With the help of laser cutting technology, one can accurately cut a wide variety of materials into their desired size and shape. Different industries and manufacturing sectors prefer to use laser beam cutting to precisely slice a variety of materials such as metals (Nitinol, nickel, titanium, aluminium, copper, brass, steel, tungsten, super alloys etc.).
The Most Precise and Popular Cutting Technique in the Modern Times
Laser Cutting Works?
As the laser source generates a high intensity beam, it is directed towards the work piece with the help of strategically placed mirrors. The numerous beams of laser are then made to pass through a lens, thereby concentrating them onto a small spot over the surface of the material which has to be diced. The high energy focussed at a single point, generates massive heat in that location and melts the work piece. At this stage, a desired cutting gas, also referred to as assist gas, is applied in order to protect and cool the focussing lens. Depending on the type of gas used, laser cutting is categorized into two types:
- Using oxygen as assist gas for laser cutting- The target material gets heated up to ignition temperature as the beam is made to focus on it and subsequently it gets burnt and vaporizes from that point.
- Using non-reactive gases for laser cutting- This is a clean cutting method. Here, high pressure cutting leads to melting of the target material, in a similar manner as mentioned before. But subsequently, the melted material gets blown out of the incision by the kinetic energy of the gas jet itself. However, the inert gases do not react with the melted material and unlike the oxygen assisted cut, there is no extra heat formed in the process.
Advantages of Laser Cutting
Laser beam cutting offers many advantages over traditional mechanical cutting and is voted as the most precise and widely employed cutting technique available today. Its advantages include:
- The narrow dimension of the laser beam enables intricate cutting in the work piece.
- There is minimal deformation in the work piece because heat is generated only in the affected zone.
- This method is capable of generating narrow kerf widths and hence there is minimal wastage of raw materials. As a result, one can cut down on the time and effort required to clean up every day.
- There is no need for any kind of secondary finishing operations since distortion is minimal and the resultant pieces are of high edge quality.
- Advanced laser systems can be customized for specialized tasks, to suit the target under operation.
- Laser cutting is much faster, more precise and cost-effective than most other cutting processes.
- Laser machines are fairly easy to use and do not require a large amount of personnel skill or training.
Computer Numeric Control (CNC) lets the operator have greater control with minimal intervention and there is high consistency i.e. the instrument can generate several identical cut pieces, back to back.