the material heats up to the extent that it melts or vaporizes. technology that allows metals and some non metallic materials to be cut with extreme precision if required With this process, the oxygen is used as cutting gas. Thanks to this, slits with a width as small as 0.1mm can be achieved when using the process. Alongside the benefits listed above, they are often maintenance free, require much cheaper replacement parts, and have a much longer service life of around 25,000 usage hours. Laser cutting works by having focused and precise laser beam run through the material that you are looking to cut. A laser cutting machine can also be used for engraving. There are a huge number of benefits over other more conventional forms of cutting: These are just some of the many advantages of laser cutting, for more benefits please refer to this page here. As a general rule the addition of alloying elements reduces the reflectivity of aluminium to the laser, so pure aluminium is harder to process than a more traditional 5000 series alloy. These dents and holes are essentially cuts, and you’ll often see a cutting laser machine also being used for drilling and engraving too. So let’s explore those great qualities and disadvantages more closely. The critical factors which govern the efficiency of the process are the focused spot diameter (d) and the depth of focus (L). Improvements in accuracy, edge squareness and heat input control means that the laser process is increasingly replacing other profiling cutting techniques, such as plasma and oxy-fuel. Accuracy and exceptional process reliability question is a highly accurate process, end to end beam... Diameter also reduces both the spot diameter and the depth of focus is the process of cutting a design a! 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