Views: 1 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-07-13 Origin: Site
In metal fabrication, laser cutting is one of the most basic and widely used processes. Laser cutting is the technology of choice in the industry for performing such work because it offers many advantages over other methods. However, it also has some disadvantages. The professional metal fabricator will share the points and disadvantages of laser cutting in sheet metal production through this article.
Advantages of Laser Cutting
The advantages of laser cutting are flexibility, accuracy, repeatability, speed, cost-effectiveness, high quality, non-contact cutting, versatility, and automation possibilities. This is because many points make laser cutting the process of choice in sheet metal production.
Laser cutting does not require tool changes for each individual cut. The same setup is suitable for cutting many different shapes within the same material thickness. In addition, complex cuts do not cause any problems.
Accuracy is one of the main advantages of laser cutting compared to other thermal cutting methods. The accuracy of +/-0.1 mm allows you to achieve high precision without post-processing. In most cases, such a high standard requires no additional tolerances.
The +/- 0.05 mm ensures that parts are almost exact replicas of each other.
Laser cutting is much faster than conventional mechanical cutting methods, especially when it comes to the more complex process. When comparing it to other thermal cutting methods such as plasma or flame cutting, the laser cuts them quickly with a thickness of up to about 10 mm. The exact point of advantage, however, comes down to the power of the laser cutting machine.
The job requires very little human resources, as modern laser cutting machinery is highly automated. Experienced machine operators still play an essential role in the final quality. Still, the speed of cutting and the need for little labor compared to other cutting methods make it less expensive.
With the correct settings, the laser cutter leaves only tiny burrs. Often, it is not even necessary to remove it. Of course, this depends on the material, thickness, and other factors.
Another benefit is that there is a small heat-affected zone. As the microstructure along the HAZ changes, the smaller HAZ area produces a more predictable and reliable part.
In the case of laser cutting, only the beam is in contact with the material. Therefore, there is no mechanical friction that could wear out the tool.
laser cutting is a versatile process manifested in two ways.
Laser cutting applies to many different materials. These include metals, acrylic, MDF, wood, paper, etc. A single machine can be configured to perform different jobs. Although, the ability to cut some of these materials depends on the power of the machine.
Many laser cutting machines are used for more than just cutting. Laser marking is another way to utilize these machines. Marking has many applications in the production of everyday items.
Finally, the technology applies to a variety of profiles. Tube laser cutting can perform the process on anything from box sections to open channels.
Disadvantages of laser cutting
Although used in almost every industry to produce parts, laser cutting does have its drawbacks. That being said, the need for expertise, limitations on metal thickness, cost, and harmful fumes are all things to consider before turning to laser cutting.
Need for expertise
As we've already said, a professional operator is essential to utilize the potential of a laser cutting machine fully. The proper setup ensures that the quality of the cut is what one would expect from this technology.
Limitations on metal thickness
Laser cutting is not suitable for cutting very thick plates compared to other thermal cutting methods. The maximum suitable thickness depends on the available machines and the know-how. On average, metal manufacturing companies tend to laser cut metal to 15 or 20 mm.
Laser-cutting machines can cost upwards of £1,000,000. A laser can cost twice as much as a waterjet or plasma cutter. Although the running costs and efficiency can compensate in the long run, the initial investment is still relatively significant.
One of the advantages of laser cutting is that it is suitable for cutting different materials. At the same time, thermal cutting methods melt the material, producing gases and dangerous fumes. This is especially true when cutting plastics. Therefore, a good but often expensive ventilation system is necessary for a safe working environment.
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