An excerpt from twi-global.com
Laser cutting is the largest industrial application of high power lasers; ranging from profile cutting of thick-section sheet materials for large industrial applications, to medical stents. The process lends itself to automation with offline CAD/CAM systems controlling 3-axis flatbed, 6-axis robots, or remote systems. Traditionally, CO2 laser sources have dominated the laser cutting industry. However, recent advances in fibre-delivered, solid-state laser technologies has enhanced the benefits of laser cutting, by providing the end-user with increased cutting speeds and decreased operating costs.
The recent improvements in fibre-delivered, solid-state laser technologies have stimulated competition with the well-established CO2 laser cutting process. The cut edge quality, in terms of nominal surface roughness, possible with solid-state lasers in thin sheets matches CO2 laser performance. However, the cut edge quality noticeably degrades with the sheet thickness. The cut edge quality can be improved with correct optical configuration and efficient delivery of the assist gas jet.
The specific benefits of laser cutting are:
· High quality cut – no post cutting finishing is required.
· Flexibility – simple or complex parts can easily be processed.
· High precision – narrow cut kerfs are possible.
· High cutting speed – resulting in low operating costs.
· Non-contact – no marks.
· Quick set up – small batches and fast turn around.
· Low heat input – low distortion.
· Materials - most materials can be cut