What are the most effective methods for cutting metal?
As you know, lasers have the peculiarity of concentrating the enormous force of light radiation in a very small diameter. This capability also allows the laser to be used to cut metal in a variety of contexts and applications.
There are many technologies and methods for cutting metal in different shapes and textures. Each of these technologies has its advantages and disadvantages, which must always be taken into account by those who process and use metals in their industry or trade.
If you are an operator in the mechanical, construction or industrial sectors, it is always useful to know which technologies make it possible to cut metals efficiently and easily.
Are all metal cutting methods valid?
We know that there are five methods for cutting metal:
- water jet
The strength of a metal cutting laser is the high ability to concentrate the action force on a very small surface. This makes the laser the perfect technology for accurate and high-quality metal marking.
Later we will see how speed is also laser strength when it comes to cutting metals.
At first glance, the laser seems to be the least economical solution, but in terms of speed, accuracy, cutting quality and versatility, it is the most efficient technology for cutting different types of metal. Let's look at all the information.
What are the industries in which laser metal cutting is used?
The flexibility of laser applications allows us to meet the many needs of every industry that works with metals and derivatives. In any form.
Laser cutting is especially useful when precise sizing performance is required. Reduced heat exposure is also a necessary feature - and the laser can achieve this - in the cutting process.
The use of lasers for metal cutting is very different from its use for marking or engraving. Metal marking is commonly used to mark series-produced products with related production characteristics. Or attach serial, origin and traceability codes.
These are applications in the electrical and electronics industries, mechanical engineering and toolmaking, sheet metal processing, medical technology, promotional materials, jewelry and the automotive industry.
Nowadays, laser technology is a commonly used method of cutting metal. Different types of metal to be cut, alloys, thickness and consistency have a special laser system used to cut the metal.
As mentioned above, the great advantage of using a laser cutting machine for metal is:
- high accuracy
Below we explain how laser cutting works and what materials it can be used for. Do you need to deepen the discussion? Contact us which laser machine is best for your metal cutting needs.
Laser source for metal cutting which is best?
The market for sheet metal cutting machines for sheet metal processing has developed rapidly in recent years.
Various types of machines marketed by different manufacturers have been introduced, which significantly change the process of laser cutting and, consequently, the choice available to companies and professionals who need solutions for metal cutting.
In terms of source type, users have two different options to suit their needs: a traditional sheet metal laser cutting machine with a CO2 source or a machine with a new generation fiber source.
CO2 laser source
The traditional CO2 laser has long been the most popular source. The first applications of sheet metal date back to the late 1980s, and a few years ago they were used for specific substrates with a thickness of more than 4 - 5 mm. This type of source uses a mixture of gases, so-called laser gases and a lot of electric current to generate light rays. Due to the high operating temperature, an important cooling device (cooler) is required. These sources have low energy efficiency (no more than 10 - 12%), so 10 kW more is needed for each laser power available for cutting only for the laser device. Until 2007, it was the only type of laser available for the cutting process.
Fiber laser source
From the following years, the laser cutting machine market began to move towards new technologies: fiber sources.
Fiber lasers use "pumped" optical fibers with diodes to create solid state laser cutting sources with far fewer components and without the use of laser gas. The key element in choosing a laser cutting machine is efficiency.
The reason for the rapid development of fiber sources is higher production speeds, greater accuracy and significant cost savings.
In essence, fiber optic lasers have better focusing ability, are much more stable, and have a much smaller focal point diameter compared to a CO2 source. This allows you to cut significantly more precisely and stably during machining.
The energy efficiency of a fiber source is now on average 35% higher than CO2. There is no charge for laser gases, no wearing parts that wear out, no need for maintenance for fiber sources.
Today, thanks to technological advances, fiber sources with a power of more than 15 kW are available. Fiber laser sources have significantly replaced CO2 lasers in all applications that require metal cutting. Undoubtedly, CO2 laser sources are still suitable for cutting non-metallic materials (eg wood, plastic, fabrics).