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A DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE WORLD_WIDE APPLICATIONS OF LASER CUTTING

Laser cutters are utilised to precisely cut thin flat sheets, tubes, corners, three-dimensional shapes, complex slots and holes within different materials viz. some metals (Nitinol, nickel, titanium, aluminium, copper, brass, steel, tungsten, super alloys etc.), fabrics, stone, slate, marble, fused quartz, ceramics, paper, cardboard, leather, rubber, wax, plastics devoid of chlorine, wood, foam etc. Additionally, the most recent laser machines have more power and are currently approaching plasma machines in their ability to sever thick materials.

Around the globe, industries such as consumer electronics, medical device manufacturing, renewable energy, semiconductors, architectural panel, jewellery making, aerospace and automobile manufacturing are growing by leaps and bounds. With the continuous rise in global air traffic, commercial aviation applications for laser cutting is also surging. On ground, demand for automobiles in developing countries is driving the demand for laser machines to produce automotive components. Also, the growing conflicts around the world is compelling the defence industry to rely on the precision of laser machines. Apart from industries, this technology is also utilized by small businesses, colleges and hobbyists.

In the field of consumer electronics, sale of gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and electronic-readers are increasing. Laser cutting machines are regularly used to cut everything from printed circuit boards and displays to the plastic phone cases. These consumer electronics also have a relatively short shelf life and in every one or two years, users are trading in their old handsets for new ones.

In the automobile and aerospace engineering industry, laser machines are commonly adopted because of their ability to cut precise patters and intricate parts, consistently and at high speeds. Not only do they enable manufacturers to work efficiently and automate many processes, they also help in conserving energy, offer minimal downtime and function around the clock. Once automated with CNC, laser machines consistently manufacture, making automation a smart and cost-effective investment for manufacturers. Also, there is no problem of contamination of work piece, as is seen in other mechanical cutting techniques.

However, there are some disadvantages of laser cutting. When laser is charged on plastic, the fumes that are produced during melting are often quite toxic. This gives rise to the need for placing the entire set up in a well-ventilated environment, which demands lot of expenditure of time and money. Laser-cutting method cannot be used for all types of metals. Metal pieces that are too thick and reflect an excessive amount of light are not suitable for laser cutting. Also, brittle and transparent materials like glass and crystal cannot be cut. Additionally, the precise quantity of energy used in generating laser relies on the required strength, quantity of cutting work, thickness of the target as well the cutting rate. However it is, an incredible quantity of power is employed, particularly in industrial applications. Though laser cutting is a quick method, the speed of production will not always be the consistent. It is dependent on the kind of optical device, thickness and nature of the material that you are trying to cut.

The laser cutting market is rapidly expanding and the largest of them lies in the Asia-Pacific region because this region is particularly strong in industries that use laser to produce consumer electronics, automotive components and semiconductors. As these industries are expanding the region, so too does the need for laser cutting machines. When taken together, growth in developing nations, recovering industries, booming industries and automation of manufacturing, combine to drive tremendous growth.

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