It is a well-known fact that cutting has to be widely used in the process of metal fabrication. Different portions of metals have to be cut and rejoined appropriately to get the desired shape.
CNC laser cutting
The CNC laser cutting is a computer-controlled fabrication process which uses high powered laser beams to cut the metal into desired designs and shapes.
The process of CNC laser cutting is suitable for a wide range of materials such as wood, plastic, gemstones, paper, glass etc. The efficiency of the CNC cutting process is such that accurate and intricate cuts can be achieved without additional machinery.
The main form of laser cutting is called ‘vaporisation cutting’ in which a focused laser beam melts the materials and a high-pressure gas removes the molten material.
The three main types of CNC laser cutting are:
- Hybrid laser
- Moving material, and
- Flying optic
In the hybrid-cutting process, the workpiece is usually moved in one direction, and the laser head moves in the perpendicular direction.
In the moving material cutting process, the laser beam is fixed, and the workpieces move in the X-Y direction beneath. The operation is similar to that of a punch press.
The flying optic cutting process is opposite to that of the moving material cutting. Here instead of the material, the laser beam moves in X and Y direction to cut the material into the desired pieces.
There are several different kinds of laser cutting such as oxidation, fusion cutting and scribing. Irrespective of the method used, laser cutting can produce greater accuracy and superior quality cuts with less contamination.
The range for CNC lasers is from 0.3mm up to 25mm for the higher powered models.
Advantages of CNC Laser Cutting
In an industrial environment, CNC laser cutting is usually preferred over other cutting forms for several reasons. Let us take a closer look at those.
1. Highly Versatile
One of the essential aspects of this technology is that it is highly versatile. Lasers can be used to cut various materials such as wood, plastic, glass, metals, paper etc.
Lasers can also be used for various other applications such as laser marketing, for marking everyday products.
One of the main advantages of laser cutting is high accuracy. With laser beams, it is possible to make ultra-thin cuts required for manufacturing sophisticated machine parts.
Accuracy of +/-0.1 mm can give high precision without the use of any additional equipment.
Laser cutting enables you to cut several different shapes within the same material. Here you do not have to change the tools for each additional cut.
Once the CAD file is fed into the CNC machine’s central computer, you can produce several thousand replicas of the desired design.
In industries, laser cutting can be done a lot quicker than traditional cutting methods such as mechanical, flame-cutting, plasma cutting etc.
6. Fully automated
Traditional cutting methods require lots of specialised manpower. Laser cutting, on the other hand, can be achieved with less manpower.
This will help the companies cut down the labour charges, which reduces the overall cost of production.
However, the cutting process has to be performed by a skilled operator.
7. Contactless cutting
Since the laser beam does the work, there won’t be any wear and tear due to mechanical friction.
The quality of materials produced through laser cutting is far superior to those made through other forms of cutting methods.
The article is a part of our comprehensive guide on CNC machines.