High Speed Laser Cutting Systems

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Finished laser cut touch pads.

CO2 laser ceramic cutting system

Finished laser cut touch pads.

"On-the-fly" laser slit cutting on tubing

Laser Cutting Technology

Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut precise patterns in most all types of materials such as metal, plastic and paper. Laser cutters are used in a large variety of industrial applications and are the number one industrial use of high power lasers. With its increased flexibility, high level of accuracy and high quality cut, laser cutting is replacing conventional machining processes such as plasma and oxy-fuel cutting

There are two types of lasers used for cutting; the gaseous CO2 laser and the solid-state Nd:YAG laser. CO2 lasers work by "pumping" the atoms of the gaseous mixture into an excited state within the laser's chamber. Once the gas is pumped, it contains a collection of atoms with some reflected back and forth multiple times within the laser's chamber. A laser cutter uses mostly a thermal process in which the light emerges from the laser's aperture and the beam is focused by a lens on to the surface of the material being cut. The laser beam either melts, burns or vaporizes the material in a localized area. Gas assisted laser cutters use a jet of gas coaxial with the laser beam to eject the molten material from the cut. This leaves an edge with a high quality finish.

Typical laser cutters cut as small as 1 mm in size and specialized lasers can cut even smaller. Most industrial lasers can either cut with a pulse or cut 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.

Industrial laser cutting systems can be implemented in batch manufacturing but also lend themselves very well to automation controlled by computer software in a production line system. Some of the benefits of using a laser cutter over other means of cutting include: the flexibility and precision cutting of simple or complex parts; a non contact cut which means no marks or contamination of the material; a high quality cut with no extra finishing required; and the ability to cut virtually any material.

Applications Using Non-Contact Laser Cutting

CO2 laser ceramic cutting system

Dielectric thickness = 0.0005"

Touchpads

Application: Cutting touchpads for cell phones.

 

Features: This laser system uses a 225 watt CO2 laser to perform three separate processes on the touchpad web: it cuts the pattern of the touchpad through the top plastic layer without cutting the paper backing; it cuts through both the plastic and the backing where necessary; and it marks sequential serial numbers along the edge of the web.

Finished laser cut touch pads.

Finished touch pads

The laser cutting system.

Laser cutting system

Battery Cathodes

Application: Cutting battery cathodes from aluminum foil for use in pace-maker implants.

 

Features: This laser cutting system uses a 355nm laser to cut the cathode pattern from a reel of foil. An automated feed system indexes the foil across a vacuum-assisted cut platen. A pick-and-place robot removes and stacks the cathodes.

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The foil cutting laser system.

Cathode cutting laser system

Fixturing for the foil.

Tape and reel fixturing assembly

Cathode cut from foil tape.

Cathode cut from foil tape

Battery Dielectric

System: Paper dielectric cutting system

 

Application: Cutting battery dielectric from paper for use in pace-maker implants.

Features: This laser cutting system uses a 30 watt air-cooled CO2 laser to cut the dielectric pattern from a reel of paper. An automated feed system indexes the foil across dual vacuum-assisted platens.

The laser cutting system.
Finished laser cut touch pads.

Laser Cutting Metal Disk

Finished laser cut touch pads.

CO2 Laser Cutting System w/ Reel Feed

Free Laser Marking Tutorial Request Literature Here
Face-plates

Application: Cutting face-plates from plastic.

Features: Designed for high precision cutting, this system is built around a 30 watt CO2 laser. An X/Y table capable of 24" of computer-controlled travel is used to cut a pattern of switch faceplates from a 24" square sheet of layered plastic 0.062" thick.

Finised laser cut faceplate.
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