Laser cutting is a technology, which uses a high-power laser beam to cut a wide range of materials. The materials are burnt, melted, vaporized or blown away. The laser beam comprises of photons. The width of a typical laser beam is about 1/5th of a millimeter. Further, the beam focuses 1000 to 2000 watts of energy. This amount of energy is enough to melt and cut away most common material.
The laser cutting technique was used to cut materials for the first time in 1967. Typical laser cutters create holes ranging between 1 mm and 20 mm. Specialized laser cutters can create even smaller holes. The light beams are used to cut a variety of materials, such as carbon alloys, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, plastic, wood, ceramics and rubber.
Industrial laser cutters have become popular due to the ease of operation, convenience and versatility offered by them. These instruments are primarily used to cut out and give specific patterns to metal sheets. Industrial laser cutting has a wide range of applications. These laser instruments are used in health care industry as a surgical instrument. Further, these equipment are also used for craft making, lithography and welding metal sheets. These equipment are also used in the garment industry for cutting a variety of fabric.
Industrial laser cutting has several advantages over other types of cutting techniques. Some of the benefits of this advanced cutting technique includes high level of accuracy, greater precision, clean cuts, reduced contamination of workpiece, reduced power consumption, requires minimal operator intervention and quicker operation. Different methods of cutting using laser cutters are vaporization cutting, melt and blow, thermal stress cracking, cold cutting, scribing, reactive cutting and flame cutting.
Conventional laser cutting equipment have two primary components, including a table, where the metal workpiece is kept and a head, from which the light beam is projected. These two important components of a laser cutter remain constant. These components can be adjusted to fulfill specific cutting requirements. These cutting equipment have become valuable assets due to their advanced features and ease of operation. Different types of cutting machines available in the market are:
Flying Optic Machines: This is one the fastest cutting equipment. The machine projects a light beam, which can cut along the X as well as Y axis of a metal sheet. The machine enables you to cut a large number of workpieces in a short span of time.
Moving Material Machine: The light beam projected through this machine remains stationary. The workpiece is connected to a mobile surface, which moves automatically in the pre-programmed directions. The directions are programmed through a computer. This equipment is slower as compared to other cutting equipment.
Another important cutting device is hybrid configuration cutting machine. This machine is a combination of the flying optics and moving material machines.