Using lasers to cut plastic achieves precise, fast and repeatable cuts in many types of polymers. Compared to traditional cutting methods, laser systems offer many advantages like precise laser control, high accuracy and speed. Others include:
- Non-contact cuts. Lasers eliminate cleaning, sharpening and replacing cutting blades.
- Small kerf widths. Focused, localized laser energy creates very narrow cuts.
- Flexibility. Switch between patterns without changing parts. Altering the cut pattern is as simple as uploading a new graphic file.
- On-the-Fly processing. Our machines cut patterns as they travel down the production line—increasing speed and flexibility.
Many laser types can cut plastic. Depending on your edge requirements and cutting speed, different laser wavelengths—from IR to UV—offer different advantages. Some of the methods for cutting plastic include:
- Fixed beam cutting. The laser beam remains fixed in one position, and the part moves under the focused spot. On-axis air assist can further improve speed and cut quality in some applications.
- Galvanometer-steered cutting. For this method, the computer-controlled galvanometer steers the laser beam—improving cutting speed. It can also cut using multiple repetitions of the same pattern in quick succession.
- Plastic degating. Lasers can also remove plastic from molded parts. This process—known as laser plastic degating—also utilizes a vision system to recognize the precise cutting location. (Learn more about how lasers remove excess plastic and separate injection-molded parts.)