How Laser Cutting Works
Laser cutting allows nearly any material, including glass, metal, plastic, to be cut with precision unattainable by any other cutting method.
Industrial laser cutting systems can be implemented in batch manufacturing but also can be integrated into a automated production line system. Some of the benefits of using laser cutting over other means of cutting include:
- Flexibility and precision cutting of simple or complex parts
- Non-contact cut (no marks or contamination of the material)
- High-quality cut with no extra finishing required
- Ability to cut virtually any material.
Laser Cutting Methods
Thermal Laser Cutting
A laser cutter mostly uses a thermal process in which the light emerges from the laser’s aperture. Then the beam is focused by a lens on to the surface of the material being cut. The beam either melts, burns or vaporizes the material in a localized area.
Gas-Assisted Laser Cutting
Gas-assisted laser cutters use a jet of gas coaxial along with the laser beam to eject the molten material from the cut; leaving an edge with a high-quality finish.
Industries Commonly Using Laser Cutting
Laser cutting is used in a variety of manufacturing applications and is the number one industrial use of high power lasers. With its unmatched flexibility, accuracy and perfect edge, laser cutting is replacing conventional machining processes like plasma and oxy-fuel cutting.
Laser Cutting Automotive Manufacturing
With an ever-expanding number of metals and alloys being used in automotive manufacturing, lasers provide a versatile, powerful and fast method of cutting, along with any number of other materials found in the production of automobiles.
Laser Cutting PCB (Printed Circuit Board)
The manufacture of PCBs requires expedient depaneling of those boards. Both CO2 and UV lasers can be found in PCB depaneling, depending on the application needs and substrate.
Laser Cutting Glass
Lasers effectively cut glass using a melting method that leaves no micro-cracks. This eliminates the need for post-cut processing to remove micro-cracks in the glass and there is no clean-up of the micro shards left from mechanical methods.
Typical laser cutters cut as small as 1 mm in size and specialized lasers can cut even smaller. Most industrial lasers cut with a pulse or with a continuous wave (CW). A pulsed laser outputs a high power burst of energy for a short time. This is useful for cutting very small holes, piercing the material to start a cut in the interior, or for cutting material that may all melt if a constant laser beam was used.
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