The Fire Which Melts the Metal
Posted: Nov 13, 2017
In the manufacturing and sheet metal engineering applications, laser cutting is extensively used. A focused laser beam is applied on the metal sheets to melt, burn or even blow away material by the jet of gas which leaves the edge with high quality surface finish. Being versatile in nature, its range of usefulness is a splendid. But, to utilise the lavishness of the beam, you need to fuel the equipment that drives it.
The industrial lasers which burn the metal are basically of two types: Fiber Laser and CO2 laser. Fiber Lasers being the recent developments are significantly small in size and generate twice as much power from the same amount of current than the traditional CO2 Lasers; using an active fiber for the creation of the laser beam.
To maintain these guns, you need to have high quality consumables & laser spare parts, which are easy to replace and have high durability. All this sounds promising but, what are the peculiarities of laser cutting?
Let us find out!
Reduces Machinability of Engineering Jobs
Yes! Laser cutting is capable of reducing, in fact, even eliminating the traditional machining required on engineering jobs. The fire from the nozzle of the laser beams take care of the finishing you need, which traditionally you would have grinded on the grinder or some lathe machine. This not only saves human effort but also time and money.
Amplifies the Precision
You need to cut complex shapes? Require better edge quality? Laser cutting is what you need. Laser cutting has higher precision levels with tightest tolerances and it provides higher edge quality as the laser beam does not wear during the cutting. Add the quick setup and the characteristic of repeatability, laser cutting surpasses the capabilities of other cutting techniques.
The complex shapes and geometries were traditionally carved using various tooling equipment but, laser cutting sculpts the shapes without additional toolings and is much faster, simpler and precise.
Versatile and Efficient
Laser cutting uses comparatively less amount of energy than plasma cutting while piercing through steel and aluminium sheets. And the latest fiber laser machines with enhanced power possess the strength of piercing through thick materials. These are powerful and produce low heat levels which reduces material warping.
Not just the flat sheets but the laser beam enables to cut through tubes and profiles. It is capable of cutting small diameter holes with complex detail and high quality edge. Even the thickness ranges from 0.8 to 30mm.
Laser cutting offers reduced contamination than the traditional cutting techniques as the beam is never in direct contact with the metal.
Fiber Laser Cutting
Bystronic first launched the fiber laser in 2010. Fiber laser - created by banks of diodes and channeled through optical fiber cable, just like data transfer. The amplified beam is then projected onto the material to be cut.
It has no moving parts or mirrors unlike the traditional CO2 laser, which enables reduction of maintenance. Higher electrical efficiency, higher working speeds and the ability to cut through reflective material without the fear of reflections damaging the material or the machine gives fiber laser an edge over traditional CO2 Laser.
The laser cutting is precise, versatile, fast, easily and accurately repeatable, efficient and requires no additional clean up procedure. It can be easily setup, and is ready for immediate shipment. Laser cutting is a wiser option than the traditional metal cutting techniques.
Steve M Glassner is the General manager of Alternative Parts Inc, the leading manufacturer and distributor of various CNC machine parts including Bystronic laser parts. Steve is a Machine Tools industry enthusiast and frequently writes about various aspects of the industry.
Alternative Parts, Inc. is the manufacturer and distributor of replacement parts for Amada Machinery.