Laser Cutting Machines

Regarding non-conventional cutting methods, it was up to the 20th century that scientists know how to concentrate the laser light and applied it to the industrial applications for hard material cutting tasks. Since the invention of laser, cutting becomes a different thing in all kinds of industrial sectors.

A metalworking laser cutting machine is a machinery that utilizes the laser technology to cut metal materials, and is typically used for industrial manufacturing usages. Currently, the laser cutting technology is also adopted by schools, small businesses, and some hobbyists. Laser cutting mechanism works by directing the output of a high-powered laser most commonly through optics.

The laser optics and CNC are exploited to direct the materials or the laser beam generated. A commercial laser for cutting metal materials includes a motion control system to follow a CNC programmed method of the pattern to be cut onto the targeted material with the concentrated photons.

Types of Laser Cutting Machines

Metal to metal cutting is always a practical and traditional way of metal working. This way of machining is very long-lived and widely used for centuries since the very beginning of metal civilization. On the other hand, regarding non-conventional cutting methods, it was up to the 20th century that scientists know how to concentrate the laser light and applied it to the industrial applications for hard material cutting tasks.

Since the invention of the laser, cutting becomes a different thing in all kinds of industrial sectors. A metalworking laser cutting machine is machinery that utilizes the laser technology to cut metal materials and is typically used for industrial manufacturing usages. Currently, the laser cutting technology is also adopted by schools, small businesses, and some hobbyists in a wide variety of usages for different purposes. Laser cutting mechanism works by directing the output of a high-powered laser most commonly through optics. The laser optics and CNC programming controller are exploited to direct the materials or the laser beam generated with a much more concentrated and precise application.

Commercial usages

In the practical field, a commercial laser for cutting metal materials includes a motion control system to follow a CNC programmed method of the pattern to be cut onto the targeted material with the concentrated photons. That is to say, laser cutting technology in metal working is a cutting technology that uses a laser to slice metal materials.

Because laser cutting functions by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through the optics, the laser optics, and CNC devices are used to direct the material or the laser beam generated in a targeted way. A commercial laser for cutting materials involved a motion control system to follow a CNC or G-code of the pattern to be cut into the metal materials. Accordingly, the focused laser beam is directed at the material, which then either melts, burns, vaporizes away, or is blown away by a jet of gas, and leaves an edge with a high-quality surface finish.

Laser machining process

Regarding the generation of the laser beam, this technology involves stimulating a lasing material by electrical discharges or lamps within a closed container. Moreover, as the lasing material is stimulated, the beam is reflected internally by means of a partial mirror, and until it achieves sufficient energy to escape as a stream of monochromatic coherent light.

Therefore, mirrors or fiber optics are typically used to direct the coherent light to a lens, which focuses the light at the work zone. The narrowest part of the focused beam is generally less than 0.32 mm in diameter. Aside from it, depending upon material thickness, the KERF widths as small as 0.10 mm is possible. In order to be able to start cutting from somewhere other than the edge, a pierce is achieved before every cut. Piercing usually involves a high-power pulsed laser beam slowly making a hole in the material, taking around 5–15 seconds for 13 mm thick stainless steel, for instance.

Classifications

There are mainly three types of lasers used in the laser cutting process. The CO2 laser is suitable for cutting, boring, and engraving processes. The neodymium and neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet lasers are identical in style and differ only in the application.

Moreover, in addition to the power source of the laser cutting, the type of gas flow can affect performance as well. Common variants of CO2 lasers include fast axial flow, slow axial flow, transverse flow, and slab. In a fast axial flow resonator, the mixture of carbon dioxide, helium, and nitrogen is circulated at high velocity by a turbine or blower in order to achieve the results. Transverse flow lasers circulate the gas mix at a lower velocity, requiring a simpler blower. Slab or diffusion cooled resonators have a static gas field that requires no pressurization or glassware, leading to savings on replacement turbines and glassware.

Differences from metal to metal

Traditional metal to metal cutting method requires the actual and rigid contact of the cutting tools and the metal work piece, therefore the wore out of the cutting tools is an important issue that cannot be neglected for sure otherwise the performance would be affected.

For this purpose, the cutter grinders and sharpeners are used to be installed in the manufacturing plants so that onsite operators are able to use them to reshape their cutters and cutting tools in order to put the process into tracks. However, for these steps, it is observed that such procedures take time as well as other resources such as grinding wheels, dressers, cutters, cutting tools, etc.

As a result, with the laser cutting methodology, it is much more convenient for onsite operators to proceed with the working loads without the obstacles in the process, achieving the quickest and best cutting performance within a comparatively short period of time on the production lines. With the invention of laser technology, the manufacturing sector and industrial insiders like to apply this technology to their production lines due to many great advantages that are not possible to achieve by traditional metal working facilities.

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